There are a plethora of benefits to the legalization of medical cannabis. In this article, we would like to take a closer look at the various benefits that a legal medical cannabis market presents to patients and society in general. Some of these include reduced costs to patients over time, peace of mind for consumers as well as research opportunities for future development and innovation.
Benefits in Legal Pathways
One of the most significant benefits for many regarding the legalisation of cannabis is the legality of being able to possess and consume cannabis and cannabis-based products. For many years before legalisation, patients looking to utilise the plant for medical and recreational purposes have had to risk breaking the law. Now through legal pathways, they can obtain legal cannabis patient status, which allows them to consume and medicate without having to break the law.
Regulated Products (Inc. Labelling Guidelines)
Another upside of cannabis legalisation is the regulation of products being utilised by patients. The labeling guidelines required on medical cannabis products in Australia helps to ensure product safety and transparency.
As with anything we put in our body, it is essential that we know what we are consuming; this is especially true when it comes to products that are supposed to be used for medicinal purposes. The legalisation of cannabis requires testing for many harmful constituents such as pesticides and other chemicals, as well as aspects such as potency and concentration of cannabinoids and other compounds from the plant. This provides transparency in the market as well as peace of mind for consumers.
Medicinal cannabis products in Australia are upheld to quality and safety standards under the Therapeutic Goods Order No. 93 where cannabinoid content (THC and CBD), contamination, toxins, and pesticides are vigorously analysed. Illicit cannabis may contain impurities and harmful contaminants, like powdery mildew, gray mold, pathogenic molds, pesticides, plant growth regulators and harmful solvents used in extractions, like butane, hexane and carbon dioxide. Many of these contaminants are known carcinogens and can be extremely harmful when combusted or turned into highly concentrated extractions.
One of the hardest things about medicating with cannabis is finding exactly what works for you as the plant in its various forms and strains treats many people differently. Having transparency such as what you see in regulated markets helps patients to better track what is working for them through consistent cannabinoid profiles, so that they can replicate it in the future in hopes of the same result.
Using Cannabis with Other Medications
When utilising cannabis in conjunction with other medications, it is essential to do so with caution, research warns. Some heart medication, such as statin medicines and blood thinners, have been shown to cause interactions when consumed simultaneously with cannabinoids. It is estimated that over 80% of prescription medications interact with cannabis compounds. This is due to the liver breaking down compounds from both the medication and cannabis at the same time. This can cause a change in potency in some medicines. In others, it can change the efficacy of the medicine in treating the ailments and conditions they are prescribed for. In many cases making them less effective or causing them to overcorrect issues that could cause further harm or unwanted side effects.
Potential for Reduction in Cost and Benefits
In Australia, the cost of medications can be prohibitive for some patients. That said, recent research shows when compared to illicit products, they are often similarly priced without the certainties on quality of product as explained previously.
Medicinal cannabis is not currently covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). To be included on the PBS, the medicine must be registered and approved by the TGA. To be approved, the medicine must be shown safe and effective through clinical trials. The current challenge is that until recently, cannabis has been a prohibited product, and has limitations of being patented as a new drug. Medicinal cannabis trials are currently underway for various products and conditions to become registered products. The more that patients contribute and support the legal market via their positive experiences and investment, the quicker we will be able to gather clinical insights to provide better treatment to patients at a reduced cost.
Tetra has assisted numerous patients retrieve medical cannabis reimbursements through the Department of Veteran Affairs, Work Cover and private health funds.
Personalised Treatment Plans and Guidance Via Experts
Cannabis treats everyone differently; this is why it is vital that patients have a personalised treatment plan guided by experts, such as the professionals at Tetra Health, to help them achieve the most from cannabinoid therapies based on their specific conditions and needs. Here at Tetra Health, we have a team of experts that are ready and willing to help make your path to relief through legal medicinal cannabinoid therapies a success. If you are looking to become a legal medical cannabis patient in Australia, contact our team today for a consultation!