The Therapeutic Goods Administration, TGA, recently achieved the important mark of over 50,000 approvals for Medicinal cannabis products via the SAS category B scheme.

When compared with 2019, the approvals exponentially grew by 195% during June.

It’s evident that patients are continually seeking for new alternatives to bring some relief to their health conditions such as pain, anxiety, insomnia and more.

 

https://www.tga.gov.au/access-medicinal-cannabis-products-1

According to Fresh Leaf Analytics [i], there was a 600% increase in active patients during 2019. Consequently, medical cannabis users can benefit from a larger product range at a lower price, as there was an average price drop of 28% during the last year.

As a doctor or pharmacist, it’s essential to be prepared and updated with the application process, legislation changes, conditions that can be prescribed and products options.

When analysing which State had more approvals, Queensland presents as the leader, followed by New South Wales and Victoria.

Data collected from:https://freshleafanalytics.com.au/department-of-health-releases-new-medical-cannabis-patient-access-info/

 

But what are the most prescribed conditions?

According to a report released by the Australian Department of Health, the most common approvals on 31 December 2019 were

  • Chronic pain: Back pain, cancer pain, neuropathic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Seizure Management
  • PTSD

Other conditions include:

  • Anorexia
  • Insomnia
  • Spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Tremor
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

 

As stated by an article published by Harvard Medical School[i] , Medical Cannabis can be effective to ease the pain, due to its unique properties: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic.

Also, studies claim that it is safer than opiates, enhancing the seek for plant-based treatments.

 

Which product types are commonly used?

Although there are over 100 Cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Plant, the 2 most widely utilised and most researched Cannabinoids in Medical Cannabis Treatment are:

  • THC (aka Delta 9- tetrahydrocannabinol aka Tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • CBD (aka Cannabidiol)

When talking about the products that are prescribed for the conditions listed, products that combine THC and CBD are the majority.

Data collected from: Australian Department of Health / January 2020

 

The reasons given for the Schedule 8 classification of Medicinal Cannabis and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for therapeutic purposes are that the conditions for which they are prescribed for require management, monitoring and diagnosis under an appropriate medical practitioner

Studies and researches have shown that THC and CBD both have a wide range of Therapeutic Possibilities:

CBD has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, antitumoral, immunomodulator, anti-diabetic, anti-psoriatic, anti-ischemic, anxiolytic, antibacterial, antiproliferative, bone stimulant and has neuro-protective properties. This extensive list of possible benefits is due to the Endocannabinoid system being situated throughout downstream body tissues.

THC is an analgesic, appetite stimulant, antiemetic, antispasmodic, sedative and in some people a euphoriant.

However, it is important to consider that both also present side effects. THC can cause dizziness, impaired short-term memory and focus, increased appetite, euphoria and uncontrollable laughter, dry mouth, slowed reaction time, and lastly coughing and sputum production if vaporised.

On the other hand, CBD has very few side effects at less than 2% of patients, being the most common adverse effects: dry mouth, fatigue and changes in appetite.

Although the medical cannabis market is booming and more and more patients are able to access cannabis products in Australia legally, it is essential to enhance that research on the potential health benefits of CBD and THC are ongoing to prove the potential benefits.

 

CanView does not endorse the use of Medicinal Cannabis without lawful prescription. Just like any Medicine, Medicinal Cannabis may have both positive and negative side effects on the user, and should only be prescribed to patients by a Health Professional with the authority and expertise to do so. The information provided by CanView is for informational and educational purposes, and is of a general nature. If you are interested in accessing Medicinal Cannabis please talk to your doctor and request a referral to a Medicinal Cannabis clinic. 

[1] Peter Grinspoon, M. (2020). Medical marijuana – Harvard Health Blog. Harvard Health Blog. Retrieved 16 July 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/medical-marijuana-2018011513085.

 

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