Medicinal cannabis refers to pharmaceutical grade extracts of the Cannabis Sativa plant Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although there are literally hundreds of phytochemicals found in this plant, CBD and THC are the most widely studied for their potential uses in human (and animals) to treat a variety of medical conditions.

Changes in regulations surrounding these chemicals which occurred a few years ago, renewed the medical and pharmaceutical world’s interest, although the history of use of this plant goes back to ancient times. Because these chemicals work on the Endocannabinoid System, which is present in the bodies of all humans and animals (except insects), they are being studied for a remarkably wide array of conditions from chronic non cancer pain, anxiety and depression, multiple sclerosis, migraine, fibromyalgia, PTSD, and even inflammatory skin conditions.

CBD, is the non-psychoactive component, is classed as a Schedule 4 (prescription) drug in Australia since 2016, and THC, the psychoactive component, is a Schedule 8 (prescription with strict controls). Many products containing either chemical alone or in a range of combinations are in development by pharmaceutical companies.

Medicinal cannabis can interact with many other medications both prescribed, over the counter or herbal. Driving while taking THC is not permitted at all, even if legally prescribed.

While the scientific evidence for treating many medical conditions is still lacking, medicinal cannabis may yet offer alternatives for patients where traditional treatments have not been entirely successful.