What is medicinal cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis (sometimes known as medical marijuana) refers to products derived from the cannabis plant and used for medicinal purposes. This applies to both sativa and indica varieties of the cannabis plant. Cannabis may be administered medicinally through ingestion of the cannabis flower itself. Additionally, phytocompounds in the plant such as cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids can be extracted and incorporated into different medical products. This allows them to potentially support the treatment of certain medical conditions by interacting with the endocannabinoid system when consumed. Research is being undertaken for each phytocompound to better understand their contribution to outcomes in medicinal cannabis.
To learn more, check out our blog about . the endocannabinoid system
What types of medicinal cannabis are there?
The two primary types of medical cannabis varieties are indica and sativa. Each of these encompasses a range of different strains which have been crossbred over decades. Every strain and cultivar has a unique effect profile. This is determined by its cannabinoid configuration, terpene composition and other factors.
Depending on their unique properties, cannabis strains can be incorporated into a variety of medical products. Some strains are perfectly suited to being vapourised as dry cannabis flowers. Other strains are made into products such as oil, vapouriser cartridges, softgels and topics by extracting the relevant compounds from the cannabis plant.
Is medicinal cannabis legal in Australia?
Medicinal cannabis is currently legal throughout Australia. In February 2016, an amendment to the Narcotics Drug Act of 1967 federally legalised medicinal cannabis. This amendment allowed regulated use of cannabis for medicinal and research purposes. It involved a national licensing scheme that permitted companies to cultivate, import, produce and manufacture cannabis plants and products.
For more details about legality and regulation in specific states, scroll down to one of our regional FAQs below.
What are the differences between medicinal and recreational cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is specifically formulated for legal, regulated use as a medicine, whereas recreational use is illegal in most of the country (except for the
). Medicinal cannabis products must conform to standards set by regulatory bodies such as the Australian Capital Territory and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) . Every aspect including cultivation, manufacture, distribution, prescription and patient use are carefully tracked. This creates a consistent level of quality and minimises the risk involved for patients. Black market recreational cannabis is unregulated and not formulated with medicinal use in mind. The lack of legality and quality control results in higher risks for users, including greater likelihood of negative side-effects. Office of Drug Control
What conditions can medicinal cannabis be taken for?
Medicinal cannabis can be taken for any condition a doctor deems appropriate. Doctors must obtain approval from the TGA to prescribe medicinal cannabis for individual patients. However, the TGA does not provide a comprehensive list of eligible conditions. Approvals are done on a case-to-case basis. It is up to the discretion of your medical professional to determine if medicinal cannabis would benefit your condition.