Medicinal Cannabis: What You Need to Know

Medical cannabis has made a revolutionary change in the medical industry. Researchers have found that it has the potential to treat a wide range of diseases and disorders. To get these benefits, we need to first know the pros and cons of medical cannabis. Let's explore together all about medical cannabis.

What is medical cannabis?

Medical cannabis refers to the therapeutic use of the cannabis plant to alleviate symptoms and treat various medical conditions. This natural remedy has gained attention in recent years due to its ability to provide relief for patients experiencing chronic pain, nausea, muscle spasms, and other ailments.

The cannabis plant contains compounds called cannabinoids. Medical cannabis has 80–100 different cannabinoids, and Australian cannabis companies are continuously researching more about how they all function. The most well-known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These cannabinoids interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes such as pain sensation, mood, appetite, and memory.

Differences between medical cannabis and marijuana

Medicinal cannabis and marijuana refer to the same plant, cannabis sativa, but they are used differently. Medicinal cannabis is used specifically for therapeutic purposes and is prescribed by healthcare professionals to alleviate symptoms or treat medical conditions. It maintains strict quality control measures and is typically consumed in precise doses to ensure effectiveness and safety.

On the other hand, marijuana is often used recreationally for its psychoactive effects, consumed without medical supervision and sometimes obtained from illicit sources. While both terms describe the same plant, their usage contexts and purposes distinguish medicinal cannabis as a regulated medical treatment and marijuana as a recreational substance.

How medical cannabis works

Chemicals found in cannabis plants are known as phytocannabinoids (sometimes termed cannabinoids). Cannabis plants have more than one hundred distinct varieties.

Moreover, our bodies produce cannabinoids. They are referred to as endocannabinoids, and they can affect sensations related to memory, pain, swelling, redness, and hunger. Cannabinoids from the cannabis plant have properties that are comparable to those of endocannabinoids in human bodies.

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the most commonly used cannabinoid chemicals in therapeutic cannabis products. Studies are investigating the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD and THC for different diseases and disorders. Combining THC and CBD, for instance, may help control some fits (seizures). Some people who experience pain or anxiety may also get relief from the compounds.

The ingredient in cannabis that some users experience when taking it recreationally is called THC. It is capable of eliminating the need to vomit (nausea), stopping or lessening vomiting, lessening pain perception, lessening spasm-inducing muscular tension, enhancing sleep, and increasing appetite.

A "high" is not produced by CBD. It can lessen THC's undesirable side effects, such as diarrhoea, disorientation, delusions (seeing things that are not actually there), and psychosis (having false ideas).

The approved conditions for medicinal cannabis treatment

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia grants petitions from individuals seeking to use cannabis for medical purposes. People who have received approval include:

  • Feel like throwing up (vomiting) or feeling sick after receiving cancer treatment.
  • Children who have seizures due to difficult-to-handle epilepsy
  • Those who are nearing the end of their lives
  • Those who find it difficult to manage cancer pain or nerve pain
  • Possess tight muscles as a result of illnesses like multiple sclerosis.
  • Have significantly dropped weight or are unable to eat due to a chronic sickness like cancer.

Side effects of medical cannabis

The adverse effects of medicinal cannabis are being studied. They may consist of:

Dry mouth Increased heart rate Impaired short-term memory
Dizziness or lightheadedness Fatigue or drowsiness Psychotic symptoms (in predisposed individuals)
Impaired motor coordination Paranoia or anxiety (especially with high THC strains)Potential for dependence or addiction (especially with long-term, heavy use)
Psychotic symptoms (in predisposed individuals) Nausea or vomiting (rare, but may occur in some individuals)Respiratory issues (if smoked, although less problematic with alternative methods of consumption like vaporisation or edibles)

How is medicinal cannabis regulated in Australia?

  • The Australian government made medical cannabis accessible in 2016.
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia controls the distribution of medical marijuana.
  • The majority of medical cannabis products are illegal substances. This indicates that, unlike other prescription medications, they have not undergone the same regulatory review procedure. You can find out more on the TGA's website.
  • The TGA must have given your doctor permission to prescribe these items. This can be done through the Authorised Prescriber Scheme or Special Access Scheme-B.
  • In Australia, certain cannabis products, such as synthetic cannabinoids and nabiximols, are authorised for medical use.
  • Every state and territory has a separate set of laws. This might have an impact on your ability to obtain medical marijuana.

Can I drive while taking medicinal cannabis?

When using medical cannabis, it is not advisable to drive. One prevalent active element in medical cannabis, THC, impairs driving ability. In contrast to alcohol, it is unknown at what dosage THC will affect the majority of individuals.

Driving in Victoria while under the influence of THC is prohibited, regardless of your belief that you are not impaired. Drinking alcohol and using medical cannabis together causes more severe impairment and increases the severity of the penalties for driving violations.

While CBD by itself is not known to affect cognition, it could if it is combined with other drugs. Before operating machinery or driving, patients taking medical cannabis products should consult with their doctor.

How can I get medical cannabis?

Legal medical cannabis products are exclusively available through your physician, a medical professional, or by enrolling in a clinical study.

Talking with your doctor about medical cannabis is the first step. Your physician will determine which medical marijuana product to recommend or if medicinal cannabis will benefit you. In order to obtain the required government clearances, your doctor will also need to fill out paperwork. Your doctor may issue you a prescription after it has been approved. You can bring this prescription to any pharmacy to get your medical cannabis product administered.

Medical marijuana is not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). The weekly cost of medical marijuana can range from $50 to $1000. This will depend upon the patient's condition, the product and the dosage.

Can I bring medicinal cannabis to Australia?

You may bring up to three months' worth of medicinal cannabis with you on a trip to Australia if you obtain the necessary prescription from a doctor. This applies to both you and any passengers under your care.

Can I grow my own medicinal cannabis?

Cannabis for medical purposes was legalised in October 2016. The Australian government amended the legislation to permit businesses to cultivate cannabis for scientific purposes and to produce pharmaceuticals. It is still unlawful to grow cannabis for personal use outside of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). The ACT has modified the laws pertaining to cannabis use, possession, and growth. If you are discovered in other states, you might be sentenced to jail or a fine for consuming, cultivating, marketing, and providing cannabis.

Last words

Now, all you know about medical cannabis is its benefits, side effects, rules and regulations for using it and many more. Moreover, if you want to know more, you can consult with experts and medical cannabis companies near you.

Learn about the legislation in your state: