New Zealand’s first national survey of medicinal cannabis patients
Currently Dr. Noller is the lead investigator for New Zealand’s first national survey of medicinal cannabis patients, which is being sponsored by a medicinal cannabis patient advocacy organisation, Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand (MCANZ). The study, which was launched in early May 2019, has received ethical approval from the Health and Disabilities Ethics Committee.
The project, titled the New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Use Research Survey 2019, comprises an online survey exploring how New Zealanders use cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The New Zealand survey is based on an Australian survey first undertaken in 2016.
The aim of the survey is to gauge trends in the medicinal cannabis patient community, including patient attitudes, experiences, ways of consuming medicinal cannabis, and what conditions it is used for.
There are also plans to extend the study by incorporating clinical interviews with a smaller group of patients by their physicians. This will involve recruiting formally diagnosed patients who use cannabis for a known medical condition, with the knowledge of their doctor whether or not their physician personally agrees with the use of cannabis as a medicine.
Clinical interviews will involve interviewing patients and their doctors, as well as the administering of psychometrically validated questionnaires (e.g. the Quality of Life questionnaire SF-36, and a measure of cannabis dependence, CUDIT-R) to patients, and reviewing patients’ medical notes.
The significance the project was recognised with a TVNZ news item highlighting it four weeks after its launch. The online survey runs for three months, until the end of July 2019.