Medicinal Cannabis in NZ: Q&A with Scott Richardson
Last week, New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis summit took place in Auckland.
MedCan 2020 brought international thought-leaders together to share their expertise and insights into regulated medicinal cannabis.
Scott Richardson, Key Account Manager – Food & Bioanalytical at Hill Laboratories, attended the event and shares his thoughts about the event with us, as well as his expectation for the future of medicinal cannabis in NZ.
What learnings did you take from the summit?
The research presented at the summit was very interesting and informative. Clinical trials are showing positive results for cannabis-based medicines as a treatment for certain conditions. A study conducted by Staci Gruber; Ph.D. in the USA showed some promising initial results from a full-spectrum cannabidiol (CBD) based medicine being used to treat anxiety. CBD is one of the main non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis.
What do you think the future of medicinal cannabis looks like in NZ?
The summit gave me confidence that New Zealand medicinal cannabis companies have a point of difference and can succeed on the world stage. It was highlighted throughout the summit that the New Zealand market is behind other countries (Canada, Australia etc) but is still in a unique position to succeed.
For example, New Zealand regulators have established a single set of high calibre quality standards, which is a very strong base to grow from, as well as industry bodies that have a collaborative approach. Dr Anna Campbell used the term "Coopetition" in her opening speech and discussed how collaboration between competitors will only benefit the New Zealand medicinal cannabis market.
How will the growth of medicinal cannabis impact NZ’s bioscience industry? How much has this space changed in the last 5-10 years?
In New Zealand, this space is evolving. Our medicinal cannabis scheme was only introduced in 2018. Since then, several commercial operations have been set up to cultivate, process and manufacture medicinal cannabis products, but it’s still early days for the New Zealand market.
Overseas, the cannabis market has changed significantly in the last five years. In the United States, there are now 35 states where medicinal use is legal and five where recreational use has also been legalised. However, CBD derived from Hemp is federally legal, so CBD products are readily available throughout the United States.
What does Hill Labs offer companies in this space? How could this change moving forward?
We offer research testing for appropriately licensed companies. This includes testing for cannabinoids, terpenes, microbes, pesticides, and heavy metals. We also provide soil and herbage testing for nutritional status. The New Zealand minimum quality standards require that testing be conducted under GMP. Due to this, our service offering at Hill Labs is likely to become more comprehensive and in line with these quality standards.
If you’d like to know more about our cannabis testing services, please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.