The medical cannabis market can be broken down into two distinct groups;
- Cannabis consumers looking to exit the black market
- Those whose first experience will be at the behest of a doctor to treat a specific condition
Generally speaking, these two subgroups have distinctly different queries when enquiring about legal cannabis, however, there is one common question, “Can I legally get edibles in Australia?”
While this is a simple enough question, the answer is a little more complex, depending on the reasoning a patient would want an edible over a whole flower (aka buds) or vape. As always, let’s start with the “why”.
Regardless of one’s experience with cannabis, there are generally three factors that deem edibles more appealing for consumers:
Aversion to Inhalation
This is by far the number one reason patients have for wanting an edible rather than something that would be absorbed via the respiratory system. Whether it be via a vaporiser (doctors’ recommendation) or the plethora of traditional smoking apparatuses, there are an increasing number of consumers who would prefer to avoid the inhalation method in general. While there is no evidence to suggest cannabis is harmful to one’s lungs, there is still an understandable desire to avoid any pollutants, particularly for ex-smokers, asthmatics or cancer patients.
Particularly for those with serious conditions being traced, an exact measurement can be critical to the success of the plant-based treatment. As such, the ability to measure down to the millilitre and/or gram can assist a patient in understanding if they are taking the required dose and also how to incrementally increase titrate if and when needed. This is an obvious advantage over inhalation, given that the method of heat (smoulder vs burn) can vary so much, let alone looking at number of ‘hits’ taken, time between each and duration each inhalation is held.
Unfortunately, the broader society still harbours some less-than-favourable perceptions of cannabis consumers. While the tides are rapidly changing on this topic as numerous athletes, academics, doctors and politicians now advocate for the plant, many are still apprehensive about “smoking weed”, particularly those with children. With that in mind, oral consumption can be significantly more discrete and much quicker to execute.
Oral Consumption: Edibles vs Oils
With the above in mind, one also needs to look at the difference between the common forms of “oral consumption”; Edibles and Oils. Edibles are defined as food products that contain cannabis. Often these come in the form of brownies or gummies. The process of creating edibles generally includes an extraction from whole flower using a decarboxylation method, with the resulting product used as an ingredient in said edible. The resulting food is consumed with the effect generally taking hold within 45 minutes to two hours. Oils, on the other hand, are extracts from the cannabis plant that range for isolate, broad and full spectrum. These are generally consumed directly via a dropper, taken sublingually, where it is absorbed by the mucous membrane under the tongue, eventually making its way into the bloodstream. This is the most accurate way to administer the product and can be felt within 10 minutes to one hour.
So, What’s the Answer?
By the true definition, no, edibles are not medically or commercially available in Australia. While some patients have indicated they have made edibles from their oils or whole flower, this is in fact flouting the prescription rules.
With that said, if you are simply looking to avoid the inhalation method, command a tighter management of dosage or implement a more discrete delivery system, extracts and oil may be the best option for you. Whether your doctor has advised a CBD, balanced or THC dominant product, there is an oil available and often at a more cost-effective price than whole flower. Perhaps this is the best option, then just enjoy a regular brownie on the side.
For more information about your options, and a consumption method that’s correct for you, talk to one of our specilalised doctors at Canwell.