Healthcare Professional Resource Support

Whether you’re new to including medicinal cannabis in your practice, or have been prescribing for years, we’re here to support you with clinical information, access to training, and links to the latest research initiatives.

Welcome to the Healthcare Professional Information and Resource Platform

We provide clinical information, patient information, access to training, and information about our products. We're here to support you whether you're new to medical cannabis or have been prescribing for years. Please note that medicinal cannabis products are not registered in Australia.

TGA Resources

For further information about medicinal cannabis in Australia, please refer to the TGA website here.

Access the TGA Guidance documentation, 'How to Access Medicinal Cannabis - TGA Guide for HCPs here.

Office of Drug Control - Approved Manufacturers and Suppliers of Medicinal Cannabis. Find out more information here.

Education for Healthcare Professionals

Spectrum Academy Learning Series 2020

Spectrum Academy presents a pair of educational webinars, including presentations from global experts and experienced clinicians, on the use of Cannabinoid-Based Medicine in the treatment of chronic pain.


Australian Webinar Series 2020 & 2021

During 2020 and 2021, Spectrum Therapeutics hosted an educational webinar series presented by experienced Australian prescribers. The webinar series covered a range of topics including pain management, mental health conditions, sleep, palliative care, gastrointestinal disorders, and the use of vaporisation as a treatment modality.


Canada CME Webinar Series 2022 & 2023

The Spectrum Therapeutics Medical Education team in Canada hosts an educational webinar series presented by experienced Canadian prescribers. The webinar series covers a range of topics including pain and cancer management, mental health conditions, and sleep.

To access recording links to the webinar series above, please contact your local Medical Science Liaison or Spectrum Therapeutics Medical Information on medinfo.au@canopygrowth.com or 1800 223 842.

    Introduction to Medicinal Cannabis

    The use of medicinal preparations of cannabis can be traced back over five thousand years, making it one of the oldest medicinal plants.

    Cannabis

    More than 500 natural compounds have been identified and isolated from Cannabis sativa. This includes the medicinally important cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other non-cannabinoid constituents. These compounds are produced in high concentration in the glandular trichomes, which are the hair-like, resin-secreting glands found on the surface of the female cannabis flower.

    Cannabinoids

    There are more than 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, which interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors:

    • Endocannabinoids – naturally produced in the body
    • Phytocannabinoids – found in many plants, but in highest concentrations in cannabis
    • Synthetic cannabinoids – includes pharmaceuticals that have the same chemical structure (e.g., dronabinol) or are analogues (e.g., nabilone) of cannabinoids.

    THC (delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the main active ingredients in cannabis. It is responsible for many of the pharmacological effects of cannabis, including the intoxicating effects.

    CBD (cannabidiol) is another of the major active compounds in cannabis, and is non-intoxicating.

    Watch How Cannabis Works

    How Cannabis works

    Activation of Cannabinoids

    Inactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) in the raw plant must be decarboxylated to the neutral phenols (THC and CBD) to interact with the endocannabinoid system. This occurs when dried cannabis flowers are heated. Many commercially available oils are already decarboxylated.

    Terpenes and flavonoids

    These are responsible for the variety of scents and flavours of different cannabis varieties. Terpenes may have direct physiological effects as well as interacting with cannabinoids to create the unique properties of individual cannabis varieties. This is known as the entourage effect, a theory that describes the potential interactions between major cannabinoids, minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant constituents.

    The Endocannabinoid System

    The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a ubiquitous lipid signaling system that plays an important role in the regulation of homeostasis throughout the human body. The ECS consists of endogenous receptors, ligands, and metabolic enzymes.

    It has been implicated in:

    • neural development
    • immune function
    • inflammation
    • appetite
    • metabolism and energy homeostasis
    • cardiovascular function
    • digestion
    • bone development and bone density
    • synaptic plasticity and learning
    • pain
    • reproduction
    • psychiatric disease
    • psychomotor behaviour
    • memory
    • wake/sleep cycles
    • the regulation of stress and emotional state

    Receptors

    The ECS consists of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, two endogenous agonists (or endocannabinoids), and endocannabinoid synthesising and degrading enzymes. CB1 receptors are found in highest concentration in the central and peripheral nervous system and in the gastrointestinal tract. CB2 receptors are found primarily in the immune system, including the tonsils, spleen, lymph nodes, and circulating lymphocytes and neutrophils.

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    While present throughout the CNS, the concentration of cannabinoid receptors is low in the brainstem, specifically the area responsible for cardiorespiratory drive.

    Activation of CB1 receptors

    This schematic of a neuronal junction shows the activation of CB1 receptors by endocannabinoids. This retrograde signalling regulates neurotransmission in a precise spatio-temporal manner.

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    Reference

    1. Endocannabinoids are produced in the postsynaptic terminal in response to cellular demands.
    2. These ligands travel through the synaptic cleft and bind to cannabinoid receptors (e.g., CB1) on the cell surface of the presynaptic terminal.
    3. Once stimulated, cannabinoid receptors activate a signaling cascade that suppresses the release of neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft (e.g., glutamate, GABA, dopamine, and cholecystokinin).
    4. Neurotransmitter suppression changes the frequency of postsynaptic neuronal firing.

    Methods of Administration

    Ingestion

    Ingesting medicinal cannabis oil from an oral dosing syringe or packaged in softgels ensures accurate dosing.


    Inhalation

    Vaporising

    Vaporising is a way to inhale the bioactive components of medicinal cannabis without burning the plant material. Cannabis is heated to a temperature that volatilises, without combusting, the cannabinoids and other plant constituents. Vaporising reduces the loss of cannabinoids, and is a more efficient way of extracting chemically active constituents.

    Smoking

    Smoking medicinal cannabis products is not recommended.

    Side Effects

    Like all other medicine, medicinal cannabis can also have side effects. The risk of dependence following prolonged use of medicinal cannabis has not been sufficiently studied, but the experience of drug research shows that cannabis is less addictive than comparable pain medication if misused (Anthony, JC et al. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 1997;2(3):244-268).

    Side effects from the use of medicinal cannabis include:

    • Dry mouth
    • Fatigue
    • Impaired motor skills
    • Dizziness
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Impaired short-term memory and information processing
    • Impaired attention
    • Increased appetite
    • Paranoia and anxiety (at high doses)

    Contact Us

    Still have questions?

    Email: medinfo.au@canopygrowth.com

    Medical Information Line: 1 800 223 842