We’ve all heard about it. Medicinal cannabis is making headlines across the country each month, with updates from government bodies and medicinal cannabis companies. So, what’s going on? What are the things we really need to know? The team at CANNect Group, an education body for Australian Healthcare Professionals, talk to us about the what, why and where of medicinal cannabis options for Australian patients.
Medicinal cannabis has become a hot topic for patients and health professionals alike. And it’s not surprising, after almost 80 years of prohibition, the reintroduction of cannabis and its compounds to medicine was always going to cause a stir. Yes, you read that right, reintroduction. Cannabis was commonly added to many medications prior to prohibition in 1938. There were research papers describing the benefits to both people and animals across the 19th and 20th century.
But let’s not all rush to finish line; our understanding of science and medicine has improved markedly since 1938, and so there is a lot of catching up needed for medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids (the active compounds) to become pharmacy staples.
Let’s start with some science
Inside every cannabis plant is hundreds of compounds that affect its colour, smell, and impact on us. Cannabinoids are the fancy molecules that can help us heal. Most of us have heard about THC and CBD, but in fact there are over 140 cannabinoids within cannabis. In time, we will learn more about what each of them do.
THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. Yes, we just say THC too. It’s the most well-known cannabinoid and is the main source of the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The medicinal effects of THC are dose-dependent, and even small doses (less than 5 mg) can make a noticeable change. These include euphoria, relaxation and pain relief. It can suppress nausea, moderate appetite and support sleep.