What are cannabinoids?

What are cannabinoids?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates essential things such as sleep, pain, mood and appetite. Endocannabinoids are molecules made by your body to help keep certain bodily functions running smoothly. 

To understand medical cannabis, we need to look at some of the more complex systems of the human body first. We all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies and it regulates essential things such as sleep, pain, mood and appetite. So when your doctor talks about your endocannabinoids, it’s good to know that they are molecules made by your body, to help keep certain bodily functions running smoothly.


Other cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant. And - you can hear it coming - these cannabinoids have the potential to interact with your own cannabinoids. That is when they can impact some of the functions in your body:

• Pain

• Inflammation

• Mood

• Brain function

• Metabolism

• Nerve function

• Cardiovascular system function


Medical cannabis treatment focuses on using cannabis with controlled levels of  cannabinoids. That is why it is so important to make sure you get a prescription through a qualified doctor, for legal and reliable cannabis that is recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration here in Australia (TGA). Some GPs will dismiss anything to do with cannabis. Some will warn you that it could be a scam, or a myth. Knowing that there is a wide range of publicly available scientific  documents supporting the evidence about the potential benefits of medical cannabis: What are the risks of using cannabis?

“If you use street products, there is no control over the substances that are in the product. Cannabis plants contain other types of cannabinoids and there is one type that has a different effect: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s known for its more psychoactive impact on the human body. ”  

- Monica Lacey, Qualified Nurse, Alternaleaf. Bachelors of Nursing from Monash University

We are a team of qualified GPs and nurses and we use our extensive experience in general practice to assess the new information about medical cannabis, and the introduction of TGA-approved medication in the Australian healthcare system.