Quality standards key to medicinal cannabis regulations

As experts in the field of drug analysis ESR scientists will play an important role in monitoring the quality standards of locally produced medicinal cannabis.

Regulations allowing the local cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis were announced by the government yesterday and will come in to effect in April 2020.

ESR’s Manager of Forensic Specialised Analytical Services, Dr Mary Jane McCarthy, says the variability in medicinal cannabis products means quality standards are incredibly important.

“We have looked at a number of the medicinal cannabis products available here in New Zealand supplied to us by concerned patients and parents.  Our tests have shown there’s quite a lot of variability in the quality of products with some difference in the concentrations of the active ingredients,” Dr McCarthy says.

“We really do need to be testing and understanding the safety of these products and make sure they are effective for the condition which they are being used, and won’t cause harm,” she says.

ESR is well placed to analyse medicinal cannabis, says Dr McCarthy.

It’s Pharmaceutical Programme already contributes to the on-going safety of medicines and other therapeutic products in the New Zealand market on behalf of the Ministry of Health. 

It also currently provides regulatory advice and third-party testing services to companies licenced to cultivate cannabis for medicinal or scientific research purposes.