What Is Medicinal Cannabis?

Facts and Science on Medicinal Cannabis

What Is Medicinal Cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis is cannabis that is used to help treat or relieve symptoms of an expanding list of medical conditions. Medicinal cannabis should be thought of as a class of drugs rather than an individual drug because the active constituents can vary between products and, in lower quality medicines, between batches. Medicinal cannabis includes pharmaceutical preparations that can contain a broad spectrum of the bioactive chemical constituents of the cannabis plant (i.e. ‘whole-plant’ or ‘full-spectrum’ products), only individual chemical constituents of the plant (isolates) or in a varied combination of constituents.

What are the different types of medicinal cannabis available?

Medicinal cannabis products exist in various forms with oils being the dominant and preferred method of delivery. Medicinal cannabis products can also be found as capsules, dry flower, oromucosal spray, lozenges and creams – with new methods of delivery continually being developed.

What are the active ingredients of medicinal cannabis?

The cannabis plant contains more than 400 plant constituents with approximately 100 that are specific to the cannabis plant and referred to as cannabinoids and primarily responsible for therapeutic activity.
More detailed information on the active constituents of the cannabis plant can be found here.

What can medicinal cannabis be used for?

There are numerous conditions and indications that medicinal cannabis is being prescribed for, including epilepsy, chronic pain, spasticity and anxiety. More detailed information on approved indications, including supporting clinical evidence can be found here.

Who is medicinal cannabis appropriate for?

Medicinal cannabis can be prescribed for any chronic indication where there is supporting clinical evidence for its use and after all clinically appropriate treatment options have been considered.

Is medicinal cannabis legal?

In Australia, medical Cannabis was legalised in 2016 and can be prescribed by any Australia registered medical doctor. Based on the active constituent profile, the medicinal cannabis products will be either scheduled as a Schedule 4 (S4) Prescription Only Drug or Schedule 8 (S8) Controlled Drug.

In the UK, medicinal cannabis was legalised in 2018 but is classified as a Schedule 2 Controlled Drug. Medicinal cannabis products are considered ‘unlicensed’ medications in the UK.

Who can prescribe medicinal cannabis?

Any registered medical doctor in Australia can prescribe medicinal cannabis, while only a specialist doctor can prescribe medicinal cannabis in the UK.

Please refer to our guidance information on the prescription pathways for Australia and the UK.