What is medical cannabis?

Evidence suggests that the cannabis plant has been used as a medicine for mind and body in different cultures all over the world for millennia. This beautiful and aromatic herb contains a diverse array of natural chemical compounds that are secreted by its flowers. 

These compounds are called cannabinoids and terpenes. So far, at least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated and there are around 200 terpenes which give cannabis its distinct and varying aromas[1]. Together, cannabinoids and terpenes produce a wide range of effects and therapeutic benefits known as the “entourage effect”.

When medical cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites in the brain and body interacting with the body’s own endocannabinoid system which influences pain, mood, memory and appetite in humans and animals.
 
Medicinal cannabis can be administered in several forms including: orally as a tincture or via oil-filled capsules; topically via skin creams and transdermal patches; infused into food products such as olive oil; or vaporised for respiratory delivery.

Meet the Cannabis family 

Say hello to Sativa, Indica and Hybrid, the three most commonly found members of the Cannabis family. 

Cannabis Sativa is tall and spindly with short thin leaves and loose flowers. This form of cannabis plant usually has a long cultivation cycle, which reflects the Equatorial climate where it is thought to have originated. Sativa has a spicy or floral scent and is popular because of its uplifting effects on mood.

Cannabis Sativa is tall and spindly with short thin leaves and loose flowers. This form of cannabis plant usually has a long cultivation cycle, which reflects the Equatorial climate where it is thought to have originated. Sativa has a spicy or floral scent and is popular because of its uplifting effects on mood.

Cannabis Indica is short and bushy with wide leaves and tightly packed flowers. Thought to have come from central Asia, Indica’s growth cycle is shorter and it has an earthy, musky perfume. This type of cannabis is used for its relaxing and calming effect.  

Cannabis Indica is short and bushy with wide leaves and tightly packed flowers. Thought to have come from central Asia, Indica’s growth cycle is shorter and it has an earthy, musky perfume. This type of cannabis is used for its relaxing and calming effect.  

Cannabis Hybrids are developed by plant breeders to create new varieties of cannabis with specific characteristics. These hybrids contain traits from both Indica and Sativa, combined in differing proportions to achieve different effects. 

Cannabis Hybrids are developed by plant breeders to create new varieties of cannabis with specific characteristics. These hybrids contain traits from both Indica and Sativa, combined in differing proportions to achieve different effects. 


Lights, action, Cannabinoids!

The active ingredients in Medical Cannabis are a diverse group of chemical compounds called Cannabinoids. They work by reacting with our body’s natural cannabinoid receptors. 

Did you know there are over 600 active compounds (that we know of so far) in the cannabis plant? Recent Australian legislation is now giving researchers the opportunity to investigate the exciting potential of cannabis to treat a wide range of symptoms and conditions. 

Take a look at the most common Cannabinoids and their key characteristics. 

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (also known as THC) is a neutral cannabinoid, popular because of its psychoactive effects. THC acts as a mental stimulant increasing mental acuity, and also causing increased appetite

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC)

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (also known as THC) is a neutral cannabinoid, popular because of its psychoactive effects. THC acts as a mental stimulant increasing mental acuity, and also causing increased appetite

Cannabidiol (CBD) Better known as CBD, Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound which is able to counteract THC, without losing the effects of symptom relief. CBD is a key reason for the interest in Medicinal Cannabis.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Better known as CBD, Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound which is able to counteract THC, without losing the effects of symptom relief. CBD is a key reason for the interest in Medicinal Cannabis.

Cannabinol (CBN) Occurring in much smaller quantities than THC or CBD, CBN appears as THC starts to degrade. It is an important chemical compound aiding in sleep and pain relief.

Cannabinol (CBN)

Occurring in much smaller quantities than THC or CBD, CBN appears as THC starts to degrade. It is an important chemical compound aiding in sleep and pain relief.

 
Cannabichromene (CBC) Cannabichromene (CBC) occurs in greater quantities than CBD, but has not been researched as extensively. It is believed to have a mood enhancing effect, helping patients to relax and stay positive.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

Cannabichromene (CBC) occurs in greater quantities than CBD, but has not been researched as extensively. It is believed to have a mood enhancing effect, helping patients to relax and stay positive.

Cannabigerol (CBG) THC and CBD begin as Cannabigerol (CBG). It is non-psychoactive and found in trace percentages in Medicinal Cannabis.

Cannabigerol (CBG)

THC and CBD begin as Cannabigerol (CBG). It is non-psychoactive and found in trace percentages in Medicinal Cannabis.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) Tetrahydrocannabivarin’s chemical structure is similar to THC, but it reacts differently with our cannabinoid receptors. THCV is psychoactive and researchers are investigating its appetite suppressant and anticonvulsant properties.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

Tetrahydrocannabivarin’s chemical structure is similar to THC, but it reacts differently with our cannabinoid receptors. THCV is psychoactive and researchers are investigating its appetite suppressant and anticonvulsant properties.


Wake up and smell the Terpenes

Terpenes are active compounds that are found in most plants. They are what make plant species taste and smell different from one another. They also have certain therapeutic benefits which aromatherapists have used for centuries. Recent research into cannabis has shown that terpenes are important because they work with cannabinoids to engage our body’s receptors. Around 100 different terpenes have been discovered in cannabis plants and we’ve listed some of the most popular ones here. 

 
Caryophyllene SMELL Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves (also found in black pepper, cloves, cotton) EFFECTS No detectable physical effects MEDICAL USES Gastro-protective, anti-inflammatory, good for arthritis, ulcers, autoimmune disorders, and other gastrointestinal complications

Caryophyllene

SMELL
Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves (also found in black pepper, cloves, cotton)

EFFECTS
No detectable physical effects

MEDICAL USES
Gastro-protective, anti-inflammatory, good for arthritis, ulcers, autoimmune disorders, and other gastrointestinal complications

Pinene SMELL Pine (also found in pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill) EFFECTS Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects MEDICAL USES Asthma, antiseptic

Pinene

SMELL
Pine (also found in pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill)

EFFECTS
Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects

MEDICAL USES
Asthma, antiseptic

Limonene SMELL Citrus (also found in fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint) EFFECTS Elevated mood, stress relief MEDICAL USES Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, dissolves gallstones, mood- enhancer, may treat gastrointestinal complications, heartburn

Limonene

SMELL
Citrus (also found in fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint)

EFFECTS
Elevated mood, stress relief

MEDICAL USES
Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, dissolves gallstones, mood- enhancer, may treat gastrointestinal complications, heartburn

 
Myrcene SMELL Musky, cloves, earthy, herbal with notes of citrus and tropical fruit (also found in mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops EFFECTS Sedating, relaxing MEDICAL USES Antioxidant, good for muscle tension, sleeplessness, pain, inflammation, depression

Myrcene

SMELL
Musky, cloves, earthy, herbal with notes of citrus and tropical fruit (also found in mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops

EFFECTS
Sedating, relaxing

MEDICAL USES
Antioxidant, good for muscle tension, sleeplessness, pain, inflammation, depression

Linalool SMELL Floral, citrus, candy (also found in lavender, mint, cinnamon) EFFECTS  Anxiety relief, sedation MEDICAL USES  Anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-acne 

Linalool

SMELL
Floral, citrus, candy (also found in lavender, mint, cinnamon)

EFFECTS 
Anxiety relief, sedation

MEDICAL USES 
Anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-acne 

 

What’s the most effective way for patients to take Medical Cannabis?

There are many different ways to take Medical Cannabis. The important thing to remember is that you are unique, so different cannabis varieties and consumption methods may affect you differently from someone else. 

At LeafCann, our golden rule is to start slowly with small amounts. By doing this you can gradually and safely discover what brings you optimal relief. 

Inhalation – Inhale or Vaporise This method releases up to 95% of all cannabinoids and is achieved by heating the cannabis. Clients tend to use less cannabis with this method.

Inhalation – Inhale or Vaporise

This method releases up to 95% of all cannabinoids and is achieved by heating the cannabis. Clients tend to use less cannabis with this method.

Sublingual – By Mouth Taking cannabis oils sublingually (under your tongue) means that the cannabis is processed by your liver.  This means you may have to wait 30 to 90 minutes before you feel any relief, but the effects last longer. 

Sublingual – By Mouth

Taking cannabis oils sublingually (under your tongue) means that the cannabis is processed by your liver.  This means you may have to wait 30 to 90 minutes before you feel any relief, but the effects last longer. 

Transdermal – Through Your Skin   Skins and salves (also called topical medicines) are absorbed through your skin to target a specific area. This minimally invasive method helps to reduce side effects.   

Transdermal – Through Your Skin
 
Skins and salves (also called topical medicines) are absorbed through your skin to target a specific area. This minimally invasive method helps to reduce side effects.