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WE BELIEVE EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO A PAIN-FREE LIFE

Australians are an active bunch, we are the sporting capital of the world; our love of sport is not just the elite athletes, footballers on the TV or Olympians who bring home gold every Olympics. Every age group of Australians is active, whether that’s playing golf or swimming; older Australians are some of the most active in the world.

As people get older, the wear and tear on their bodies becomes more noticeable, and many people have to reduce or eliminate the amount of activity they participate in. Chronic pain can limit the lifestyles of many patients and being unable to participate in social activities or sports and recreation can put a toll on a person’s mental health.

At Levin we believe a person has a right to lead an active, pain-free lifestyle for as long as possible, and we are committed to providing the opportunity for this as best as we know how. Cannabis-based medicines may present an opportunity for patients across Australia.

WHAT IS MEDICINAL CANNABIS?

The cannabis plant contains many different chemical compounds, including up to 100 phytocannabinoids, unique to the plant. Cannabinoids are also found in the human body (endocannabinoids) and form part of the endocannabinoid system. This communication system regulates important bodily functions, such as mood, memory, sleep, appetite and inflammation. It is thought that the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids are due to their ability to mimic endocannabinoids and interact with the endocannabinoid system.

The most widely studied and abundant phytocannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). They are known to act upon receptors located throughout the endocannabinoid system. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis and is the reason cannabis is used recreationally. CBD on the other hand, is not psychoactive.

There has not been enough research yet to prove the benefits of medicinal cannabis. But it is showing promise for some people with chronic or terminal illnesses who don’t get relief from other medicines.

“As a leading company in the Medicinal Cannabis market Levin takes seriously its commitment to the community it serves. Accordingly the company is investing in research activities for the use of Medicinal Cannabis with sports people across the Australian community.”

YOU WANT TO BUY CBD OIL IN AUSTRALIA?

So you have done some research and you believe that CBD oil may help you or someone you know with a condition. The next step is to see your doctor and to ask them about buying CBD oil. CBD oil can be accessed with a doctor’s prescription through the Special Access Scheme or through an Authorised Prescriber. Any doctor can legally write a prescription through the Special Access Scheme.

Your doctor may not be comfortable prescribing a CBD oil product. This is understandable; medical cannabis was only made legal in 2016 and many doctors do not have the specialised knowledge and familiarity with medical cannabis required to confidently prescribe a medical cannabis product. There are a number of specialised medical clinics across Australia which offer medical cannabis prescribing. These clinics have doctors who specialise in a number of conditions for which medical cannabis may be a suitable treatment; these doctors are also familiar with the process to prescribe medical cannabis in Australia.

I HEARD THAT CBD OIL IS AVAILABLE OVER-THE-COUNTER IN AUSTRALIA

Technically yes. In February of 2021 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) down-scheduled low dose CBD containing products to Schedule 31. This means that Australians can purchase a TGA-approved CBD product over the counter at the local pharmacy. However, there are currently no TGA-approved CBD oils available and it will be some time before a CBD oil becomes available over-the-counter. Until then, Australian patients will still need a prescription from a doctor in order to access unregistered CBD oil products.

What’s taking so long?

Australia has a robust and well-proven registration system for therapeutic goods, administered by the Department of Health – TGA. This system is put in place to protect consumers and patients and it has a great track record; however, due to the diligence that needs to be applied in the review process, it takes a long time for new medicines to be approved and become available to patients.

In its decision to down-schedule low-dose CBD, the TGA indicated that the known adverse events of CBD at low doses were not serious. There is still ongoing research into the efficacy of CBD oil for treating a variety of indications and it may be some time before Australian patients can access CBD oil over-the-counter.

Medicinal Cannabis

What if I want to access CBD now?

CBD oil, as well as other medical cannabis products are available with a prescription through the Special Access Scheme (SAS-B) or through the Authorised Prescriber (AP) scheme. More than 2,500 doctors across Australia are prescribing medical cannabis.2

It sounds hard to get CBD Oil

Not at all. Accessing CBD oil is no more difficult than accessing any other medicine in Australia. The TGA has some excellent information for consumers who want to access CBD oil. Knowing the process to access safe and legal CBD oil can streamline the application process, ensuring you get the medicine you need when you need it. The process is becoming more and more streamlined every year, and every year thousands of Australians gain access to safe and legal CBD oil with their doctors working through the SAS-B program.

CAN’T I JUST GET CBD OIL OFF THE INTERNET?

There are a number of suppliers on the internet offering “CBD oil” to Australians without going through the SAS-B scheme or other approved access pathway. CBD, THC and other medical cannabinoids are restricted substances and cannot be legally sold in Australia other than through the legal access pathways. In order to avoid unknown and potentially unsafe products it is best to stick with CBD oil prescribed by a doctor via an approved access pathway.

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Icon 45000

45,000

patients being treated with cannabis-based medicines.3

Icon 97

97.3%

of people who use cannabis for medical reasons, don’t have access to safe, legal cannabis.4

Icon 55yo

55yo

women is the average patient prescribed medical cannabis.5

IS IT SAFE?

Like all prescription medicines, medicinal cannabis products can have side effects.
Patients using any medicinal cannabis products should seek their doctor’s advice before driving or operating machinery due to the risk of experiencing drowsiness. While drowsiness is not a known side effect of CBD alone, it may occur if the CBD interacts with other medications. Some medicinal cannabis products may also include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in which case there is a strict ban on driving and operating machinery.

Although CBD oil is unapproved, the TGA has established quality standards for medicinal cannabis products that companies who import, manufacture and supply medicinal cannabis products in Australia are required to meet.

There is a significant need for larger, high-quality studies to explore the potential benefits, limitations and safety issues associated with medicinal cannabis treatment across a range of health conditions and symptoms.

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HOW DOES CBD OIL WORK?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid derived from plants in the genus Cannabis. CBD works by interacting with the body’s Endocannabinoid System to produce a wide range of effects.

The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System is a series of receptors and signalling molecules that run all throughout the body. There are two main receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors, the CB1 receptor sits mainly along the central nervous system and may play a role in modulating anxiety, pain and other conditions that are affected by the central nervous system. The CB2 receptor affects the immune system as well as the peripheral nervous system and may play a role in modulating immune responses and inflammation. Like most systems in the body, there’s still quite a lot not yet understood. There are hundreds of phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants and hundreds of endocannabinoids found naturally in the human body. Research into these chemicals and structures is ongoing and there’s no telling what sorts of new medicines may be derived from the ongoing scientific process. Watch this space.

Endocannabinoid

Endocannabinoid simply means a cannabinoid compound that is found naturally in the human body, these are the chemicals that the body produces and they form the backbone of the endocannabinoid system.

Phytocannabinoid

Phytocannabinoid means any plant based cannabinoid compound; these are chemicals found naturally only in plants. There are over 400 phytocannabinoids currently known to science and their possible therapeutic effects are still being investigated.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is likely the best known of cannabis-based medicines; it interacts with both the CB1 and CB2 receptor, as well as a number of other mechanisms within the body. Currently, there is not enough research accepted by regulatory authorities to approve CBD for a number of indications. CBD is best known as the cannabinoid which has no psychoactive effect.

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is best known as the chemical in cannabis that gives the sensation of feeling “high”. THC interacts with the CB1 receptor in the brain and central nervous system.

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.tga.gov.au/sites/default/files/notice-final-decision-amend-or-not-amend-current-poisons-standard-cannabidiol.pdf
  2. https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/over-counter-cbd-oil-now-available-chronic-pain-sufferers-welcome-news/20c4c815-f5c8-4037-87dc-6dbe1c68da99
  3. https://freshleafanalytics.com.au/report-h1-2021/
  4. https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12954-020-00377-0.pdf
  5. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/australianfirst-push-to-allow-medicinal-cannabis-patients-to-drive-wins-parliament-support/news-story/bb69c9c583ffcaeabaf44118322b927c?btr=a54529b66b613cd4b7858a86b78ae3c5
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