Medicinal cannabis is legal in many countries around the world. In Australia, medicinal cannabis is available to patients when produced under strict quality standards and prescribed and administered by an approved registered medical practitioner.
Patients can be prescribed medicinal cannabis by a registered medical practitioner with the appropriate expertise and qualifications to prescribe cannabis therapeutic goods for the patient’s medical condition. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved access to medicinal cannabis for a number of indications including, but not limited, to:
• Anorexia and/or wasting associated with a chronic illness
• Cancer pain
• Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
• Neuropathic pain
• Palliative care indications
• Refractory paediatric epilepsy
• Spasticity from neurological conditions
The best place to start is by speaking with your GP or specialist.
Many cannabis medicines have little to no delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary cannabinoid responsible for cannabis’ pshyoactive effects. These products are often high in cannabidiol (CBD) and very low in delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD’s effects are widely accepted to be very low or non-psychotropic.
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an endogenous (internal) homeostatic regulating system found in all vertebrates. The ECS is a complex system responsible for multiple physiological processes, which includes modulation of pain, seizure threshold, appetite, digestion, cognition and mood. Scientists believe that the main role of the ECS is to help the body maintain homeostasis or balance. Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and other phytocannabinoids interact with the ECS, producing a wide-range of therapeutic effect.
The cannabis plant produces over 400 chemical compounds, more than 65 of which are unique to the cannabis plant (called cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids). Phytocannabinoids are compounds which hold medicinal value and the most well-known are THC and CBD.
• THC stands for Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD stands for Cannabidiol.
• THC binds to receptors in the brain and is the cannabinoid most responsible for the psychoactive effect or high associated with medicinal cannabis use.
• THC’s therapeutic effects include pain relief, appetite stimulation, muscle relaxation, and nausea reduction.
• CBD is non-psychoactive and interacts with receptors in the immune system.
• CBD likely holds broad clinical potential, possessing anti-psychotic, anti-epileptic, neuro-protective, vaso-relaxant, anti-spasmodic, anti-ischemic, and antibacterial properties.
• CBD is believed to lessen to some degree the psychotropic effects of THC. It is important to keep in mind that various other compounds, including terpenes, in cannabis may modulate each other in synergistic or antagonistic ways.