Medicinal cannabis is made from the cannabis sativa plant. The leaves and buds of this plant are also used to make the drug marijuana. Medicinal cannabis is sometimes referred to as medical cannabis or medical marijuana.
Cannabis has been shown to relieve pain, prevent or reduce vomiting, and it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is because substances called cannabinoids act on the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is a communications system in the brain and body that influences mood, memory, sleep and appetite.
The cannabis plant contains 80 to 100 cannabinoids. The one that gets people high is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Other cannabinoids have been shown to relieve symptoms of disease. Another cannabinoid is Cannabidiol (CBD) and there is research to support it’s inclusion with THC or on its own for pain, epilepsy and many more conditions. International research is looking at the therapeutic properties of some of the other cannabinoids.
The side effects of medicinal cannabis are still being studied. They may include:
Medicinal cannabis is tightly regulated. A prescription is required from an Authorised Doctor who will need to ensure you will benefit from the medication. They also need to apply for approval from the TGA which can take some time.
In some countries, crude cannabis (raw cannabis plant material) and cannabis oil are used as therapies. These are both illegal in Australia.
There hasn’t been enough research yet to prove the benefits of medicinal cannabis. But it is showing promise for some people with chronic or terminal illnesses who don’t get relief from other medicines, or to help control some of the side effects caused by other medicines.
Researchers are investigating the use of medicinal cannabis for:
Perhaps more than any other plant, cannabis has been used as a medicinal treatment for thousands of years, in many cultures including Chinese, Egyptian, European, Greek and the Islamic world.
In Western medicine prior to 1937, there were at least 2000 cannabis medicines produced by over 280 manufacturers, for many ailments including pain relief, inflammation, epilepsy, cancer, nausea & vomiting, muscle spasms, cramps, migraines and as an aid to sleep.
Since 1937 the stigma that marijuana has held as a “psychadelic” drug are quickly being eradicated through scientific research which shows the huge benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment plan.