What is Medicinal Cannabis?
The Cannabis plant originated in central Asia and across the Indian subcontinent, it has now spread worldwide. The scientific name is Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. There are estimated to be over 70 cannabinoids in the plant, of which the two best known are cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The term ‘cannabinoids’ refer to products derived from the cannabis plant, those produced by humans endogenously and synthetic analogues that act on the same human receptors.
Cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant are often termed ‘phytocannabinoids’. The primary targets of these compounds are the body’s endocannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the nervous system particularly in the brain, whilst CB2 receptors are mainly found in the immune system. The human body produces its own cannabinoids called ‘endocannabinoids’ which are neuromodulators. Anandamine is an endocannabinoid produced naturally in the brain and is involved in regulating mood, appetite, memory, emotions, cognition and pain.
Cannabinoid based pharmaceutical products are defined as being derived from the Cannabis plant, of known quality, efficacy and purity with the purpose of curing or alleviating symptoms of a disease, ailment or injury.
To date cannabinoid therapy has been most effective in alleviating symptoms and conditions associated with cancer treatment (appetite stimulation and pain relief), HIV/AIDS wasting, MS muscle spasticity and some forms of epilepsy in some patients. Preliminary research has shown promise in alleviating symptoms associated with conditions such as chronic pain, neuropathic pain, Alzheimers, inflammation, depression and Tourette syndrome.
There are Medicinal Cannabis programs established in a number of other countries including The Netherlands, Israel, United States and Canada. The majority of these programs permit the use of Cannabis by smoking and have systems in place for direct sales to patients. The regulatory system in Australia does not allow for smoking of raw flowers and in most cases patients will need to be assessed by at least one specialist physician to allow access.
Whilst most research has focused on CBD and THC, Cyrelian aims to address knowledge gaps concerning the potential of other cannabinoids. Particularly non-psychoactive cannabinoids and their interaction with other compounds for example terpenes for new indications and treatment options.