Medicinal Cannabis Products
Full spectrum v isolates
The cannabis plant contains more than 100 active compounds which can affect the functioning of our bodies. Medicinal cannabis products can differ depending on whether they contain the full spectrum of compounds from the plant, or whether they contain a purified isolate:
Isolates – e.g. CBD isolate, contain only the CBD element of the plant.
Full spectrum products – e.g. a balanced oil, contain all of the elements of the cannabis plant in varying concentrations.
Because many of the natural chemicals within cannabis work together to produce a therapeutic effect, full spectrum products are generally thought to be more effective for many conditions
CBD v THC
The 2 main components of the cannabis plant which have been most extensively studied are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC ( 9-tetrahydrocannabidiol). Products vary in the relative concentrations of these two ingredients. One of the important aspects of prescribing is in achieving the correct ratio:
Safe for driving
Potential uses include:
Potential uses include:
Chronic nerve pain
Oils, Capsules and Flowers
Within Australia, medicinal cannabis is most commonly given in an oil or a flower form.
Most patients are able to take medicinal cannabis without many significant adverse effects. Side effects will vary depending on the type of preparation and the dose, but a few common side effects are listed below:
Driving and medicinal cannabis
Unlike alcohol, for which a maximum blood concentration is stipulated, there is no legally permitted concentration of THC for driving in Australia. Under current legislation, driving with any TCH detectable within the body is a criminal offence, even at concentrations low enough to cause no significant impairment. Having a prescription for medicinal cannabis is of no legal defence in driving charges.
The length of time THC is detectable within the blood stream after dosing can vary significantly depending on the dose taken, the type of formulation and your body’s metabolism.
Hence, we would recommend that all patients taking medicinal cannabis (with the exception of CBD isolates containing no THC) refrain from driving during their treatment. Your doctor will discuss this further during your consultation.
Dosing of medicinal cannabis can be complicated for several reasons:
- Cannabis can interact with other medications – hence your doctor will discuss your existing treatment in detail during the consultation.
- The effective dose will vary according to your body size, metabolism and the condition being treated.
- There is some evidence to suggest that for certain formulations, lower doses may actually be more effective than higher doses – what we call an “n-shaped dose curve”
Hence, the usual rule we follow with cannabis dosing is to START LOW AND GO SLOW, meaning a low initial dose and as slow increase over at least 2 weeks.
Our doctors will provide details dosing instructions for any medication they prescribe.