Please note there have only been a limited number of well-designed clinic trials on medicinal cannabis. Cannabis may be a useful medication in a multitude of chronic medical conditions where conventional treatments have failed. These include (but are not limited to):
- Chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and nerve pain conditions
- Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia, and PTSD
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
- Palliative care settings
- Autoimmune disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Migraine headaches
- Sleep disturbances(Insomnia)
A common concern for patients is that medical cannabis will make them feel euphoric or ‘high’. In clinical practice however, this is not what we are trying to achieve. The main goal in using medical cannabis is to achieve good relief of symptoms without producing a ‘high’, and ideally doing it with minimal or no side effects. This is accomplished by starting at low doses and slowly titrating up to effective therapeutic levels. Our doctors will conduct a thorough assessment of patients and will prescribe the most appropriate dosage based on symptoms.
There is some evidence in the scientific literature to suggest that cannabis has a low risk profile for addiction, with lower rates of addiction in regular cannabis users than in users of alcohol, tobacco, and even caffeine.Over time, escalation in dose is not generally needed, and often patients can maintain a stable daily dose for many years unlike people on opioids treatment for their chronic pain.
Serious adverse events are rare with medicinal cannabis.Most side effects come from its THC component. Potential common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Headache and visual disturbance
- Cognitive effects
Combining CBD and THC can further reduce the THC side effects
It is not advisable to take medical cannabis while pregnant or breast feeding. Also, children, teenagers, and patients with a history of psychosis/schizophrenia, or unstable heart disease should avoid products containing a cannabinoid called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Firstly, street-sourced products can fluctuate wildly in potency from one batch to another which makes consistent dosing and titration difficult to achieve.
Secondly, street-sourced products can often be contaminated with bacteria, moulds, heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides that can be harmful when consumed. Therefore, we would strongly recommend using a pharmaceutical-grade cannabis medicine that also provides you with an exact grade and quality of CBD and THC product. This would ensure there is consistency of product, along with a guarantee that it is grown under sterile and contaminant-free conditions.
The sensitivity of each person’s underlying endocannabinoid system is highly variable. Thus, medicinal cannabis should be considered a personalized medicine. There is no single type of product, dosage, or mode of delivery that is optimal for everyone. We recommend speaking to your doctor to figure out a treatment plan that is right for you.
Medicinal cannabis can be taken in a variety of ways depending on the clinical indication. These include:
• Oral – e.g. through a spray, oil drops, or capsules
Oral preparations/sprays are absorbed more slowly and take around 30-90 minutes to take effect. Peak effects occur around 2-4 hours and can last for up to 8 eight hours or more.
• Vaporization – e.g. by using a specialized medical device that heats the cannabis flowers and causes the release of cannabinoids into a vapour form, which is inhaled.
Vaporization results in rapid absorption into the body, with first effects occurring within 90 seconds, reaching a peak after 15-30 minutes, and can last 2-4 hours. This method is best used where a rapid onset of action is desired.
• Topical – patches, gels, or creams
The smoking of cannabis is strongly discouraged as this can create an abundance of toxic compounds that can cause cancer.
It’s illegal in England, Scotland and Wales to drive with legal drugs in your body if it impairs you’re driving. Under section 4 of the road traffic act 1988, it is an offence to drive,attempt to drive or be in charge of a vehicle while unfit because of drugs. However section 5A of the road traffic act 1988 allows for the taking of medicinal cannabis as long as the driver can show that the drug has being prescribed or supplied for medical purposes and that the drug has being taken in accordance with the doctor’s instructions.
You can drive after taking medicinal cannabis if:
- You’ve been prescribed them and followed advice on how to take them by a healthcare professional
- They are not causing you to be unfit to drive even if you’re above the specified limits
- Have evidence that you are on medicinal cannabis for medical reasons.
The clinic advices that the following time frames intervals before driving
-4 hours after inhalation
-8 hours after oral ingestion
By law at the end of the day whether you are fit or unfit to drive that decision lies with the person taking the medicinal cannabis.