Are you interested in using medicinal cannabis, but you’re not sure if it’s compatible with your lifestyle?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Medicinal cannabis has been around since the beginning of recorded history, and yet it’s still widely misunderstood.
The decades of cannabis prohibition and the relentless misinformation used to justify it has a lot to answer for.
But, at the end of the day, cannabis is a wonderfully complex plant that doesn’t fit neatly into a box.
So it’s only natural that you have questions about it.
In this article, we seek to answer five of the most common questions that people have about medical cannabis as simply and as openly as possible.
The fact that you’re here seeking answers yourself is a great sign.
Together, we can overcome the stigma that’s associated with this incredible natural medicine.
1. Will medicinal cannabis get me high or “stoned”?
Short answer: Maybe.
But there are many cannabis-based medicines that don’t produce a “high” feeling at all.
Medicinal cannabis is a catch-all term for products that range from “whole cannabis”, which contains all of the plant’s compounds, to blends that contain just one major compound (like CBD oil), and almost everything in between.
So, the longer answer to the question is: It depends on which medicinal cannabis product you take.
The cannabinoid THC gets most of the credit for the “high” feeling.
However, there are other cannabinoids that may produce or contribute to the “high” cannabis is known for.
Therefore, if you’re using high dose THC or whole cannabis products, it’s possible that you’ll feel drowsy, dizzy, or impaired.
On the other hand, CBD products won’t make you feel high, which is probably why they’re more accessible.
CBD can also help to moderate the effects of THC, so products containing equal amounts of both compounds may produce a more balanced experience.
There are also many different ways to consume medicinal cannabis, which can affect the way they make you feel.
THC-based products that are consumed orally, such as tinctures, capsules, sprays, and oils, are more likely to produce a “high” feeling.
Whereas a balm or cream that’s applied topically is unlikely to have any psychoactive effects.
As you can see, it’s not a simple “yes or no” question.
But there are plenty of ways to get the health benefits of medicinal cannabis without getting “high”.
2. So does that mean CBD is good and THC is bad?
No, definitely not.
CBD and THC have been found to have valuable therapeutic effects, both together and on their own.
For example, THC seems to be particularly useful for pain relief, appetite stimulation, and as a sedative for people who have trouble sleeping.
While CBD has been found to help with inflammation, anxiety, pain, and many other conditions and symptoms.
To say one compound in the cannabis plant is bad and another is good is like saying the vitamin C in an apple is good, but the potassium is bad.
The better question to ask is: Which medicinal cannabis blend is best for you?
THC is not suitable for every person, condition or symptom and neither is CBD.
This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor and make an informed decision about using medicinal cannabis that takes your personal and health history into account.
3. Can I drive, go to work, or take care of my kids when using medicinal cannabis?
In most cases, medicinal cannabis can be compatible with everyday life and responsibilities.
But as with any prescription medication, it’s important to do your research and talk with your doctor about potential side effects.
If you’re using a medical cannabis product that contains THC, you shouldn’t drive.
THC can make you feel drowsy, dizzy, and impair your judgement.
The same goes for a wide range of common prescription medications.
The effects of THC can last for several hours, so it’s helpful to plan your day around when you take your medicine.
Whenever you’re prescribed a medication, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor if you’re able to drive when taking it.
If you’re using a CBD product (or THC applied topically), you should be fine to drive.
Again, you should be able to work if you’re using a CBD product – it may even help you perform better.
However, high dose THC may impair your ability to work, particularly if it requires you to drive or operate machinery.
Taking care of children
This is a personal decision and what works for one person, may not work for another.
On one hand, high dose THC may impair your ability to pay attention, make decisions, and react to emergencies.
No one’s going to suggest that being high or stoned while taking care of children is a good idea.
And if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should be especially cautious about the medications you’re taking.
But it’s up to you and your doctor to understand how medical cannabis affects you, and which blend (and how much) is suitable for you and your situation.
Taking CBD while parenting should be fine for most people.
If you’re struggling with this question, it may help to think of medicinal cannabis as you would any other prescription drug.
Very few people would think twice about using a strong painkiller or antidepressant while parenting, but they can also make people feel drowsy, dizzy, and can even cause blurred vision.
The stigma around cannabis and its recent resurgence as a medicine means it’s still treated differently to most other pharmaceutical drugs.
Take the time to have an honest conversation with your doctor about parenting and medicinal cannabis and, together, you can make an evidence-based decision.
4. What’s the difference between medicinal cannabis and illicit cannabis?
The main benefit of medicinal cannabis is you always know what you’re getting.
Medicinal cannabis is cultivated and processed by licensed companies and products are required to meet high quality standards, set by the Ministry of Health, which are similar to all pharmaceutical medications.
You and your doctor will know the cannabinoid profile (how much CBD and THC and other therapeutic compounds) of each medicine.
As medicinal cannabis develops, you’ll be able to access blends that are specially formulated for specific health conditions and symptoms.
Medicinal cannabis is currently only available with a prescription from a doctor.
Accessing and using cannabis without a prescription is still illegal in New Zealand and Australia.
With illicit cannabis, you don’t have the benefit of knowing the cannabinoid profile or potency of the product.
This makes it difficult to know if it’s suitable for your health condition or symptom.
While the cannabis plant can have therapeutic effects regardless of where it comes from, there are many more risks associated with illicit cannabis.
How can I get medicinal cannabis?
You can get a prescription for medicinal cannabis from your doctor.
CBD can be prescribed for any health condition as it’s not considered a “controlled drug” in New Zealand.
Medicines containing THC are currently harder to access.
However, as more products are approved under the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, patients and doctors will have more options to choose from.
Demystifying medicinal cannabis
When it comes to your health and wellbeing, there’s no such thing as a bad question.
The journey to better health is always full of new information and fresh discoveries.
The rising popularity and promise of medicinal cannabis has also led to a lot of misinformation and confusion.
It’s important to do your own research and seek your own answers so that you can make informed decisions about your healthcare.
If there are any burning questions you have about medical cannabis, please feel free to contact us and we’ll do our best to answer them in a future article.