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. It 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.

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.


FACINATING WORLD OF Terpenes

Terpenes are active compounds that are found in most plants. They are what make plant species taste and smell different from one another. Recent research into cannabis has shown that terpenes interact synergistically 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  ANECDOTAL USE 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

ANECDOTAL USE
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  ANECDOTAL USE Asthma, antiseptic

Pinene

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

EFFECTS
Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects

ANECDOTAL USE
Asthma, antiseptic

Limonene   SMELL Citrus (also found in fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint)  EFFECTS Elevated mood, stress relief  ANECDOTAL USE 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

ANECDOTAL USE
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  ANECDOTAL USE 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

ANECDOTAL USE
Antioxidant, good for muscle tension, sleeplessness, pain, inflammation, depression

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

Linalool

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

EFFECTS
Anxiety relief, sedation

ANECDOTAL USE
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. 

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