Medicinal cannabis products are those made from the plant Cannabis sativa produced according to strict regulatory standards to ensure safety and reliability, consistent with other pharmaceutical-grade products.
Once approved treatment options have failed, medicinal cannabis may be considered as it can potentially assist in the treatment of symptoms associated with a range of conditions.
Refer to the TGA link here https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-information-consumers for further information
Medicinal cannabis has the potential to manage the symptoms associated with a wide variety of conditions because the plant -based phytocannabinoids CBD and THC bear a very close resemblance to our body's own endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG respectively, whose role is to regulate the healthy functioning of all the cells of the body as part of the 'endocannabinoid system'.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the body's own neuro-regulatory system whose role is to restore balance to all the cells of the body, summarised as "Relax eat sleep forget, protect". It comprises the endocannabinoids, the cell receptors, and the enzymes that break the cannabinoids down. In simple terms, the ECS reduces inflammation and moderates abnormal cell functions. It is essential for good health!
Interesting fact: the ECS was only discovered in the 1990's, and so has not been routinely taught in medical schools.
There are many reasons why people develop endocannabinoid deficiency, and is likely related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
You can help your ECS by maintaining a healthy lifestyle (balanced diet/exercise/minimise toxins/minimise stress), attend to sleep hygiene, meditate etc Even if you are taking medicinal cannabis, it is recommended that you aim to attend to these factors when possible for the best results.
In general, the overall rate of side effects is low in practice, usually being well-tolerated at the doses prescribed.
Potential side effects are different for CBD and THC-containing products as follows:
This is a common question! Medicinal Cannabis was legalised in Australia in 2016 – though remains TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) unapproved. It is currently accessible through TGA Special Access Scheme, by prescription only.
Ensure you keep your cannabis in its original container with your name on the label in case you are questioned by police.
No, a cannabis prescription is not a certainty. The consultation process allows for an assessment of suitability for you and your condition. Refer to TGA link here https://www.tga.gov.au/access-medicinal-cannabis-products-frequently-asked-questions-faqs for further information
No, you don’t need a referral to book a medicinal cannabis consultation, although a GP Patient Health Summary or other relevant medical documents are recommended, and may indeed be requested prior to receiving a prescription. In certain situations, in accordance with TGA regulations, written approval may be required from your specialist before prescribing.
Medicinal cannabis can be prescribed for most ages including children and the elderly, though with caution, and note - written approval may be needed from a specialist in certain situations, particularly in the case of use in children.
While it does depend on the type of medicinal cannabis product being considered, in general terms, medicinal cannabis maybe contraindicated, or used with caution in certain situations including:
Medicinal cannabis is generally a treatment of ‘last resort’, where standard therapeutic options have either not been effective, or are not suitable. The consultation process allows for an assessment of suitability, including your current and past medical history.
Addiction is a complex, multi-factorial phenomenon. While medicinal cannabis products containing THC can be associated with a withdrawal effect if stopped abruptly, cannabis prescribed in a controlled environment - and lower doses than that used illicitly - actually sits low on the addiction scale in comparison with other drugs.
While THC has the ability to result in a sense of calm and well-being, at the doses prescribed it usually doesn't result in an intense euphoria or 'high', though it is possible in those who are hypersensitive.
Medicinal cannabis has several advantages, the major ones being:
Whilst medicinal cannabis is certainly safer and more reliable than illicit cannabis, it can only be prescribed if you fit the criteria as per current TGA guidelines, and not simply as a replacement for recreational use.
Medicinal cannabis is only dispensed in pharmacies which have experience in dispensing this product, and can be done in person or remotely.
Your prescription will generally be sent to any number of the pharmacies that YIH is familiar with, but if you have a particular pharmacy in mind please let us know at the time of your consultation.
There is no restriction on CBD and driving; there is zero tolerance however when it comes to THC. Australian driving laws are such that no amount of THC may be detected on an oral swab, regardless of last use, and whether under the influence or not. Due to the variability of detection in different people, and in the same person under different conditions, no recommendations can be therefore be given for when it may in fact be safe to drive after last use, or when THC will no longer be detectable after last use.
The costs involved in medicinal cannabis treatment are associated with the initial and subsequent consultations, the medicinal cannabis product/s and pharmacy dispensing fee, and any other equipment such as vaporisers and grinders.
Currently, telehealth consultations are private and attract no Medicare rebate unless you have seen the doctor face to face prior, and prescriptions are also fully private as medicinal cannabis is TGA unapproved and is not PBS-listed. Department of Veteran Affairs may subsidise at their discretion after lodging an application, and for others there is a compassionate access scheme for exceptional circumstances.
A medicinal cannabis review consultation is appropriate for any consultations following an initial consult. However, if more than 12 months have elapsed since your last consultation you will need to book another initial consultation if your medical history has changed.
You can cancel or reschedule your appointment until 24 hours prior to your appointment. If there are extenuating circumstances, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Medicinal cannabis: Information for consumers (TGA):
Guidance for the use of medicinal cannabis in Australia (TGA):
Medicinal cannabis products: patient information (TGA):
Medicinal cannabis (Better Health Channel):