Medicinal Cannabis – Psychopharmacology and Clinical Application

Posted on:October 12, 2021
Last Updated: November 25, 2023
Time to read: 15–18 minutes

In Australia, the legislation for the cultivation and manufacturing of medicinal cannabis came into effect on the 30th of October 2016. Medicinal cannabis products cover many different preparations intended for therapeutic use, which the Australian government regulates through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Special Access Scheme (SAS).

There are three species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.


Cannabis contains approximately 500 molecules, across 18 chemical classes, including approximately 100 plant-derived cannabis compounds (phytocannabinoids), terpenes, and flavonoids. The best-characterized phytocannabinoids are ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). [Elsohly and Slade, 2005]

The principal cannabinoid is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and is widely known for its psychoactive effects. Cannabis plants high in Δ9-THC are called marijuana, whereas cannabis plants with high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and little to no Δ9-THC are known as hemp. CBD has less potent psychotropic effects.

Other cannabinoids include ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other less-studied cannabinoids, including cannabinol (CBN) and ∆8 tetrahydrocannabivarin.