The latest data from the Special Access Scheme (SAS) Category B reveals some interesting trends in the Australian medicinal cannabis market. More women are opting for flower products, while anxiety is becoming a more common indication for cannabis prescriptions. These shifts reflect the changing preferences and needs of patients, as well as the availability and affordability of different cannabis products.
Flower power: why women prefer buds over oils
According to the SAS data, flower products accounted for 41% of all medicinal cannabis approvals in 2023, up from 37% in 2022. This increase was driven by a higher demand from female patients, who made up 56% of all flower approvals in 2023, compared to 51% in 2022.
One of the reasons why women are choosing flower over oil is the lower cost and faster onset of effects. Flower products are generally cheaper than oil products, which require more processing and testing. Flower products also have a shorter time to peak effect, which means patients can feel the relief sooner and adjust their dosage accordingly.
Another factor that may influence women’s preference for flower is the availability of different strains and delivery methods. Flower products offer more variety in terms of cannabinoid and terpene profiles, which can affect the taste, smell, and effects of cannabis. Flower products can also be consumed in different ways, such as vaporizing, smoking, or making edibles, which can suit different lifestyles and preferences.
Anxiety on the rise: how cannabis helps patients cope with stress and worry
The SAS data also shows that anxiety was the second most common indication for medicinal cannabis prescriptions in 2023, accounting for 31% of all approvals, up from 28% in 2022. This trend reflects the increasing prevalence and awareness of anxiety disorders in Australia, as well as the evidence and anecdotal reports of cannabis’ efficacy in alleviating anxiety symptoms.
Anxiety is a complex and multifaceted condition that can affect people’s mental, physical, and social well-being. Anxiety can cause feelings of nervousness, fear, worry, and panic, as well as physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweating, trembling, and nausea. Anxiety can also interfere with daily activities, such as work, school, or social interactions.
Cannabis can help patients with anxiety by modulating the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating mood, stress, and emotion. Cannabis can also interact with other neurotransmitter systems, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are implicated in anxiety disorders. Cannabis can provide patients with anxiety with a sense of calmness, relaxation, and relief, as well as improve their sleep quality and appetite.
The future of medicinal cannabis in Australia: challenges and opportunities
The SAS data reveals the dynamic and evolving nature of the medicinal cannabis market in Australia. As more patients seek access to cannabis for various medical conditions, the demand and supply of different products will also change. This poses some challenges and opportunities for the industry, regulators, and health professionals.
One of the challenges is ensuring the quality, safety, and consistency of medicinal cannabis products. As the market grows, there will be more producers, distributors, and retailers of cannabis products, which may increase the risk of contamination, adulteration, or mislabeling. There will also be more variability in the potency, purity, and composition of cannabis products, which may affect the efficacy and safety of cannabis therapy. Therefore, there is a need for more rigorous testing, standardization, and regulation of medicinal cannabis products, as well as more education and training for health professionals and patients.
One of the opportunities is expanding the research and innovation of medicinal cannabis products. As more patients use cannabis for different indications, there will be more data and feedback on the outcomes and effects of cannabis therapy. This can inform and inspire more clinical trials and studies on the efficacy, safety, and mechanisms of action of cannabis for various medical conditions. This can also lead to the development and improvement of new and existing cannabis products, such as novel formulations, delivery methods, and strains.