What’s Medical Cannabis?
Medical Cannabis is a very personalised medicine. Dosing is based on recommendations and will vary between individuals. Using the general guidelines of “Start low and go slow” and, “Finding the minimal dose that gives desired symptom control” means patients ultimately determine their optimal dose. Cannabis is a complex plant, with over 400 chemical entities, 140 of which are naturally occurring chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. These compounds trigger the endocannabinoid system receptors in the brain and body. The most common cannabinoids used in medicine are:
• THC ( Delta 9- tetrahydrocannabinol)
• CBD (Cannabidiol)
Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid compound. CBD is a non-toxic, non-euphoric substance that doesn’t make people feel high.
Delta 9- tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is a psychotropic cannabinoid compound.
THC is responsible for the euphoric effect as described by patients. It contains psychoactive properties that can alter one’s behaviour, consciousness, mood and perception. THC can cause sleepiness and sedation, hence it’s restriction with driving.
One’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor in determining one’s optimal dose. Cautious titration is urged.
How is medical cannabis consumed?
VAPORISING / INHALED (RAPID ABSORPTION)
When inhaling, the active ingredients are absorbed almost immediately into your bloodstream through the lungs. The effects usually last 2-4 hours.
ORAL INGESTION (SLOW ABSORPTION)
It’s important to “Start Low & Go Slow” when ingesting cannabis because the effects can be a lot stronger and can last a lot longer than when inhaled. When ingested it can take 90 minutes to absorb the active ingredients with a longer effect of 4-8 hours.
What’s the Biphasic Effect?
Low and high doses of the same substance can produce opposite effects. Small doses of cannabis tend to stimulate while large doses tend to sedate.