If you tuned into my previous blog I wrote about beginning the process of applying for medical cannabis and what that experience was like for me. In this blog I wanted to finish explaining what the process is like receiving my first medical cannabis script and leave a short review on each product that I have been approved for and what ways they have or have not helped me. As well as some important questions that many people need answers for around possession and driving with high THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabis products.
How long did it take to get my medical cannabis?
The same day that I had my in-clinic consultation, I received a phone call from the pharmacy that processes the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) applications that have been submitted for each product I was prescribed. Once again the pharmacist is very much on the patient’s side when it comes to making sure they receive exactly what they are seeking.
In my case the pharmacist said to me that the clinic nurse mentioned I had an interest in getting THC flower to smoke or vape but only if it was available to me and the condition I was prescribed for (pain relief). He suggested that I might as well add it to my application otherwise, I would have to return to the clinic to go through the consultation and application process again, and if it was approved I could buy it if needed.
From this point onward, my application for these items relies solely on the TGA processing time and approval process. This process usually takes around 48 hours.
My application was approved within 48 hours, and I was contacted by the pharmacy again to arrange payment for the collection or delivery of my prescription. One thing to note is that there is one main licensed distributor that is able to send these products (in QLD), so most pharmacies do not stock all available products, and they have to be expressed shipped either to the chemist you wish to collect your items from, or they can be securely shipped directly to you. I decided to collect mine and I was lucky enough to have these items already in stock at the pharmacy that contacted me. The process in total was 7 days from the initial consultation.
How do you carry a controlled substance and what are the risks?
Like other controlled substances, there is always the risk of theft and or prosecution if you don’t have the appropriate paperwork to prove that you are legally allowed to carry it. My nurse suggested I keep my prescription in a hard copy and on my phone in case I am stopped by police while in possession of my medical cannabis.
What about driving?
When consuming high THC cannabis, the road rules are plain and simple, if you have consumed THC don’t drive. Not only is there an impairment in your driving, but we have roadside drug testing for the presence of THC, and the risk is losing your license and heavy fines.
What if I tested positive but used my cannabis two days ago?
The downside to roadside drug testing is the inaccuracy! Yes, it’s true if you use high THC cannabis, you can test positive up to 72 hours after the initial use. I for one don’t agree with this system of testing as impairment is very different from the presence of THC, and really makes people in need very reluctant to try cannabis at the risk of losing their license and livelihood or even their job.
New research has been conducted by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at The University of Sydney on driving and cannabis, shows that there needs to be more refined testing for the difference between impairment and presence of cannabis when driving. We are hoping that the study can help drive change to the roadside drug testing protocols and maybe introduce tests on driver impairment under the influence of cannabis medications.
If you are pulled over and test positive, be honest and show the police your hard copy of your prescription to make sure you are dealt with as a patient and not a criminal. If you are pulled over while under the influence of THC medications chances are you were doing 10km under the speed limit (allegedly).
What prescriptions did I receive?
The first product that I wanted was a CBD oil, having tried black market products before with varying results I was curious if having a professionally made and measured dose would help me see real results, and find out what a high-quality CBD felt like. The product was BOD Australia’s Medicabilis 50mg CBD with 2% THC.
Overall the product is great, and it has been effective for me in regards to general soreness and also helping to calm my mood. My official reasoning for this prescription was anxiety associated with post-cancer trauma and mental stress for those interested.
Taste - The taste of this product is bitter but quite tolerable and even weirdly enough had hints of chocolate in it. I kept checking the package to make sure it wasn’t flavoured, but I concluded it was maybe just the natural terpenes of that particular strain.
Dosage - I started with a few drops under the tongue and slowly increased the dose daily over a week period, I found that my sweet spot for this oil was .75ml twice a day.
Effectiveness - This oil lasted for me around 3-4 hours depending on if I had eaten anything. Eating meals with CBD can enhance and prolong the effectiveness as it changes the way your liver enzymes process and break down the CBD in your system, It massively improved my general joint soreness and definitely kept me calm, in some instances maybe a little too calm and lethargic. I found myself yawning a lot and getting sleepy at my desk whilst using this oil.
Price - $289 for 50ml ($0.12 per mg) It lasted me about 2 months with almost daily use once or twice per day.
The next product was form Little Green Pharma. LGP Classic 20:5 THC/CBD oil, which was prescribed to me for pain relief partly associated with nerve damage from a biopsy in the treatment I had, but more specifically my chronic back pain from an old rugby injury that still plagues me.
This product is very good for pain relief and lasts for 6-8 hours, it is great for sleeping and relaxing in the evenings. The downside to this product is that it is an Indica strain meaning it is a bit of a downer and can make me quite tired and lethargic, and often I feel the after effects of it well I to the next morning when I wake up and can leave me feeling a little “hungover”.
Word of warning! Follow the dosage guidelines strictly offered by clinic nurses, as over-dosing an oral THC product can be very uncomfortable, meaning you will feel like you need to go to the hospital, but in reality, if you have a can of coke and wait it out you will be fine. CBD can also take the edge off the high if you have some available to you.
Taste - it has as light earthy and slight coconut taste form the cannabis and MCT oil, but it is very mild and tolerable.
Dosage - I started on a very small amount of .25ml daily for one week then upped the dosage by 0.5mls per week. THC varies for everyone I found that this oil was effective for my pain and sleep at around .45ml and if really wanted to forget my mother’s name around .75ml would take care of that. (I had CBD on hand if needed)
Effectiveness - This oil could often linger past 8 hours on higher doses and as I mentioned I would wake up the next morning pondering whether or not I was in a suitable mind frame to operate a car, so be cautious with a product like this if you are an early riser that has to commute on the road to work.
Price - $245 for 50ml ($0.20 per mg) This has lasted me 4 months so far, as I don’t use it every day!
The last product I added to my prescription was the THC Flower to smoke. I got the Cannatrek 15% Sativa Acadia THC flower, this was the add-on that for at the last minute, as I don’t like smoking very often. As the nurses suggested smoking is a more immediate relief of any pain symptoms or inability to sleep, rather than the estimated 60-90 mins for the oil to kick in.
To be honest, considering that I almost passed up getting this product it is now my favourite of the products prescribed to me, it is very light and smooth to smoke, it isn’t very strong, and it is a Sativa strain which is more uplifting in its experience rather than making me tired and lethargic whilst still assisting my mood and pain relief.
If you haven’t smoked or vaped before, I wouldn’t start now as it’s not necessary, but as I have experienced smoking cannabis before and wanted to see the quality of the legally and professionally grown medical cannabis, this is a game-changer for me and really shows a massive improvement in experience from any black market/ homegrown product.
Taste - I don’t like smoking, so not the best.. But saying this the flavour was quite natural and fruity and a lot less “charcoaled bush fire”!
Dosage - As the container suggests “one or more inhalations as needed”. I would smoke a small-sized joint every few days when required. It is hard to quantify what the correct dose is for each person, so as the container suggests, have a puff wait it out have more later if you need.
Effectiveness - This in my eyes is a relatively mild strain at 15% THC but is perfect for me and I quote enjoy the mild uplifting high that the Sativa Strain offers, and it would only last for around 2 hours. I found it very effective for relaxing my pain levels and keeping my mood elevated. If you are a heavy smoker I would suggest looking at the 20% THC strains, and if you are a curious first timer this is the perfect strain for you (Although it currently is the only legal one I have tried so far).
Price - $170 for 10g ($17 per gram or $0.11 per mg) This lasts me about 1.5 months. If smoking every other day.
My overall experience in obtaining my Medical cannabis through CDA clinics and the TGA was refreshingly easy and pain-free. There is a number of clinics and doctors around Australia offering this service and I can’t speak to them, so the selection of your clinic or doctor is at your own discretion, this is just my honest experience of the process that I followed. Now that I have been through the process, I would love to be able to to try variations in strength and brands available to see how my experience with this medicine varies. For anyone who hasn’t used cannabis before, there is little to fear. As long as you stick to dosage guidelines and are transparent about what is and isn’t working for you. Everyone differs in their tolerance of cannabinoids, which ones are effective for them, and at what dose. So trial and error is a major key in your experience with cannabis.
Part 1 of this Blog - https://hempfactory.com.au/blogs/news/applying-for-medical-cannabis-my-experience-explained
Cannabis Driving Study - https://www.sydney.edu.au/lambert/our-research/driving.html
Medicinal Product Reviews - https://cannareviewsau.co/
CDA Clinics - https://cdaclinics.com.au/
Find Clinics and Doctors - https://budherd.com.au/nearme/doctors/qld
THC vs CBD