Incidental observations have also revealed therapeutically useful effects. This occurred in a study of patients with Alzheimer's disease wherein the primary issue was an examination of the appetite-stimulating effects of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Not only appetite and body weight increased, but disturbed behaviour among the patients decreased. The discovery of decreased intra-ocular pressure with THC administration in the beginning of the 1970's was also serendipitous. Additional interesting indications that have not been scientifically investigated, but remain common problems in modern medicine may benefit from treatment with cannabis or cannabinoids. For this reason, surveys have been conducted questioning individuals that use cannabis therapeutically. They were conducted either as oral non-standardised interviews in the course of investigations of state or scientific institutions (House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology in the UK, Institute of Medicine in the USA) on the therapeutic potential of cannabis or as anonymous surveys using standardised questionnaires. In Australia, such information is garnered from the likes of the University of New South Wales, Australia (UNSW Australia) which is involved in cannabis related research in association with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). A survey involving 1,500 chronic pain sufferers showed there was a high rate of medicinal cannabis use in Australia. Australians suffering from chronic pain may get more relief from their symptoms using cannabis than they do from conventional medications, researchers found.
Meanwhile the Australian Medical Association (AMA) are not interested in anything but pharmaceutical cannabis which has limited applications. Quoted in the Australian mainstream media, "Medicinal cannabis should be subject to the same safety and efficacy tests as any other 'drug' before being made available on the Australian market", said the AMA. They also warned against the legalisation of the raw 'dope plant', or any oils and tinctures made from it and urged that only fully-tested cannabis-based medicines should be considered for use.
In a significant development for those who argue cannabis is effective in alleviating chronic pain and providing relief from symptoms including nausea and muscle spasms and should be legalised, the NSW government has secured the support of the Commonwealth and its state and territory counterparts to 'trial' the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. In March 2015 the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) reported that NSW was running three medical trials to allow children with severe epilepsy, adults with a terminal illness and people with nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy to use medical cannabis. The Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme (TICS) was launched with patients and carers allowed to 'register' with the government (NSW) as using medical cannabis but with no support whatsoever from the government; even when law enforcement arrested a 'carer' and confiscated the medicine/s (the scheme notates that law enforcement may use their discretion not to charge).
1. Medicating Options: Kief, Bubble Hash, Tincture, Edibles, Topicals
2. Medical Cannabis Uses: Vaporizing Safe Non-combustion Method of Delivery
A tincture is usually a solution of alcohol, and is a very common delivery method of many medicinal herbs in both Eastern and Western holistic medicine. The alcohol carries the cannabinoids across the skin barrier in the mouth and stomach so its effects are more similar to transdermals than edibles. Tinctures may be taken in drops placed under the tongue “sublingual” for an effect similar to inhaled cannabis. A few drops may be all that is needed for minor pain management or anxiety. Larger doses for chronic pain or illness can be used safely.
Edibles contain butter or oil that has been infused with cannabis. When cannabis resins are ingested, they are processed by the body in a very different way than smoking and the effect is much more intense and long lasting. This change occurs in digestion, so only food products that are digested before delivering the medicinal resins have these unique effects. Some people also believe that the kind of food that is used as a carrier can affect the way the medicinal effects are felt. Foods with spices tend to activate faster while food with nuts and syrups tend to take longer. Some people prefer to take oral capsules instead of eating foods because of dietary restrictions.
Topicals are preparations that deliver the medicinal resins into the bloodstream through the skin, such as massage oils and salves. They can have a localized effect but eventually deliver a full mind and body effect. The effects of transdermals are unique from either edibles or smoking because of the way the resins move directly into the blood stream unchanged and the duration intensity can be easily affected by body type and blood-nutrient levels.
Vaporizing the flowers or shake from cannabis is very different from smoking. Many people are using vaporizers to avoid any possible harmful effects of smoking. It is not technically an alternative form of cannabis but rather an alternative method of use. The effects of vaporizing are much more intense and immediately effective than smoking and are similar to the effects of smoking pure kief. The theory is that by vaporizing the resins without burning the plant matter, you will experience a cleaner, purer medicinal effect. It is essentially like taking the cigarette out of the joint. Though vaporizers can be very expensive, most patients who begin vaporizing refuse to go back to smoking.