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Dr Norman Swan

Current evidence base for medicinal cannabis in epilepsy and palliative care with Dr Norman Swan produced in association with Tonic Health Media

Can I drive while using medicinal cannabis?

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Travelling with Medicinal Cannabis

Australians love to travel both within and outside of Australia. Carrying medicinal cannabis can create feelings of uncertainty, given the lack of knowledge in the general community including those responsible for keeping us safe in airports, shipping terminals, bus and train stations.

Generally, there is no test for CBD products, however, THC products can be detected by sniffer dogs and drug tests at airports.

Planning ahead will reduce anxiety about carrying medicinal cannabis across borders and ensure you are following the laws of the country you are leaving and those of your destination.

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Understanding potential drug to drug interactions

Just about all chemical compounds, including prescription, over-the-counter and herbal formulations and some foods can potentially interact with each other. And cannabis-based products are no different.

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Who can carry medicinal cannabis?

A patient or their carer may receive, possess and administer a cannabis medicine which has been legally imported/manufactured and prescribed for the patient.

Cannabis medicines must be packaged and labelled as Schedule 8 drugs unless it is a Schedule 4 cannabidiol product.

Books and movies

We are always being asked which books to read to learn about medicinal cannabis.

We have pulled together some books and movies that you may find helpful. We will add to this list as we come across good resources.

Administration Routes

Pros and Cons of Medicinal Cannabis Edibles

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Vaping vs Smoking

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Administration Routes Comparison Table

Method

Inhalation

Ingestion

Sublingual

Topical

Forms

  • Vape
  • Smoke
  • Floss
  • Oil

  • Capsule
  • Oil
  • Juicing
  • Edibles

  • Drops
  • Spray
  • Lozenge
  • Wafer
  • Tincture
  • Oil

  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Salve

Absorption

Lungs

Stomach and/or small intestine

Thru oral mucosa into bloodstream

At external local application site

Bioavailability

  • THC ~ 5-35%
  • CBD ~ 31%
  • Almost immediate

THC/CBD ~4-20% ~2-6 hrs after Ingestion

Studies of bioavailability not available

Studies of bioavailability not available

Onset

Rapid

90 mins

15-60 mins

unknown

Peak

30 mins

2-3 hrs

1-2 hrs

unknown

Duration

1-4 hrs

6-8 hrs

1-4 hrs

unknown

Comments

Vaping is recommended over smoking

Absorption impacted by stomach contents, carrier medium, type of capsule – some capsules designed to increase bioavailability

Important to hold under the tongue rather than swallow to increase absorption directly into blood stream

Can be used on rashes. Does not penetrate the deeper layers of the aqueous skin efficiently. Does not cause any ‘high’ related to THC.

Inhalation

Forms

  • Vape
  • Smoke
  • Floss
  • Oil

Absorption

Lungs

Bioavailability

  • THC ~ 5-35%
  • CBD ~ 31%
  • Almost immediate

Onset

Rapid

Peak

Rapid

Onset

30 mins

Duration

1-4 hrs

Comments

Vaping is recommended over smoking

Ingestion

Forms

  • Capsule
  • Oil
  • Juicing
  • Edibles

Absorption

Stomach and/or small intestine

Bioavailability

THC/CBD ~4-20% ~2-6 hrs after Ingestion

Onset

90 mins

Peak

2-3 hrs

Duration

6-8 hrs

Comments

Absorption impacted by stomach contents, carrier medium, type of capsule – some capsules designed to increase bioavailability

Sublingual

Forms

  • Drops
  • Spray
  • Lozenge
  • Wafer
  • Tincture
  • Oil

Absorption

Thru oral mucosa into bloodstream

Bioavailability

Studies of bioavailability not available

Onset

15-60 mins

Peak

1-2 hrs

Duration

1-4 hrs

Comments

Important to hold under the tongue rather than swallow to increase absorption directly into blood stream

Topical

Forms

  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Salve

Absorption

At external local application site

Bioavailability

Studies of bioavailability not available

Onset

unknown

Peak

unknown

Duration

unknown

Comments

Can be used on rashes. Does not penetrate the deeper layers of the aqueous skin efficiently. Does not cause any ‘high’ related to THC.

Published Academic Articles

Cannabis for refractory epilepsy in children: A review focusing on CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder

Dale T, Downs J, Olson H, Bergin AM, Smith S, Leonard H

Epilepsy Research Feb 2019 (Abstract)

Medicinal Cannabis and Epilepsy

Cannabidiol in patients with Lennox‐Gastaut syndrome: Interim analysis of an open‐label extension study

Thiele E, Marsh E, Mazurkiewicz‐Beldzinska M, Halford JJ, Gunning B, Devinsky O, Checketts D, Roberts C

Epilepsia Mar 2019 (Article)

Medicinal Cannabis and Epilepsy Syndromes

Effects of cannabidiol on brain excitation and inhibition systems; a randomised placebo-controlled single dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder.

Pretzsch CM, Freyberg J, Voinescu B, Lythgoe D, Horder J, Mendez MA, Wichers R, Ajram L, Ivin G, Heasman M, Edden RAE, Williams S, Murphy DGM, Daly E, McAlonan GM

Neuropsychopharmacology Feb 2019 (Abstract)

Medicinal Cannabis Studies

Recorded Lectures and Interviews

Recorded lectures by eminent international researchers, physicians and advocates in the world of medicinal cannabis

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KNOWLEDGE

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