New Zealand

Thu
11
Jun

Not prescribing cannabis for pain 'unethical and negligent' says pain specialist

Two New Zealand specialists have entered a blazing debate on prescribing medical marijuana for pain, proving the issue continues to polarise the health sector.

Paul Hardy, Capital & Coast DHB clinical leader pain management says New Zealand doctors should prescribe medical marijuana for pain, while Auckland Regional Pain Service specialist Tipu Aamir warns against it. Their debate features in the Back to Back section of the June issue of the Journal of Primary Health Care.

Thu
11
Jun

NZ: Cannabis oil treatment for seizures - expert reaction

Health authorities have approved the use of cannabis derived medication Elixinol - on a one-off basis - to treat a coma patient encountering ongoing seizures. But does it work?

The drug was approved on compassionate grounds by Associate Minister of Health Hon Peter Dunne, to be administered by clinicians treating Wellington patient Alex Renton.

The Science Media Centre contacted experts for comment. 

Assoc Prof Michelle Glass, Head - Department of Pharmacology, University of Auckland, comments:

Wed
10
Jun

New Zealand: Medicinal cannabis application approved for teenager in coma

A teenager in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital is the first to have received a cannabidiol product signed off by a Government minister.

On Tuesday Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne approved the one-off use of Elixinol, a cannabidiol (CBD) product from the United States for Alex Renton.

The 19-year-old Nelson man has been in hospital since early April and remains in "status epilepticus",  a kind of prolonged seizure.

Dunne said doctors have been able to apply for medicinal cannabis products for many years but this is the first time this particular avenue has been used for this particular product.

Wed
10
Jun

Family's joy at cannabis treatment approval

The family of Nelson teenager Alex Renton are "absolutely over the moon" to hear a Government minister has approved a cannabinoid oil to try treat his seizures.

Renton has been in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital for over two months, in status epilepticus",  a kind of prolonged seizure.

Supporters had been petitioning the Ministry of Health and staging protests in both Nelson and Wellington, calling for access to the oil.

Renton's older sister Jessie said they were relieved, shocked and "over the moon" when they heard the decision.

"We are so relieved we have been heard and action has been taken. We are grateful to the Ministry of Health and the hospital, in particular our neurologist Ian Rosemergy. Without him this wouldn't have happened."

Tue
09
Jun

Cannabis oil unlikely to work for coma teen

Medicinal cannabis oil may not be enough to save the life of a Nelson teenager.

Associate health minister Peter Dunne has given one-off approval for the 19-year-old to receive cannabis oil.

Wellington Hospital staff have already tried more than 40 medications to treat Alex Renton since he was put into an induced coma two months ago.

Mr Dunne doesn't expect the oil to work, and Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell says he's probably right.

"There is guarantee this product, because it's new, will work on this case, because it's rare."

Ross Bell says there are many other patients who may benefit from medicinal cannabis, and this case may force other cases to be reconsidered.

Tue
09
Jun

New Zealand Hospital Seeking Medicinal Marijuana Use

It finalised the application to the Ministry of Health today, although it also needs approval from the Associate Minister of Health.

In a statement, Capital and Coast District Health Board (DHB) deputy chief medical officer Dr Grant Pidgeon said Alex Renton was suffering from "refractory status epilepticus", which caused him to suffer from repeated seizures.

"It is unknown for sure what is causing his seizures but it is thought to be due to his body's immune system turning against itself, which is known as an auto-immune disorder."

Dr Pidgeon said the hospital had exhausted all standard treatment options and was now applying for approval to use a non-standard medicinal cannabinoid treatment.

Tue
09
Jun

New Zealand: Minister okays medicinal marijuana for teen

A teenager who has been in an induced coma for weeks can be given medicinal marijuana, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has decided.

Nineteen-year-old Alex Renton is suffering from refractory status epilepticus, which causes him to suffer from repeated seizures. It is not known what is causing them but it is believed his body's immune system is turning against itself.

Capital and Coast District Health Board applied to the Ministry of Health and Mr Dunne to use Elixinol, a cannabidiol product from the US that had been shown to relieve some forms of epilepsy.

Mr Dunne today said he was approving its use for Mr Renton on compassionate grounds.

Mon
08
Jun

NZ: Council of Trade Unions president backs medicinal marijuana

There is growing pressure on Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne to relax the rules around medicinal marijuana – but any proposed changes won't have the Prime Minister's backing.

Nineteen-year-old Alex Renton has been in an induced coma at Wellington Hospital for more than a month, and his doctor and parents believe cannabinoid oil could improve his condition.

Protestors turned out yesterday to urge Mr Dunne to sign off on it in Wellington and Nelson, including Labour's West Coast MP Damien O'Connor.

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly, who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, says it's unfair to string families along.

Sun
07
Jun

New Zealand: DHB delays treatment application for teenager in coma

Alex Renton, 19, of Nelson is in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital while his family fights to get him medicinal marijuana.

The bureaucratic delay in treating a teenager in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital is bordering on unethical, Labour MP Damien O'Connor says.

Alex Renton, 19, of Nelson, has been in hospital since early April and remains in "status epilepticus",  a kind of prolonged seizure.

Capital & Coast District Health Board decided late on Friday to apply to the Ministry of Health for approval to use a marijuana extract to treat him.

His mother, Rose Renton, is begging the Government to approve treatment for her son, who has already endured more than 20 medications that have not worked.

Sat
06
Jun

Marijuana research finds psychosis in pot-smoking teens way up

It's hardly a new concern as many as a dozen studies have been done that show an increased risk for mental health issues among teens. Reporter Sue Bailey of the Canadian Press has produced the latest story and it includes interviews from front-line workers who deal with the teenage victims of marijuana. It's not pretty and it's a message some medical practitioners, like Canadian child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Sinthu Suntharalingam, say needs to get out there. Dr.

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