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Cannabis Products and Delivery Methods

Medicinal Cannabis Products 

Flower

The flower is the ‘bud’ of the Cannabis plant and is utilized as a tea or by using a vaporizer. Medicinal Cannabis Flower is available with different terpene profiles providing a different outcome or experience for the user and is also commonly categorized by its’ THC content.

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Medicinal Cannabis Products 

Oils

Womens Health for Medicinal Cannabis

Full Spectrum: Full spectrum refers to a cannabis extract or product that contains a wide range of cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, and other beneficial compounds like terpenes and flavonoids. The combination of these compounds is believed to create an “entourage effect,” enhancing the product’s therapeutic potential.

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Broad Spectrum: Broad Spectrum medicinal cannabis products are CBD-based and void of any THC content, however, they still contain the terpenes, flavonoids and certain cannabinoids that are found within the cannabis plant.

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Isolate: A single or isolated chemical compound or substance, such as CBD, that has been removed or extracted from the cannabis plants to be used on its own, or as a component in the medication

Medicinal Cannabis Products 

Edibles

A term used to describe the use of CBD or THC in a ‘soft gel’ form, often referred to as “Gummies’ and made using gelatine, or chocolate.

‘Gummies’ are only available via a doctor’s prescription item under certain circumstances and are not an approved medicine recognised by the New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Agency (part of Ministry of Health).

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Medicinal Cannabis Delivery Methods

Methods of Delivery

Sublingual Application

Defined as cannabis extractions that are applied under the tongue and absorbed by the mucous membranes of the mouth. When left to absorb for 1-2 minutes, the cannabinoids are delivered directly to the bloodstream and begin to take effect within 15 minutes. Most patients reach peak intensity within 45 minutes with total effects lasting approximately 4-8 hours, sometimes longer. Sublingual consumption allows for very specific dosing, typically allowing patients to dose down to the milligram. Many patients find optimal relief by using sublingual preparations 2-3 times per day, adding inhalation methods as an adjunct therapy for breakthrough symptoms on an as-required basis. Confusing to patients, many cannabis products are labelled tincture when they are actually oral oil. Oils are not absorbed efficiently into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes and are better swallowed. Your pharmacist should be able to offer advice when differentiating the two.

Inhalation (Vaping)

Onset: Immediate, within 1-5 minutes Duration: variable |1 to 3 hours Historically, cannabis can be inhaled via smoking or vaporization. Due to a lack of education and restrictive costs, smoking is the most common method of consumption amongst non-medicinal users but, comes at a high risk of the consumption of toxic compounds such as benzene and carbon monoxide found in smoke. Vaporizing gradually heats the active ingredients called cannabinoids at the optimal temperature and converts them into a vapour which is then inhaled. Patients can expect to feel the medication within 1 to 5 minutes with any form of inhalation. This quick onset makes it easy to increase the dose as needed. Effects will last 1 to 3 hours depending on factors such as patient tolerance and the product/strain used. Vaporizing does not produce the same smell as smoke, allowing for quick, efficient, and discreet medicating. The quick onset of inhalation relieves patients from symptoms like chronic pain, nausea, and anxiety.

Consumed as tea

Consumed as tea: Onset: 30-90 minutes Duration: Very variable Medicinal Cannabis can be prepared as tea when steeped in boiling water. This tradition of preparation span back hundreds of years when the plant was first discovered for its reported benefits. When prepared as a tea the onset of relief or effect is historically slower than that if you were to smoke or vape the product. From a Medical perspective, this makes it very hard to create an accurate treatment plan as both the onset of effect and duration of effect is incredibly variable.

Topical Application

Topical treatments refer to cannabis products containing CBD or THC which are used on external body surfaces such as the skin. These products can take the form of creams, ointments or gels and are intended for use in localized areas for the reported treatment of arthritis, inflammation, pain, eczema, and psoriasis. Currently, no topical Cannabis products have been approved by the New Zealand Medicinal Cannabis Agency.