What’s your experiences with medical marijuana?

Just a quick hello and welcome! I have no experience with medicinal marijuana. I do know a few people who have had great success in managing some mental health challenges they were facing. If you search using the magnifying glass in the top right there are a few threads that may be of interest. Take Care, John.

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Hey McLuke
Welcome to Ben’s Friends. There’s lots of good people with first hand ‘lived experiences’ around here.
I’m Merl, a member of the Modsupport Team here on Ben’s Friends
I see you’re in Victoria, I’m in SA, north of Adelaide and I’m an approved medical cannabis patient. I’m also a neuro patient.

My experiences:
Obtaining approvals here in Australia is expensive. Firstly, there’s the GP’s approval. Some GP’s will bill Medicare for the approval appointment, some GP’s consider it a ‘private’ appointment, charging the patient, not Medicare. Then there’s the ODC (Office of Drug Control) approval and then the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approval. I have been a medical user for a few years now, but when I was approved it cost around $800 and that’s before buying the medication itself. Like I say this was a few years ago and the fees may have changed. I recommend you investigate the costs, including follow up appointment fees.

Now, my experiences with the medication.
Does it help with pain? Yes. Some people report a painkiller effect. That is not my experience. In it’s bad stages, I find my pain can be front and centre of every thought. Cannabis allows me to think outside of the pain. To function, well, somewhat anyway. My pain is still there just not so ‘front and centre’. It has assisted me in reducing my use of opiates. I say ‘reduce’ not eliminate my use. For me, the reduction has been a huge plus in itself, but at times, the opiates are still needed.

My appetite has plummeted. When my pain level is up, food or the thought of eating is often the very last thing I’m thinking of and my appetite is next to nil. Cannabis stimulates my appetite and I have to eat. This has been a big plus for me.

OK, so the negatives. First, a bit of the plant (cannabis) biology. Often we hear about 2 main cannabinoids in cannabis CBD and THC, but there are many differing cannabinoids within the flower. It is the mix of differing cannabinoids which gives the overall effect and not solely the THC/CBD content. Every plant has a variation of these substances both in their quality and potency.

“…so the negatives…” because of these variations in the plant, the way it is consumed and the individual consuming it, what may work wonders for one individual may be of minimal benefit to another. The BIG ‘negative’ here is that for ‘some’ people the paranoia from consuming cannabis can all become overwhelming and from some reports trigger psych issues for some. For those with pre-existing psych issues, some dr’s simply won’t prescribe cannabis, for the fear of triggering an episode.

Another negative for us here in Oz is cost. It is not on PBS, so it is not cheap, on average $200/10g on prescription + the approvals + the Cannabis Dr’s fee, it all adds up. My GP almost swallowed his own tongue when I asked “Ohh, ohh, cough I know nothing about it… …I wouldn’t know where to start…”. So, I investigated, got the information and then got the GP to write the referral to my chosen Cannabis clinic. It was all rather a convoluted process. Now, as I say, this was a few years ago and the whole referral system may have changed, so I’d strongly suggest you do some THOROUGH investigation.

By no means am I recommending cannabis. It’s a drug and just like with other drugs it must be discussed with your treating medical team. You maybe on other medications or treatments where adding a differing medication could be risky or dangerous. This needs to be discussed with the professionals, your Dr’s. If you do decide to take this path, I would recommend a slowly, slowly approach. Often canna dr’s like to start off with a digestible oil. As the oil takes time to be processed by the liver, it’s more like a slow release effect. Whereas vaping (or vapourising) flower is instant acting. Each can have their own benefits depending on the individual. So to be saying ‘Vaping strain ‘X’ gives the best effect…’ is impossible. We are all individual and so can be the effects.

Hope it helps
Merl from the Modsupport Team

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