Medical Cannabis was legalised in Australia in 2016, and there has been increasing interest from patients, practitioners and the wider public ever since.
When I started my medical cannabis journey in 2017, I had so many questions. I remember asking: “What is cannabis oil? What are the benefits of cannabis oil, and what are its side effects? How do you access cannabis oil?” I also remember pulling my hair out trying to find clear and reliable answers.
This is the guide that I wish I had, answering all those questions and more.
What is Cannabis Oil?
The most popular way to consume Medical Cannabis in Australia is through an oral liquid, known as cannabis oil.
CBD oil or cannabis oil is a medicine derived from the flower of the cannabis sativa plant, prescribed by practitioners for its potentially beneficial effects in various health conditions.
Cannabis oil is created by extracting tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), from the marijuana plant. THC is the cannabinoid with psychoactive components, and CBD has therapeutic benefits. These compounds are then blended into a carrier oil such as MCT oil.
To take cannabis oil, a patient simply squeezes the prescribed number of drops under their tongue.
What is the best Cannabis Oil for me?
The optimal type and quantity of cannabis oil varies patient to patient, depending on the specific medical condition and number of cannabinoid receptors in the patient’s body.
Cannabis oils which include small amounts of THC are typically prescribed for chronic pain, including:
- arthritis pain
- lower back pain
- neck pain pain
- neuropathic pain pain (nerve pain)
People with epilepsy and anxiety most often use CBD only products.
The doctor will be able to recommend a specific blend and dosage for your condition. Importantly, cannabis oils which include small amounts of THC won’t create a ‘high’ like you might experience with stronger THC products. They do, however, benefit from what is known as the ‘entourage effect’, where the THC augments the therapeutic benefits of the CBD oil, making it desirable for certain patients.
What conditions can Cannabis Oil treat?
When a doctor becomes an Authorised Prescriber for Medical Cannabis, they are able to prescribe cannabis oils without submitting an application to the TGA for each patient.
To become an Authorised Prescriber, doctors sometimes need to lodge an application to the NIIM Human Research Ethics Committee, who have a list of 29 conditions where medical cannabis might be appropriate. In alphabetical order, these are:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Cancer symptom management
- Cancer-related pain
- Chemotherapy- Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV)
- Chronic non-cancer pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Mood Disorder
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neuropathic pain
- Palliative Care
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure Management
- Sleep Disorder
- Spasticity-associated pain
This list isn’t every condition that an Authorised Prescriber can prescribe Medical Cannabis for, but they’ll need to lodge an application to the TGA if the condition isn’t on the above list.
The Medical Cannabis tab on Cannabate’s home page has more information about how Medical Cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid system to produce a wide array of therapeutic benefits.
What don’t we know about Cannabis Oil?
The endocannabinoid system was only discovered in 1992, and the war on drugs meant that cannabis has been illegal in most countries since it’s discovery.
Though this is changing, with over 50 countries legalising medical cannabis in recent years, it does mean that there is currently limited scientific evidence to support the use of medicinal cannabis for most conditions.
In many cases the evidence is for its use together with other medicines, the Therapeutic Goods Administration recommends that it should be used only when approved treatments have been tried and have failed to manage conditions and symptoms.
How to access cannabis oil?
The only way to legally access cannabis oil in Australia is through a general practitioner.
At Cannabate, we connect patients with Authorised Prescribers who are experts in prescription of Medical Cannabis oils.
They will hold your hand through the process and create a tailored dosing schedule and prescription based on your specific condition.
When I was diagnosed with chronic neck pain and ADHD in 2017, all I wanted was for a medical health professional to support my cannabis journey. Because the industry hadn’t yet developed, I was forced to go through the black market to find relief.
This is why Cannabate was formed. We’re for patients, by patients, connecting patients with doctors who can prescribe affordable, accessible and Australian Medical Cannabis oils.
You can click here to assess your eligibility and to book a consult. Otherwise, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me personally on 0450 222 484. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t provide medical advice, but I’m more than happy to help out in any way that I can.
With love, James and the Cannabate team.