WHAT IS MEDICINAL CANNABIS?
Do you or someone you know suffer from a chronic condition(s), where conventional medicines have failed to provide relief, or have caused unbearable side effects?
Perhaps natural, plant-based alternatives are right for you.
Up until recently in Australia, when people would hear the word cannabis it would often be associated with recreational drug-use and people getting “high”. But in 2016 this mentality began to shift when the Australian government legalised the use of cannabis-based products for medicinal use.
Medicinal cannabis is an umbrella term used for any product derived from the cannabis plant. These medicines have been used to treat a myriad of medical conditions and combat side effects of some treatments such as chemotherapy.
HISTORY OF MEDICAL USE
The countless healing properties of medicinal cannabis have been used and studied for thousands of years. In Asia there is evidence of cannabis use spanning back all the way to 500 B.C. Most ancient cultures – like ancient China, Italy, India, and Greece – have recorded using cannabis to ease numerous health conditions.
Centuries later, in the 1800s, medicinal cannabis was recognized by western medicine to have many therapeutic uses including treatment for epilepsy, muscle spasm, rheumatism, insomnia, and pain to name a few.
Flash forward to the early 19th century pharmaceutical companies began to explore other avenues of pain relief and drug delivery with the advent of morphine and the syringe. The prohibition on cannabis soon followed this when the US saw an influx of Mexican immigrants. With this influx brought the recreational use of cannabis and the term “marihuana” was born. US politicians adopted the word “marihuana” to reduce the integrity of a product the US population had otherwise long associated with a medicine. This left cannabis research out of the scientific eye and in 1936 with films like “Reefer Madness”, and Harry Anslinger’s campaign to paint anyone who used “marihuana” as criminal, cannabis’ image quickly deteriorated.
MEDICINAL CANNABIS TODAY
Today, medicinal cannabis is stepping up to the plate where conventional medications have failed. This reform on perception was driven largely by the public’s demands, particularly parents of children with severe epilepsy or advanced cancer who allegedly found cannabis to be the “only solution” to their children’s conditions. Medical cannabis is filling an urgent necessity for safe and effective treatment alternatives. Although in depth scientific studies and research on the efficacy and safety of cannabis is still in its infancy stages, it is believed to treat several conditions including:
|Neurodegenerative-Disorders||Anxiety||Depression||Tumour growth||Cancer-cell growth|
HOW DOES MEDICINAL CANNABIS WORK?
The active ingredients in cannabis are called “cannabinoids” and there are between 80 and 100 different kinds of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, the most well-known being THC and CBD. These cannabinoids interact with a system in our body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), this system is responsible regulating functions such as appetite, pain, mood, and sleep. So essentially, endocannabinoids are molecules made by your body to help regulate and maintain homeostasis within your body. When you put cannabis into your system, whether that be by ingesting, smoking, or applying it to your skin, the cannabinoids interact with your ECS like lock and key. Cannabis modulates the signal between the cells in your body by slowing down the nerve signal. This impacts functions in your body like:
- Brain function
- Nerve function
- Cardiovascular Function
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THC AND CBD?
THC and CBD are the two most researched and well- known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The main difference between the two is that THC has strong psychoactive properties, meaning it gives people an intoxicating effect or a feeling being “high”, while CBD produces an anti-psychoactive effect that controls or moderates the “high” caused by THC. CBD has also shown to reduce some of the other negative effects people may experience from THC, such as anxiety.
While the psychoactive effects of THC such as feelings of euphoria, relaxation and drowsiness are well known it also has been used for the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, spasticity, and nausea to name a few. THC is also generally the most prominently found cannabinoid in cannabis.
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid typically prescribed for seizures, pain, anxiety, and inflammation. CBD is non-addictive and less potent than THC with very low toxicity.
THC and CBD on their own are quite different in their indications and effects but when paired, along with other cannabinoids like CBN and CBG, work synergistically and create what is known to be the entourage effect.
HOW CAN I ACCESS CANNABIS IN AUSTRALIA?
Medicinal cannabis is legally available to buy and use for medical purposes in Australia for patients who meet specific eligibility criteria. The prescribing doctor needs to justify to the government that the person needs medicinal cannabis.
Access to medicinal cannabis by way of government approval is not limited to a specific list of conditions or symptoms.
Eligibility depends on:
- A person having had the condition for at least three months.
- They have tried conventional medical treatment.
- The treatment was ineffective or resulted in unbearable side effects.
Check if your eligible for Medicinal Cannabis by taking our eligibility test.
For more information please go to our FAQ page
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