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Medicinal Cannabis General Information

CBD and THC

Medicinal cannabis on the market generally contains the active ingredients THC, CBD or a combination of both. The combinations can vary to be THC or CBD dominant or a balanced formula. 

Different conditions may be treated by different ratios of THC:CBD and some patients will respond differently to different ratios. Therefore, in the beginning of treatment patients might need to trial a few different products to find the right combination for their condition.

THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis (creates relaxed or euphoric feeling)

CBD is non-psychoactive and produces no high. CBD is believed to balance out the effects of THC. 

Patients can drive if using just CBD. Patients can’t drive if they are affected by THC, even if they have a script. THC can stay in the system for 12 to 30 hours for a roadside drug test. 

Dosage Methods

Inhalation: can be smoked or vaped. Fast acting and shorter lasting. Vaping considered safer than smoking as cannabis smoke can create toxic compounds. Smoking not as accurate a dose as when vaped. 

Oral: can be oils or capsules. Oils are good for titrating a dose and once stable can change to capsules. Can be administered orally (swallowed) or sublingually (under the tongue). Oral dosing has a slower onset of action but also longer duration of action. Preferred dosing method for gastrointestinal symptoms eg IBD

Titrating Dose: to gradually increase the dose until either the lowest effective dose is reached, or side effects begin. Eg. Oil, start with 0.1ml twice daily, increase by 0.1ml every 3 days until pain relief or side effects begin.

Uses

THC may be helpful to relieve pain and nausea, reduce muscle spasticity, and improve appetite. THC is also responsible for the euphoric or psychoactive effects of cannabis. 

CBD may be helpful for reducing inflammation, seizures, anxiety, and to improve sleep. It is non-intoxicating and does not have euphoric effects. In fact, CBD can reduce these effects.

Examples of ratios: (note there is a lot of patient variability and different ratios may be better for different people)

Depression, PTSD, migraine, insomnia: Balanced

Anxiety, epilepsy, tremor: CBD-dominant 

Chemotherapy induced Nausea and vomiting: THC dominant or balanced

Chronic non-cancer pain: balanced 

Palliative care: THC dominant

Arthritis, IBD: CBD dominant

Cancer Pain: balanced

Potential side-effects

Mostly well tolerated, side effects are short lasting and the body builds a tolerance to them with use. Most common; dry mouth, red eyes, increased appetite, mild euphoria, reduced alertness, increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, dizziness.

Elderly patients: more sensitive to neurological effects, psychoactive effects and lowered blood pressure/dizziness. Increased risk of falls. Should start on a lower dose and titrate slowly.

Ordering process

Products are not registered in Australia and are therefore only available on the Special Access Scheme. Doctor’s can be Authorised Prescriber’s for a particular product, or they have to apply for a SAS-B for a patient and product. A SAS-B application takes about 2 weeks to clear with TGA. The pharmacy will need to receive your prescription hard copy and TGA approval before we can dispense and send your order.