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Pain Relief

By 18 December 2023March 11th, 2024Feature Article

Pain Relief

Unlocking the Healing Power: Helius Therapeutics Revolutionise Medicinal Cannabis Access in New Zealand.

By Helius Therapeutics

The landscape of medicinal cannabis in New Zealand is undergoing a transformative shift, and at the forefront of this evolution is  Carmen Doran, the dynamic CEO of Helius Therapeutics. Armed with a background in Biomedical engineering from the University of Canterbury, Carmen assumed leadership at Helius four years ago, witnessing a remarkable shift in perceptions surrounding medicinal cannabis.

“The numbers speak volumes,” says Carmen Doran, pointing to the astonishing rise in prescriptions, from around 60,000 in 2022 to an anticipated 130,000 in 2023. This surge not only reflects a changing mindset but, more importantly, signals that more Kiwi patients are finding the relief they need.

Helius, a prominent figure in the medicinal cannabis realm, recently clinched the Industry Collaboration Award for its partnership with Puro, an alliance dedicated to providing Kiwis with sustainably grown and organic locally produced medicine. Since September 2022, Kiwi patients have had the groundbreaking opportunity to obtain prescriptions for Puro-grown and Helius- manufactured medical cannabis — a historic milestone as the first-ever prescription medicine in New Zealand cultivated and created on local soil. Even better is that the plants are certified organic.

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Yet, Carmen acknowledges a gap in awareness, noting that many are unaware of the existence of medical cannabis, let alone its local production in New Zealand. “All cannabis medicines are prescription medicines, and any doctor can prescribe them for any patient under their care, with any pharmacy ready to dispense,” she emphasises, shedding light on the accessibility of these transformative treatments.

In Carmen’s two decades of experience in the field of medicines, she highlights the incredible feedback received from patients who have turned to medical cannabis for relief. However, she recognizes the need for increased awareness, as some doctors may lack sufficient information. For those seeking guidance, specialised clinics are available to provide the necessary support if GPs are not well versed in medicinal cannabis prescriptions.

Helius is not only committed to providing relief but is also excited about contributing to clinical observation studies. Presently, they are actively supporting an observational study focused on endometriosis pain, a condition affecting one in ten women. Carmen stresses the urgency of addressing the gender pain gap, emphasising that many women have had their pain overlooked by the medical profession.

“People need to know that medicinal cannabis is an option,” Carmen urges. In cases where doctors may lack information, specialised clinics stand ready to assist, ensuring that the power of prescription medicine is accessible to those who need it the most.

This story appeared in the January 2024 issue of North & South.