What is medical cannabis and how do I use it?
Medical cannabis refers to the use of the cannabis plant and its component cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBC, etc.) as medical therapy to alleviate symptoms. In Australia, you need a doctor's prescription to access medical cannabis.
In Australia, medical cannabis is a pharmaceutical product prescribed by your medical practitioner and taken to treat the symptoms of a medical condition or the side effects of treatment. These products are highligh regulated to ensure patient safety and consistency of product formulation.
There are more than 500 components found within the cannabis plant, including over 110 cannabinoid compounds, which are thought to be responsible for most of the plant’s therapeutic benefits. These plant cannabinoids mimic the cannabinoids within the human body, and act predominantly through our endocannabinoid system.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for its natural medinical properties, however researchers have only recently discovered the elements which make it so valuable. There is still much to be discovered about this complex plant and further research to uncover it's therapeutic effects is taking place globally.
How to use marijuana for medical use
Medical cannabis can be administered in Australia via the following methods:
- Oral: Cannabinoids can be orally consumed via oil, tincture or capsule.
- Sublingual or buccal administration: taking cannabis medication by mouth so it's absorbed directly into the bloodstream
- Topical (transdermal): via patches or topical application of gel or cream.
- Inhalation: Via a vaporiser which heats the cannabis to a high temperature without burning the plant material. Please note: There are no vaporisers currently registered in Australia as therapeutic goods.
Do I have to feel high when taking medical cannabis?
The cannabinoid in Cannabis which is well-known as being responsible for numerous psychoactive properties is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD (cannabidiol) is a second cannabinoid present in significant concentrations in the cannabis plant. CBD is non-psychoactive and although published research on this topic is limited, some evidence suggests that CBD can counteract the psychogenic effects of THC.
There are alternative options for patients that don't want an intoxicating 'high' effect so talk to your medical practitioner about using strains which are low in THC.
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