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What is Medical Marijuana?

What is Medical Marijuana?


Medicinal cannabis is all the craze right now, and we are here to give you an overview of what medical conditions it treats and how it affects our bodies.

Medical Cannabis is defined as the dry flower or Cannabinoid chemical extracts such as cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Doctors typically prescribe oils (tinctures), patches or oral sprays suited to the patient. Medical marijuana treats illnesses, mental disorders and diseases.

In this article, we will cover:

In our other articles we covered What is cannabidiol (CBD) and What medical conditions does cannabis treat.

What is medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana is any medicine with cannabis ingredients in, including oils, capsules, sprays and dry bud.

Medical-grade marijuana is defined as a cannabis plant that has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) generally 5% or more, compared to hemp that has less than 0.03%.

Even though marijuana is the plant, medicinal marijuana products come in various form includes:

  • CBD and THC oil (tinctures)
  • oral sprays
  • dry herb (smoked or vaporised)
  • capsules/pills
  • patches

Every form of these medicines have Cannabinoid extracts from the marijuana plant that include:

  • cannabidiol (CBD): 5-20% in medicines
  • tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): 1-20% in medicines
  • Cannabinol (CBN): 1-10% in medicines

Doctors in Australia will provide you with different ratios of these Cannabinoids that suits your medical condition.

If you have epilepsy, you may need a 10% THC and 20% CBD, or if you have generalised anxiety, you may need 1% THC and 20% CBD.

Traditional medication and addiction is becoming a hot topic in Australia, and a lot of health professionals are looking to cannabis as a safer alternative.

To avoid people self-medicating with illegal marijuana, dry medical cannabis products are now being prescribed by doctors in Australia.

Benefits of medical marijuana

National Surveys say that over 70% of Australians are comfortable with medical marijuana as a treatment for patients in need. But what do we know about the benefits of medical marijuana treatment?

Research and clinical trials are ongoing to understand the effects of medicinal cannabis. We recommend consulting with a medical professional to understand if cannabis is right for you.

Medical marijuana products have been effective in treating a wide variety of medical conditions, and also when modern medicine fails to treat patients.

Symptoms Average Dosage Benefits
Chronic pain 10% THC & 10% CBD Analgesis
Inflammation 20% CBD Oil Anti-inflammatory
Supresses appetite 10% THC-V Anoretic
Stimulates appetite 15% THC & 5% CBD Appetite stimulant
Nausea & vomiting 10% THC & 10% CBD Antimetic
Intestinal contractions 20% CBD Intestinal antiprokinetic
Anxiety 20% CBD Anxiolytic
Psychosis 20% CBD Antipsychotic
Seizures 15% THC-A & 10% CBD Antiepileptic
Muscle spasms 15% THC & 5% CBD Antispasmodic
Sleep apnea 15% CBN Anti-insomnia
Immune system issues 25% CBD Immunosuppresive
Blood sugar levels 15% CBD Anti-diabetic
Nervous system degeneration 30% CBD Neuroprotective
Psoriasis 25% CBD Antipsioratic

People suffering from chronic illness in which conventional medicine has not worked, or has worked less effectively, can request alternative treatment such as medicinal marijuana to their doctor.

In some cases, conventional medicine may not work or is cause debilitating side effects. Cannabis can help to relieve symptoms in the case for patients receiving chemotherapy or pain relief in disorders such as fibromyalgia.

Synthetic drugs such as Nabilone do exist and are used to reduce nausea in chemotherapy patients2 and in multiple sclerosis, to reduces spasticity-related pain, however, some individuals prefer a more natural approach to their treatment.

Medical Cannabis or “weed” has been available in North America since the 1990s and has shown positive results in patients with Cancer, Chronic Pains, Epilepsy, and so much more.

Whether Australians are suffering from daily chronic pain or a severe illness, medical weed in the form of oil is the most common treatment available at Cannabis Clinics.

Medical marijuana products available in Australia

Australian Medical Cannabis Products
Australian Medical Cannabis Products

One of the most common inquiries we receive is “what medical marijuana products are available in Australia?”, as the Cannabis Clinics usually keep this secret.

After interviewing Cannabis Clinics about their processes, we found that the majority of medicines prescribed are oils, oral sprays or patches. However, there are still many options for dry bud (flowers) that you can use in a vaporiser.

Product Definition Cannabis Form
Nabiximols Cannabis extracts: each mL (Milliliter) includes 2.7 mg (Milligram) of THC and 2.5 mg of CBD Oromucosal spray
THC & CBD Combination Different combinations of THC and CBD Sublingual spray / Capsule oral
Dronabinol Synthetic cannabinoids that mimics the chemical compounds of THC Capsule oral
Marinol Synthetic cannabinoids that mimics the chemical compounds of THC Capsule oral
Pure THC THC is the primary cannabinoid (sativa) extract. Sublingual spray
Pure CBD CBD is the primary non-psychoactive cannabinoid extract. Sublingual spray / Capsule oral
Nabilone Sythnetic version of the delta 9 THC Capsules
Bedrocan Bedrocan (Hight THC), Bedrobinal (Medium THC) and Bediol (Low THC) Dry bud (flower)
Ajulemic acid A synthetic cannabinoid with non-psychoactive components Capsule Oral

These products are listed as used through either medical prescriptions, clinical trials or studies through the studies around Chronic Non-Cancer Pain CNCP and or the Cancer Council’s statement on the medical use of Cannabis.

There are plenty more cannabis products coming out in Australia such as GD Cann®-C and GD Cann®-T.

How does medical cannabis affect our bodies?

Man taking drops of medicinal cannabis oil.
Man taking drops of medicinal cannabis oil.

Cannabis indica and Sativa plant both contain anywhere from eighty to hundred cannabinoids; however, both genetics and how they are grown can dramatically change the ratios of these cannabinoids in the plants.

Each one chemical in the plant can have a different effect on the body, making it all the more dangerous to seek illegal stains without the proper medical rules and regulations.

Cannabinoids worth through the endocannabinoid system is a unique communications system found in the brain and body of many species.

Cannabinoids produce their effects by interacting with specific receptors on the cells in your body, similar to commonly prescribed drugs such as SSRIs and analgesics.

When the receptor on the cells is either activated or deactivated, the function of the cell changes accordingly. Depending on where the cell is and what type of cell it is determined the effect it has on the body.

The endocannbinoid system in our bodies
The endocannbinoid system in our bodies

Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main cannabinoids for pharmaceutical use so far, with hopefully more to be discovered as research progresses.

THC is the “psychoactive” element in the cannabis plant and the main active ingredient in the anti-nausea, appetite increase and pain management effects used in the treatment of symptoms.

CBD, on the other hand, has the opposite effect and is believed to moderate THC with its anti-psychoactive effect.

Therefore, its believed CBD can negate the negative effects that people can experience from THC, such as anxiety & paranoia (5).

As a result of this, doctors can choose THC and CBD levels that are tailored for their particular patient, enhancing symptom relief and controlling for side effects.

CBD research is being conducted for its potential medicinal properties to treat disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and many more (6).

Additionally, disorders such as anxiety and their interactive effect with CBD are being actively studied with promising results (7)

What risks does medical marijuana have?

Why Not To Smoke Cannabis Cigarettes
Why Not To Smoke Cannabis Cigarettes

The number one danger with medical marijuana is with smoking.

Smoking, in general, is a particularly harmful way of taking cannabis and therefore smoking cannabis is not recommended by health authorities.

Medical cannabis is consumed in a variety of safer ways, such as oils, oromucosal sprays and pills.

Unlike smoking, alternative methods allow doctors to control both the dose and ratios of THC & CBD in a more therapeutic manner giving the best treatment to the patient.

Michael Farrell, director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of NSW says:

There are issues around the psychoactive effects. One of the concerns around people using it for MS is that it may be associated with cognitive decline in MS.

He also mentions that we should beware of the bandwagon when it comes to medicinal marijuana as more research and evidence is required to measure cannabis’ therapeutic effects.

What is medical marijuana: state by state guide

How To Get Medical Cannabis in Australia
How To Get Medical Cannabis in Australia

Each state may have different rules and regulations, but the TGA department makes the final approval for patients looking to gain access to medicinal marijuana.

You can learn more about what is Medical Marijuana from the federal Therapeutic Goods Administration here.

Victoria

The Office of Medicinal Cannabis has been established within the Department of Health and Human Services and provides advice on access to medicinal cannabis in Victoria.

Read more about the Victorian situation with medical marijuana, how to buy it and the recommended research and medical practitioners prescribing medical cannabis at (Click Here.

New South Wales

The NSW Government has established the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation to further the understanding of cannabis and cannabis products for therapeutic purposes, and support evidence-based innovation.

Read more about the NSW situation at (Click Here).

Queensland

Queensland is making the use of approved medicinal cannabis products possible as a treatment for certain conditions when the patient has already tried the conventional treatments available for their health or symptoms, and these have failed or cause intolerable side-effects.

Read more about the QLD situation at (Click Here).

South Australia

Medical practitioners in South Australia can legally prescribe medicinal cannabis products with Commonwealth and relevant state approvals.

Read more about the SA situation at (Click Here).

Western Australia

Doctors can prescribe, and pharmacists can dispense medicinal cannabis in Western Australia.

Read more about the situation in Western Australia at (Click Here).

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government has developed a medical cannabis controlled access scheme (CAS).

The scheme will allow relevant medical specialists to be authorised to prescribe medical cannabis (unregistered cannabinoid products) in limited circumstances where conventional treatment has been unsuccessful.

Read more about the situation in Tasmania at (Click Here).

Australian Capital Territory

Cannabis products can be prescribed as Schedule 8 controlled medicines in the ACT for medicinal uses.

Read more about the situation in ACT at (Click Here).

Northern Territory

A patient living in the Northern Territory must access medicines containing cannabinoids through a Northern Territory doctor who is authorised under the Special Access or Authorised Prescriber Schemes administered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Read more about the situation in the Northern Territory at (Click Here).

Conclusion

Medicinal marijuana is prescribed by health professionals to treat people with medical conditions that have to exist for more than three months.

Conditions like epilepsy, MS, arthritis, sleep apnea, IBS and endometriosis are among the many illnesses, disorders and diseases that cannabis can treat.

Cannabis extracts like THC and CBD work naturally with your body to relieve pain, boost serotonin or reduce anxiety.

These medicines come in a wide array of forms, including:

  • oral sprays
  • patches
  • capsules
  • dry herb (vaporising or smoking)
  • edibles

Each state has different laws and requirements, but the federal TGA department are the final decision-makers for who gets access to medicinal marijuana.


Disclaimer: Cannabis Place may contain information regarding cannabis & other drugs; it is designed for 18+ audiences in regions where cannabis has been decriminalised. This topic may represent illegal activity in certain regions. We do not encourage illegal activity. We understand that readers in locations where cannabis has been legalised may read these articles. Medical Cannabis in Australia is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and details about Cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website. Please consult with your doctor to find out if Cannabis is right for you. Click here for our full disclaimer