Many people in Australia don’t know the difference between recreational cannabis and medical cannabis. Where medical cannabis is a heavily regulated product used for medicinal purposes, recreational cannabis is not. It is illegal (except in the Australian capital territory), unregulated and lacks quality assurance. This presents potential dangers for anyone using these products. To be legally compliant and to avoid products with any unwanted contaminants, make sure you use medical cannabis through the correct guidelines. Medical cannabis is tested for quality, consistency and safety. Additionally, a doctor will be guiding you through the dosing process.

What is recreational cannabis?

Recreational cannabis refers to cannabis which is grown, produced, distributed and ingested without regulation or medical guidance. Also known as black market or street cannabis, these cannabis products are illegal in most places throughout Australia, including CBD oil bought online without a prescription. Recreational cannabis is typically utilised for its intoxicating effects. As a result, it tends to have a high amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Is recreational cannabis legal in Australia?

Recreational cannabis is illegal in Australia except for in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). In the ACT, an individual may possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis and 150 grams of fresh cannabis. Additionally, they may have up to two cannabis plants per person and up to four for the entire household. They are free to use this cannabis recreationally within their home but not for commercial sale.

Why is recreational cannabis dangerous?

Recreational cannabis is dangerous primarily because there is no oversight surroundings its growth and processing. When you buy a recreational cannabis product, you have no guarantees about its exact contents. It has the potential to be laced with other substances or toxic chemicals that could be very harmful when ingested or inhaled.

The lack of knowledge about recreational cannabis content also extends to phytocompounds. These are the chemical compounds like THC and CBD that come from the cannabis plant, and are present within medical cannabis as well. However, the exact phytocompounds and their concentrations are not clear. If a recreational cannabis contains a high amount of THC, it has the potential to cause negative psychoactive effects for the user. These could be particularly harmful for certain individuals, especially those sensitive to THC.

Even without causing direct harm to an individual, not knowing the chemical makeup of recreational cannabis can affect people in other ways. If a product contains THC, then it will stay in someone’s body for a certain length of time. This becomes a problem if the individual has to do activities with a zero tolerance policy for THC. Driving is a common example, as most Australian State legislation advise that no driver may have any level of THC in their system, even if not impaired. The same rules apply to anybody operating heavy machinery. And, THC is also listed as a banned substance in many workplaces. This means if you test positive for it in a drug test, you could be out of a job.

Your medical history is another important part of this equation. Depending on genetic factors and your prior experiences, cannabis could present certain dangers. When using recreational cannabis, you run a risk of causing yourself harm due to the lack of knowledge about its contents.

How is medical cannabis manufactured?

Medical cannabis is manufactured under strict lab conditions. Every step of the process is recorded, audited and scrutinised. The exact content of cannabinoids used as active ingredients must be made clear and accurately labelled. Manufacturers use the same methodology when preparing cannabis medications to ensure consistent results. These processes must align with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines for a product to be distributed in Australia. The phytocompound makeup and concentrations of the medical cannabis products are measured at various points in the process to make sure they are in line with the existing standards. This is a result of The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) guidelines that ensure the contents of a medical cannabis product are consistent with its labelling.

What makes medical cannabis a better option?

The consumption of recreational cannabis is prohibited and carries higher risks, mainly because of the regulations imposed on medical cannabis. With medical cannabis being heavily regulated in Australia, patients can expect consistent products with the same contents every time. The Therapeutic Goods Order No. 93 (TGO 93) outlines a range of standards for medical cannabis products. All medical cannabis products that are sold in Australia must comply with the TGO 93 before they can be sold. This means they undergo constant testing for quality. Another big reason why medical cannabis is safer is because your treatment is being guided by a medical professional. They can determine whether cannabis is suitable for you based on your medical history. Then they can find an adequate medical cannabis product to provide help with your specific health concern. Through the process, they are able to help you work out dosing and answer any questions and concerns you might have. This is very different from products with no regulation, guidance or guarantee.

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