Australians Love Cannabis… What About CBD Oil?
As a plant, cannabis holds a remarkable grasp upon the cultural pulse of Australian life. Far and wide, across this continent, choof is beloved, remaining near and dear to the hearts of many. It is the chief recreational substance of choice… bar alcohol and tobacco.
The tradition is to just smoke the flower. With that being said, there are other options available to the cannabis consumer in the Australian black, grey and legal markets. These alternatives are, by international standards, still severely limited – especially when we’re talking about concentrates, oil-based tinctures, and other cannabis products that aren’t just plain old buds.
When you compare the sheer diversity and scale of the products available in parts of Europe – or certain states in the US – to that of Australia… it’s clear: when it comes to cannabis products, we’ve been very slow on the broader uptake. Our isolated island, oceans away from the intriguing developments on other continents, is lagging behind.
Sourcing High Quality Cannabis Products Down Under Can Be Difficult and Painful
Don’t fret if you’re struggling to find what you’re looking for, at first; as it stands, consumers are at a great disadvantage in our regional markets. This means that you may have to do some serious searching to get what you want – and you may have to discern for yourself the stuff that is straight-up unsafe or poor quality. If you don’t know the person who extracted it, you should be asking for some kind of certification on the background of the product.
The reality is that such barriers make entry into the CBD space very intimidating. For instance, most people will not take the time to scour the dark web for cannabis products… unless they have significant prior knowledge.
Rather, when most people are presented with only a couple of options in their locale, it’s quite sensible to just take what you can get – and depending upon your particular location and circumstances, certain options and treatments may not be easily accessible for you – or at all.
Assuming they are available, the limited entry of alternatives is still being relegated to the sidelines of the broader conversation surrounding cannabis. Though alternative methods and treatments are slowly catching on, the common saturation of these options has not yet reached a level of critical mass. The cultural awareness and common acceptance of the benefits of the whole plant, and the diverse varieties and forms in which it can be consumed, simply hasn’t emerged in many cases.
Here’s an idea: if you are privileged and can afford it, go take a trip overseas – head to one of these libertine paradises I’m talking about. Find yourself in the right crowd (or in the right store!) and you’re likely to be surrounded by energy drinks, gummy bears, alcohol, edibles, tinctures and more, often infused with Cannabidiol – more commonly known by the acronym CBD. So, what’s the deal with CBD – can this stuff get you high? If not, what does it do to you? What’s it all about?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is a chemical property of cannabis, possessing a wide variety of potential medicinal benefits.
It isn’t traditionally psychoactive, in the same sense as THC. Rather, CBD is an antagonist to the neurochemical functioning of THC. CBD radically impacts and modulates the Endocannabinoid System (ECS); a physiological system that is endogenous to humans, which operates on the basis of naturally occurring cannabinoids.
In turn, the ECS up/down regulates organic processes within the body, in an attempt to achieve homeostasis, or a sense of dynamic balance within the body.
Medicinal Properties of CBD
Practically speaking, CBD has been proven to work as an excellent anti-psychotic. It is also a second-to-none muscle-relaxant, and finds myriad uses as a salve for seizures, chronic pain, and other physical traumas. As CBD interfaces directly with the endocannabinoid system, it can assist with a broad spectrum of ailments.
CBD is widely recognised as the compound contributing primarily to the implicit medicinal benefits of cannabis; however, it has also been shown that CBD in isolation can be less effective in some cases than CBD in combination with other cannabinoids, terpenes and plant ingredients.
The question of whether a CBD isolate or a whole plant medicinal treatment makes most sense for you isn’t one that we can necessarily answer today. For all we know, smoking flower in a joint could be best suited to your own physiology and neurochemistry.
Trial and Error
Learning what works for you and what doesn’t is a personal discovery, best conducted under the guidance of medical professionals and experts of the field. With help from others who study this stuff for a living, you can gain understanding and learn to trust your own experience in these matters.
On a personal level, I’ve been using a whole plant CBD oil extracted using CO2 for the past few weeks, after talking to one of my friends. The tincture I’m using is infused with several naturally occurring terpenes – and so far, I’ve noticed less anxiety in my day to day life and an enhanced level of focus. We’ll see how it goes in the coming weeks and months – but so far, my experiences with CBD extracts have been very positive.
CBD Extraction Methods
There are several ways to extract CBD from the host cannabis plant. The most common are as follows:
- CO2 Extraction: The supercritical/subcritical CO methods use carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. This process requires expensive equipment and a steep operational learning curve. When done well, the end product is safe, potent, holistic, and free of excess chlorophyll.
- Ethanol: High-grade grain alcohol can be used to create high-quality cannabis oil, appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. However, this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favoured by some product-makers.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin or otherwise, olive oil can also be used to extract cannabis oil. This is one of the safest methods; you won’t blow yourself up making cannabis-infused olive oil. Still, keep in mind that olive oil infused with cannabis — whether CBD-rich or THC-dominant — is perishable, and should be stored in a cool, dark place.
Endotonix CBD Oil
If you’re anything like us here at the Friendly Aussie Buds HQ, you’re constantly looking all over for safe, high quality, whole-plant cannabis extracts. Which is why we were so pleased to stumble upon our new friends over at Endotonix, whose mission is to provide only the best oils for patients and consumers alike!
If searching all over the internet for high quality oils really isn’t your thing, Endotonix definitely have you covered with their pure, FDA-approved CBD extracts, which ship Australia-wide.
These products, brought to Australia by Endoca, are something we happily and openly endorse! Not only that – our friends over at Endotonix have been working closely with us to provide these oils to our loyal readers and viewers – at a sweet discount!
Simply go to the Endotonix website and use the CODE FABCBD at your checkout to get 10% off your order! 😀
Obtaining a Legal Cannabis Prescription
You may be eligible for a legally binding, doctor-approved medicinal cannabis prescription once all other treatment options have been exhausted. A medicinal cannabis prescription is one of the surefire ways to get your hands on medical grade CBD, if you live in the ‘lucky country’.
Not every person with a medical condition is eligible for medical cannabis. To get your prescription, you will need to both meet the requirements and find a willing and capable doctor. When choosing a medical professional, their consent and competence are both important factors – make sure to find someone who fits with you, as reapplying with the TGA is a serious hassle!
There are two types of cannabis doctors in Australia:
- GPs (General Practitioners), who prescribe cannabis for a range of conditions.
- APs (Authorised Prescribers), who prescribe cannabis for specific conditions.
GP’s often prescribe for a larger range of conditions. Most of the clinics have GPs as prescribers. AP’s tend to have practices, or work in clinics that focus on specialist areas, like chronic pain.
Any doctor can apply to prescribe cannabis. The real expertise of the cannabis clinic is usually in applying to the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration).
Australian Cannabis Clinics
- Cannabis Access Clinics
- Cannabis Doctors Australia
- Emerald Clinics
- Medical Cannabis Services
- Tetra Health
Cannabis clinics are mostly independent operations, run by doctors who specialise in assessing medical conditions and prescribing medical cannabis as a treatment for diagnosed conditions. In most cases, the clinics’ doctors hold a wealth knowledge about cannabis.
It’s not usually cannabis itself that is the clinic’s speciality. The doctors simply understand cannabis very well and know enough about the medicine to prescribe it. They also know how to safely treat patients with cannabis, once the application has been approved.
In many cases, a referral from your GP will help with the application process – however, some clinics don’t require one. Once you’ve been prescribed cannabis by a specific doctor or clinic, they become your prescribing doctor. You can only fill your scripts through them. If you switch doctors, you’ll have to pay again. Also, the new doctor will need to apply to the TGA.
General Practitioners (GP’s)
While GPs are able to prescribe medical cannabis, going to your GP rather than a cannabis clinic or AP can be a more difficult and drawn-out process. Cannabis is still highly taboo in Australia; whether it be for medical reasons, or adult-use purposes.
Many GP’s still don’t know much about medical cannabis. Their aversion to learning about cannabis is one of the biggest challenges we have with introducing medical cannabis as a treatment option in Australia. Doctors can leave patients feeling guilty about their inquiry. In some cases, after speaking with their doctor, patients have given up.
If you’re lucky enough to find that your GP is willing to submit an application for a cannabis prescription, you may learn very quickly that they haven’t done it before, or have done it very few times.
Doctors often feel overwhelmed by the TGA application process. The TGA process requires doctors to provide a medical history, research on your condition and cannabis, and a treatment plan. If a doctor lacks experience with the TGA or the process for applying for medicinal cannabis, it could mean a significant delay in the submission of your application.
There are also cases of applications not being fully completed by GP’s, which has meant the return of applications multiple times before they have been accepted or rejected. There are GP’s out there who are prescribing cannabis as a medicine and doing it very successfully; however, they are the exception and not the rule.
Authorised Prescribers (AP’s)
An Authorised Prescriber has authorisation to prescribe cannabis directly to patients for specific medical conditions.
To clarify, AP’s have applied to the TGA, and have been given the approval to prescribe cannabinoid medications to individuals who are under their immediate care. They are only approved to treat specific medical conditions.
For example, an AP who works in a pain management clinic might have applied to the TGA to prescribe a specific THC and CBD oil to individuals who are experiencing chronic pain. While they don’t need to put in Special Access Scheme (SAS) applications for each patient, they do need to apply again if they want to prescribe a different medication. Every six months, AP’s must also report how many patients they have prescribed medication.
AP’s are a good way to access medical cannabis. The problem is… there isn’t any list of the available AP’s, and they can often only prescribe for certain conditions.
If you’re able to find a GP or AP willing to treat you, we’d recommend you do your research and start there.