Last week’s announcement of the TGA’s interim decision on down scheduling CBD was an object lesson in how the media won’t let all the facts get in the way of a good story.
Whether you believe the decision is a good start (the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Association) or does nothing for patient access (the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Association), any move that appears to mean consumers will be able to buy cannabis from their local Chemist Warehouse was always going to go big in the mainstream media.
The italics are mine because there are clearly different views about the TGA’s decision within the industry. But when it comes to telling the story, the media had already made their minds up which side of the debate they were on.
While there were plenty of company spokespeople lining up to tell reporters this was the biggest thing since medical cannabis legalisation in 2016, others keen to point out the problems with some of the small print in the TGA decision didn’t get much of a hearing.
But the nuances of schedule 3 listings and ARTG registration were always going to get lost in the noise and, watching the report on 7News last Wednesday night, one could be forgiven for thinking the pharmacy shelves would soon be awash with CBD.
The danger of that, as Cannabiz editor-at-large Rhys Cohen points out in the latest episode of our Business of Cannabis podcast, is consumers may get a false view of the availability of medicinal cannabis while manufacturers scramble to get their products approved for sale.
In other words, supply won’t match demand, leading to more frustration for patients.
Ultimately though, the more discussion there is around medicinal cannabis, the better from the industry’s point of view. And if customers start asking their pharmacist for CBD products, that should create demand further up the supply chain.