Approval or permission is required by a medical practitioner as most Medicinal Cannabis products are unapproved therapeutic goods, which means they have not been assessed by the TGA for safety, quality or effectiveness. However, there are pathways for doctors to access medicinal cannabis products for their patients. For more detail on this process, please visit the ‘How to access Medicinal Cannabis’ section of our website. Source: https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis
Cannabinoids occur naturally in our bodies and are known as endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids that interact with our ECS can be also found in cannabis plants and are known as phytocannabinoids. There are over 100 known phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. The two most commonly known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is a compound in cannabis that has psychoactive properties; the part of the cannabis plant that produces euphoric effects or gets you ‘high’. Research shows that THC can reduce symptoms of nausea, vomiting, pain, and muscle spasticity, and can also improve sleep and appetite.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis that does not produce euphoric effects. CBD can help to reduce inflammation, seizures, anxiety, and improve sleep. It can also reduce the unwanted side effects of THC, such as nervousness.
CBD oil is cannabis oil with a substantial proportion of cannabidiol. CBD oil is produced from the flowers, leaves and stalks of the cannabis plant and not from seeds like hemp oil. Although both oils derive from the same plant, CBD oil is created from the flowers produced by the plant, and contains higher amounts of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
Not all CBD oils are the same. CBD oils may be differentiated by the amount and ratio of THC and CBD (mg/ml) as well as the presence of other cannabinoids and/or terpenes and flavonoids. The cannabinoid spectrum range contained within a CBD oil product is what determines whether the product is full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.
CBD isolate oil only contains one active ingredient (CBD) in the oil. In scientific terms, CBD isolate is the purest form of the compound. It is produced by extracting and isolating CBD from all other compounds found in the cannabis plant, including fibrous plant material, terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids. As a comparison, this is equivalent to isolating ethanol from an alcoholic beverage such as wine or beer.
CBD isolate is usually added to a carrier oil, such as olive oil, sesame oil or MCT oil in preparation for human consumption. The benefits of CBD isolate oil over other types of CBD oils are that it’s generally cheaper, it does not contain THC, and patients may still be able to drive while being treated. The disadvantage of CBD Isolate oil is that other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are excluded from the oil, which removes the potential synergistic effects that may exist in a full spectrum oil.
Full spectrum CBD oil is an extract that contains all the compounds found naturally occurring in a cannabis plant. This includes all terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids inherent to the plant. Research suggests that these compounds work together to create an enhanced therapeutic outcome known as ‘the entourage effect.’
Not all full spectrum CBD oils are the same. The genetics or strains of cannabis from which CBD oil is extracted can vary significantly. Full spectrum CBD oils each have a unique chemical composition of different cannabinoid, terpene and flavonoid profiles, which may produce a range of effects or results for patients. As the entourage effect is influenced by the presence of different cannabinoid, terpene and flavonoid profiles, the genetics of the plant source(s) from which a particular CBD oil is extracted will affect this synergy.
Broad spectrum CBD oil is similar to full spectrum CBD oil in that the compounds found within the cannabis plant are preserved in the extract. However, in broad spectrum CBD oil the THC component is removed. As broad spectrum CBD oil contains a range of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, it may still influence the ‘entourage effect’ without the risk of any psychoactive effects associated with THC.
Additionally, given it is currently illegal to drive with detectable amounts of THC in your body, some doctors and patients consider broad spectrum CBD oil to be a more convenient product than full spectrum CBD oil.
1. Discuss medicinal cannabis with your doctor
Your doctor will conduct a thorough assessment, including a full medical and mental health history. They will make a list of all other treatments you have tried without success or that have produced unwanted side effects. If your doctor is uncomfortable or unfamiliar with prescribing medicinal cannabis treatments, they may choose to refer you to another doctor with expertise in medicinal cannabis. Please contact us if you would like further information about doctors with expertise in the field of medicinal cannabis.
2. Get your doctor’s recommendation
Your doctor will research the use of medicinal cannabis for your condition. Doctors must only prescribe medicinal cannabis based on evidence and your risk factors. If medicinal cannabis is suitable for your condition, your doctor will need to apply for approval, which may take several days. More information about the approval process is available here.
3. Accessing medicinal cannabis
If approved, your doctor will write a prescription for your medicinal cannabis treatment (e.g. 30mg CBD oil in a capsule). Your doctor will then be able to send your approval and prescription to a pharmacy that holds your prescribed product. What medical conditions have been app
4. Monitoring your progress
It is important to check in regularly with your doctor to discuss whether medicinal cannabis is working for you, or if you are experiencing any side effects.