Understanding Medical Cannabis Formulations: A Guide for Patients

Doctors & Nurse Practitioners with patient

Medical cannabis is rapidly gaining popularity as an alternative form of treatment for various health conditions. While some may be familiar with the traditional methods of consuming cannabis, such as smoking or vaping, there are many other formulations available that can provide patients with the benefits of cannabis without the negative effects of smoking. In this guide, we’ll explore the different medical cannabis formulations available to patients and which one may be suitable based on your medical needs. 

1. Understanding Different Medical Cannabis Formulations

There are various forms of medical cannabis available to patients, including oils, wafers, capsules, dried flowers, resin cartridges and edibles. Each formulation has its own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s essential to understand the differences between them when choosing one. 

Wafers are usually taken sublingually (under the tongue) and can be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, making them ideal for patients who need fast-acting relief from symptoms. Oils, capsules and edibles take longer to take effect but have a longer-lasting effect. This makes these forms of administration ideal for a sustained effect over a certain period of time. 

2. Understanding Cannabis Ratios

Cannabis compounds can be formulated in different ratios to achieve different therapeutic effects. The two primary compounds in cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), have different effects on the body. 

Medicinal cannabis with extract oil in a bottle of Formula CBD

THC can produce psychoactive effects like euphoria, while CBD does not. 

Medical cannabis formulations typically contain a mixture of THC and CBD in different ratios to achieve different therapeutic effects. For example, a high THC formulation may be used to manage pain or nausea, while a high CBD formulation may be used to manage anxiety or seizure disorders.

3. Choosing the Right Medical Cannabis Formulation

Suitable medical cannabis formulations depend on your condition and what your health practitioner deems suitable to your needs. Consideration factors like the onset time, duration of effects, method of consumption, and dosage all may affect the selection of formulation by your health practitioner during their consultation. 

It’s essential to talk to a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable about medical cannabis before starting any treatment. Your doctor can help you determine which formulation and dosage is right for your specific health condition.

4. Effectiveness and Safety of Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis has been found to be effective in treating various health conditions, including chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, and sleep conditions. However, it’s essential to note that medical cannabis can produce side effects like dry mouth, dizziness, and impaired memory and concentration. 

Patients should always obtain medical cannabis from an authorised prescribing doctor and should avoid purchasing products from unregulated sources. Patients should also avoid driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of medical cannabis as this may be in violation of your state driving laws and put yourself and others at risk of injury if not under the proper guidance from a health professional. 

Speaking with your healthcare provider to discuss your condition is advised at all times to ensure that you’re prescribed safe and effective products. By taking these steps, patients can safely and effectively incorporate medical cannabis into their treatment regimen. 

For more information, visit the TGA – Medical Cannabis Hub


  1. Stella B, Baratta F, Della Pepa C, Arpicco S, Gastaldi D, Dosio F. Cannabinoid Formulations and Delivery Systems: Current and Future Options to Treat Pain. Drugs. 2021 Sep;81(13):1513-1557. doi: 10.1007/s40265-021-01579-x. Epub 2021 Sep 4. PMID: 34480749; PMCID: PMC8417625.
  2. Breijyeh Z, Jubeh B, Bufo SA, Karaman R, Scrano L. Cannabis: A Toxin-Producing Plant with Potential Therapeutic Uses. Toxins (Basel). 2021 Feb 5;13(2):117. doi: 10.3390/toxins13020117. PMID: 33562446; PMCID: PMC7915118.

Ready to learn more about medical cannabis?

We collaborate with health professionals to share current research, benefits, and the relevant side effects of medical cannabis.