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The Library of Natural Medicine

Sativa vs Indica vs Hybrid Cannabis: What to Expect

Exploring different ‘strains’ of medicinal cannabis and the way we classify cannabis today.

Author

medically reviewed by

Published

February 27, 2023

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Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia.

It is common for cannabis products and treatments in the prescription and non-prescription market (which is currently illegal in Australia) to be broken up into three distinct groups: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Many patients and consumers still use these classifications to predict the effects their cannabis will have, but how accurate are they?

In this article, we’ll explore these three different strain types and the new ways patients, consumers and those in the medicinal cannabis industry are classifying their cannabis.

The History of Indica and Sativa

Cannabis is believed to have originated in Central Asia and to have migrated to almost every continent across all reaches of the planet, adapting to various climates in the process. These adaptations coupled with the selective breeding of cannabis by cultivators led to variations in cannabis that became known as landrace strains, which are each named after their region of origin.

Many of these landrace strains were collected from their native habitats and brought to the Western world, where they were crossbred with one another in horticultural attempts to explore the plant’s potential. This process of hybridisation has given rise to the thousands of named cannabis varieties consumed across the world today.

You may have heard the terms ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ as well as ‘hybrid’ in discussions around cannabis strains. Indicas and sativas came from the original landrace strains mentioned above and are known for their distinctive effects on the user. 

In 1753, the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (known as the ‘father of modern taxonomy’) published Species Plantarum, a book listing every species of plant known at the time, classified into genera. Linnaeus classified all cannabis plants under one group, ‘Cannabis sativa L.,’ with ‘Cannabis’ as the genus, ‘sativa’ as the species, and ‘L.’ indicating Linnaeus’ system. ‘Sativa’ comes from the Latin ‘sativum,’ meaning ‘cultivated.’1 

Later, in 1785, French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck became the first person to classify the differences between two distinct species of the plant: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. Lamarck’s classifications were based on the physical characteristics of the different plants, and his own experience when testing them. ‘Cannabis sativa’ was found to be a taller, slimmer, and more fibrous plant, while ‘Cannabis indica,’ was found to be shorter, wider, and possessing greater psychoactive properties. The name Indica means ‘from India,’ which is where the plant was thought to originate. 

Today, these definitions have endured. These are the three main types of 'strains' of cannabis you may have encountered:

  • Indica
  • Sativa
  • Hybrid (a cross between both sativa and indica strains)

We’ll explore each of these strains below.

What Is Indica?  

Typically known for their relaxing properties, Indica strains originally grew in cold, northern climates. They grew shorter and stockier because of these environments, with a shorter life cycle that allowed them to be harvested before the colder weather hit.  

Indica Origin 

Cannabis indica is native to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. 

Plant Properties

Indica plants are shorter and stockier than sativa plants with bushy greenery and broad, dark green leaves. Indicas grow faster than sativa plants, and also produce more flowers (buds).

Cannabinoid Balance

Indica strains tend to have higher levels of CBD than sativa strains, but the THC content isn’t always less.

Most Commonly Associated Effects

Based on anecdotal feedback, Indica strains tend to be associated with a relaxing, sedating effect, which may assist with anxiety symptoms and sleep issues.

What Is Sativa?

Known for their uplifting, stimulating effects, Sativa strains are found primarily in hot, dry climates.

Sativa Origin

Sativa strains are indigenous to warmer parts of the world, such as Eastern Asia and Central and South America.

Plant Properties

Sativa plants are taller and slimmer than indicas, with thin, light green leaves. As they can exceed 3m in height, Cannabis sativa plants typically take much longer to mature than indicas.

Cannabinoid Balance

Sativa strains tend to have a lower ratio of CBD to THC than Indicas.

Most Commonly Associated Effects

Based on anecdotal feedback, cannabis sativa is known for its stimulating effects. It is often said to produce a 'mind high' that may increase creativity and focus and reduce anxiety.

How to Recognise Differences Between Indica and Sativa

Nowadays, instead of indica and sativa strains, most cannabis strains are hybrid strains, a combination of both (we'll unpack this more below). Therefore it doesn't really make sense to compare indica vs sativa when it comes to therapeutic effects. Where the two different cannabis strains do differ distinctly is in appearance.

  • Sativa plant – skinny, light green leaves on a tall, slim plant
  • Indica plant – short, bushy plants with broad, dark green leaves

What Is Hybrid Cannabis?

Cannabis growers are constantly producing new and unique strains from different combinations of indica- and sativa-descended parent plants, and these are known as hybrid cannabis strains. Often grown to target specific medical use cases, hybrid cannabis plants can deliver a wide range of varying effects. Hybrids are typically grown on farms or in greenhouses from a combination of sativa and indica strains, each with unique ratios of THC to CBD.

Due to the long history of cross breeding cannabis, research suggests that strains with pure indica or pure sativa strains are rare today.2 This means that most 'Indica strains' and 'Sativa strains' are actually hybrid strains, with genetics inherited from both types.

What Are the Main Effects of Hybrids?

Hybrids are typically classified as indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, or balanced. This means that the effects of a hybrid strain will depend on whether it has more indica or sativa in its lineage, and (more importantly) its cannabinoid and terpene content. Hybrids are typically grown to elicit specific medicinal and other effects, such as reducing anxiety and depression, delivering pain relief, and more.

Changes to How We Describe Strains

Today, research suggests that years of crossbreeding has likely hybridised sativa and indica strains to the point that most of the cannabis consumed today is a combination of the two species’ lineages.

But if sativa, indica and hybrid strain classifications don't matter as much anymore, what does?

Many in the industry now prefer to classify cannabis as fitting more or less within these categories, defined by the level of major cannabinoids CBD and THC, also known as chemotypes:

  • Type I: High THC (more than 0.3% THC and less than 0.5% CBD)
  • Type II: THC/CBD (high contents of both CBD and THC)
  • Type III: High CBD (less than 0.3% THC)

But even more importantly – we are increasingly seeing the value that terpenes, minor cannabinoids (such as CBG and CBN), flavonoids and other compounds have in the therapeutic potential of cannabis strains.

Early research tells us that a whole plant approach to cannabinoid therapies which takes full advantage of the cannabinoid content (beyond THC and CBD) and terpene profile of the cannabis plant may be the most effective way to meet its healing potential.3,4

Cannabinoid Makeup 

  • Research has found that the cannabis plant produces between 80 and 100 cannabinoids and about 300 non-cannabinoid chemicals.5
  • Cannabinoids are naturally occurring components responsible for producing many of the effects of cannabis by interacting with our endocannabinoid systems.
  • Knowing which cannabinoids and ratios of cannabinoids like THC and CBD (and many more) are present in your cannabis treatments is one of the best ways to predict the effects it will have on you and your symptoms.
  • Learn more about some of the different types of cannabinoids and what they do here.

Terpenes 

  • Terpenes are the organic, aromatic compounds found in plants in the form of oils. Essentially, they are what gives a plant its unique flavour and aroma. 
  • Terpenes are responsible for the aromatic diversity of the wide range of strains and cultivars available.
  • Beyond just influencing the cannabis plant’s unique taste and smell, terpenes also play a significant role in the therapeutic effects of cannabis by interacting with cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds to create subtle differences in our experience.
  • Learn more about different terpenes and their effects here.

What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?

Cannabis ruderalis is a third type of cannabis strain which contains low quantities of cannabinoids. It isn’t widely used because it isn’t known to produce any potent effects.

Ruderalis Origin

Ruderalis plants are found in more extreme environments than other strains, such as those in Eastern Europe, Himalayan regions of India, Siberia, and Russia. Like indica plants, ruderalis grows quickly, having adapted to cold, low-sunlight environments.

Plant Properties

Ruderalis are small, bushy plants which rarely grow taller than 30 centimetres, but they grow rapidly and can be ready for harvest in little more than a month from the time of planting.

Cannabinoid Balance

Ruderalis typically contains very little THC and somewhat higher amounts of CBD, but it does not contain enough of either cannabinoid to produce any noticeable effects.

Most Commonly Associated Effects

Because of its low potency and cannabinoid content, ruderalis isn’t typically used for medicinal or recreational purposes on its own. It may, however, be bred with other cannabis types because it is affordable and yields large quantities.

Which Strain Is Right for Me?

The best way to find the strain that works for you and your symptoms is to get a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare professional. A doctor who is well versed in medicinal cannabis and cannabinoid medicines will be able to find a treatment type that works for you, while taking all of your individual needs as well as available strain types, cannabinoid and terpene content, formats, and delivery methods into consideration. 

It’s important to note that cannabis grown or obtained without a prescription is illegal in all states in Australia, except the ACT. And, because non-prescription cannabis is unregulated in Australia, it is highly likely that your therapeutic needs won’t be met by the cannabis you purchase without a prescription. A medicinal cannabis prescription from a qualified doctor is the best way to ensure the safety, quality, efficacy and cannabinoid and terpene content of your cannabis medicines for optimum results.

FAQs 

Should I Smoke Indica for Anxiety?

While indica strains are most commonly associated with relaxing effects, there is little evidence to suggest that this is due to their strain-type alone. In fact, research now suggests that most strains are hybrid, containing both indica and sativa lineages. The plant compounds, cannabinoids and terpenes are the best indicators for the effects your cannabis will have on symptoms like anxiety. If you are looking to reduce anxiety, an expert doctor can help you find a cannabis treatment with the right cannabinoid and terpene content for you and your symptoms.

Smoking is not supported by the TGA, and comes with a long list of health risks. Learn about some of the other methods available for consuming medicinal cannabis to get the most out of your treatments here.

What Is Stronger Indica or Sativa?

In terms of their intoxicating or psychoactive effects, sativa strains are said to be ‘stronger’ than indica strains because of their high THC content. THC is a psychoactive, intoxicating cannabinoid which produces the ‘high’ commonly associated with cannabis use, and it can be impairing and cause adverse side effects at higher doses.

What Happens if You Mix Indica and Sativa Strains?

If you take different strains of cannabis together at the same time, you will alter the effects of your cannabis – much like a hybridised strain. If you are prescribed two different strains or types of cannabinoid medicines, your doctor will likely have prescribed the specific strains for varying, specific uses, or to take at different times in the day. Talk to your doctor about the best time to take them and whether they are safe to be taken together or close together. 

Experimenting with or taking too much of either of your cannabis strains could result in negative effects, so it’s best to only consume your cannabinoid medicines as advised by your doctor.

References
  1. C. Linnaeus, “Species Plantarum,” Vol. 1, London, 1753, pp. 392.
  2. https://scienmag.com/thc-amounts-identical-in-most-cannabis-strains-ubc-study-finds/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334252/
  4. Russo, EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol, 2011. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21749363/
  5.  https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/cannabinoids

The information on this website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Polln is not promoting the use of medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis in Australia is scheduled medication and regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Details about medicinal cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website. If you would like to explore medicinal cannabis for your chronic condition, please consult with a doctor.

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Get 20% discount on your first consultation
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Latest articles
Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Neurological Conditions

4
min read
Read Article
Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Neurological Conditions

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia. 

Neurological conditions can pose significant challenges to individuals and their loved ones, affecting not only physical health but also mental and emotional well-being. These conditions often require long-term management and personalised treatments.

Neurological conditions include a wide range of disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and neuropathic pain. These conditions can have a wide range of symptoms, from seizures and muscle spasms to cognitive impairment or chronic pain.

Traditional drugs for neurological conditions can be an important part of neurological condition management, but they can come with limitations, such as unwanted side effects, varying efficacy, and the potential for dependence. This has led many patients and healthcare professionals to explore alternative treatments for adjunct therapies like natural therapies.

Prescription natural medicine, sometimes referred to as natural therapies, is gaining recognition for its potential to relieve symptoms associated with various neurological disorders in some patients. The active ingredients found in prescription natural medicine may help modulate pain perception in the brain, reduce inflammation, and potentially improve overall neurological function.

Read on to find out how prescription natural medicine may help some patients with symptoms associated with neurological conditions and how to safely explore options for natural therapy treatments. 

What Are Neurological Conditions?

Neurological conditions, also referred to as neurological disorders or diseases, encompass a broad spectrum of medical conditions that affect the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. 

These conditions disrupt the normal functioning of the nervous system, leading to a wide range of symptoms and health challenges. Neurological conditions can be caused by factors, such as genetic factors, infections, injuries, autoimmune responses, and degenerative processes (ageing-related changes).

Diagnosis, treatment, and management of neurological disorders typically involve a multidisciplinary approach, with neurologists and other healthcare professionals working together to provide comprehensive care.

Neurologists specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions, employing a combination of clinical assessments, imaging studies, and laboratory tests to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Once diagnosed, patients often receive tailored treatment plans that may include medications to manage symptoms, physical therapy to improve function, surgical interventions to address specific issues, and, in some cases, lifestyle modifications.

Lifestyle modifications can be particularly important in the management of certain neurological conditions. These modifications may involve dietary changes, exercise regimens, and adaptations to daily routines to optimise the patient's quality of life and overall well-being. 

The goal is to empower individuals affected by neurological conditions to lead as fulfilling and comfortable lives as possible, despite the challenges posed by their condition.

Types of Neurological Conditions

While neurological conditions share a common thread of affecting the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves), neurological conditions cover many different kinds of disorders. Each neurological condition, like Parkinson’s or Epilepsy, has its own specific causes and symptoms, which makes the field of neurology quite complex.

Some common neurological conditions include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Migraines
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Neuropathy (damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nerves)


Each neurological condition presents its unique challenges in terms of diagnosis and management. Treatment approaches vary, and they often involve a combination of medications, therapies, and lifestyle modifications tailored to the specific condition and individual needs.

How Prescription Natural Medicine May Affect Neurological Conditions

Prescription natural medicine and prescribed natural medicine treatments may help some people manage some of the complex symptoms of neurological disorders.

While ongoing research is still uncovering exactly how prescription natural medicine interacts with neurological conditions, here are a few ways it might affect some patients: 

  • Managing Neuroinflammation: The two main active ingredients in prescription natural medicine, have anti-inflammatory effects. They interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which regulates immune responses and inflammation.

It has been suggested that prescription natural medicine may help slow down the progression of conditions like multiple sclerosis in some patients by reducing neuroinflammation, as inflammation is a key factor in nerve damage.

  • Immune System Modulation: Active ingredients within prescription natural medicine treatments may affect how the immune system responds in some patients, especially in neuroinflammatory autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's. 

Prescription natural medicines may control the release of cytokines and other immune signalling molecules, which helps in calming down an overactive immune response. This is significant for conditions like Guillain-Barré syndrome and lupus, where an overly active immune system is a characteristic feature.

  • Pain Alleviation: Neurological conditions often bring persistent pain that can seriously affect a person's life. Prescription natural medicine may help manage pain symptoms in some patients due to its pain-relieving properties. This can be especially helpful for people with conditions like diabetic neuropathy, which causes nerve pain due to diabetes, or trigeminal neuralgia, a condition causing severe facial pain.

Remember: The efficacy of prescription natural medicine can vary from person to person and may depend on many factors, including your condition, the specific natural medicine treatment prescribed to you, and the dosing regimen.

As with any medical treatment, prescription natural medicine carries potential side effects and interactions with other medications. If you’re interested in learning more about natural therapy treatments, we recommend speaking to an authorised prescriber or a doctor who specialises in the prescription of natural medicine treatments to adequately weigh the risks and benefits. 

Possible Risks of Prescription Natural Medicine for Neurological Conditions

It's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with prescription natural medicine for neurological conditions. 

These may include: 

  • Cognitive Effects: Depending on the active ingredients present and their concentrations, prescription natural medicine might lead to cognitive effects, including impaired memory and concentration.
  • Interactions and Side Effects: Just like any medication, prescription natural medicine could interact with other medications you're taking. Side effects, though potentially fewer than with traditional medications, still warrant careful consideration.
  • Psychoactive Effects of Active Ingredients: The psychoactive nature of active ingredients may not be appropriate for people with certain mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. 

A comprehensive discussion with a caring medical professional can help you navigate possible risks and make an informed decision about whether prescription natural medicine could be right for you and your lifestyle. 

The Wrap Up

Living with a neurological condition can be a significant and long-lasting challenge. It requires a constant effort to manage symptoms, adapt to their limitations, and seek comfort and function despite ongoing neurological issues. Prescription natural medicine may provide hope for those dealing with conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and neuropathic pain when other treatments have failed to provide relief.

Prescription natural medicine, under the guidance of experienced healthcare professionals, can offer people new possibilities for people with neurological conditions to improve their quality of life and manage symptoms.

Remember: to qualify for access to prescription natural medicine treatments in Australia, you must have experienced a chronic condition for over three months and have tried other treatments that were either ineffective or resulted in unwanted side effects.

Neurological Conditions: FAQ

Can Multiple Sclerosis Be Cured?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune neurological condition with no known cure at present. While there is no cure for MS, various treatments aim to manage its symptoms, slow disease progression, and improve patients' quality of life. Prescription natural medicine has shown promise in alleviating some MS symptoms, such as pain, muscle spasms, and spasticity in some patients.

However, it should be viewed as a complementary therapy rather than a cure. Research on the long-term effects and optimal use of prescription natural medicines for MS is ongoing, and its effectiveness can vary from person to person. 

Individuals with MS should work closely with healthcare professionals to develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to their specific needs and conditions.

Do Parkinson's Symptoms Come and Go? 

Parkinson's disease is characterised by both motor and non-motor symptoms, and their presentation can indeed fluctuate, with periods of symptom exacerbation (known as "on" periods) followed by relative relief (known as "off" periods). These fluctuations are often a result of the interplay between the disease progression and the effectiveness of Parkinson's medications, particularly levodopa.

Some people may experience the "wearing-off" phenomenon, where the medication's effects diminish before the next dose, leading to a return of symptoms. Prescription natural medicine has been explored as a potential adjunct therapy to help manage Parkinson's symptoms during "off" periods, offering relief from issues like tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia in some patients. 

Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Sleep Disorders

5
min read
Read Article
Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Sleep Disorders

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia.

Living with a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or restless legs syndrome, can be an exhausting and frustrating experience. These conditions disrupt our natural sleep rhythms, meaning we not only don’t get enough sleep — but the sleep we do get tends to be poor quality too.

The effects of bad sleep go beyond just feeling tired. Sleep disorders can cause difficulties concentrating, mood swings, lowered immune function, and a higher risk of illnesses.

Insomnia treatment can be challenging too due to the many reasons why sleep problems happen. Stress, poor sleep hygiene habits, and medical and psychological conditions can all cause sleep issues. The duration and severity of your sleep disorders also play a role in how to manage them, with chronic cases often requiring more comprehensive or holistic treatment options.

Prescription natural medicine has shown promise as a potential natural and lower-risk option for some people with insomnia. The active ingredients found in the medication interact with the body's endocannabinoid system to help regulate sleep and other bodily functions.

Learn more about how prescription natural medicine may help with sleep disorders in some patients and discover options for legally accessing natural medicine treatments in Australia.

Understanding Sleep Disorders

Insomnia and other sleep disorders are conditions that disrupt normal sleep patterns, making it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or achieve good quality sleep. Many factors, including stress, medical conditions, lifestyle habits, or even genetic factors can cause sleep disorders.

Some common sleep disorders include insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.

People with insomnia face ongoing challenges in falling asleep or maintaining sleep and are often accompanied by stress or anxiety.

Restless legs syndrome also causes disrupted sleep, however, sleep difficulties are caused by uncomfortable leg sensations and uncontrollable urges to move the legs.

Instead of trouble sleeping at night, narcolepsy causes sudden, uncontrollable episodes of daytime sleepiness. Narcolepsy can also cause sudden muscle weakness or paralysis triggered by emotions, like laughter or surprise. Additionally, narcoleptics can experience vivid hallucinations (also known as hypnopompic hallucinations) upon falling.

Effective management and treatment of sleep disorders require accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plans. 

Want to know more about sleep disorders? Talk to a doctor to receive a comprehensive assessment and achieve better sleep.

Why is Poor Sleep Such a Problem?

With how busy our daily lives can be, it’s easy to underestimate how important sleep is for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

During sleep, our bodies undergo essential processes that help repair tissue, strengthen our immune system, and regulate hormones. Additionally, sleep is vital for memory consolidation, learning, and problem-solving, allowing us to process and make sense of the information we encounter throughout the day.

Getting enough sleep also stabilises mood and emotional resilience. Ongoing sleep deprivation (like what you would experience with chronic insomnia) has been associated with heightened stress levels and an increased susceptibility to mental health disorders.

Poor sleep can even affect our physical health and increase our risk of chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Polln Doctor, Dr Melissa Catanzarite, MBBS believes that sleep is the single most significant component of our self care. “Sleep is the real miracle drug; it promotes healing, emotional stability and even weight loss. Without sleep we struggle to have meaningful interactions with those we love, our creativity is dampened or ceases altogether and we are at more risk for significant health disorders.

A person can take all of the medications, supplements and yoga classes in the world and their health will not improve until they prioritise sleep.”

Challenges of Traditional Sleep Disorder Treatments

Conventional treatments for sleep disorders that rely on pharmaceutical interventions (sometimes called “sleeping pills”) or behavioural therapies can be challenging for patients due to their possible side effects, dependency concerns, and varying levels of effectiveness.

While behavioural therapies, like cognitive behavioural therapy, can be effective drug-free insomnia treatment options, they require commitment and patience as they often involve making long-term changes to sleep habits and routines.

Prescription sleep aids, like benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, on the other hand, help insomnia by boosting the calming effects of various brain chemicals. However, these medications are typically recommended for short-term use. 

Prolonged or excessive use of prescription sleep aids can lead to tolerance, where the effectiveness of the drug diminishes over time, or drug dependence. Additionally, when individuals stop using these medications after extended use, they may experience rebound insomnia, where their sleep problems worsen again.

Benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics can also lead to issues such as daytime drowsiness, cognitive impairment, and an increased likelihood of accidents or falls, particularly among older adults.

There is a significant need for natural sleep aids. Some alternatives include prescription natural medicine, relaxation exercises, and improved sleeping habits, such as taking daily exercises, reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, and making changes to your sleeping environment to promote better sleep hygiene.

How Prescription Natural Medicine May Support as a Natural Sleep Aid

Prescription natural medicine may help treat sleep disorders due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays an important role in regulating various bodily functions, including sleep.

The ECS has been found to influence sleep-wake cycles, sleep duration, and sleep quality through its modulation of neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. Some of the active ingredients that are found in prescription natural medicine may influence the quality and duration of sleep in some patients by:

  • Reducing Anxiety: Prescription natural medicine may provide insomnia relief for some patients. Some of the active ingredients found within the medication have anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) properties that may help alleviate anxiety and stress, common contributors to sleep disorders like insomnia.
  • Regulating REM Sleep: Certain active ingredients found in prescription natural medicine treatments have been shown to suppress REM sleep, which could be beneficial for those with conditions like nightmares or REM sleep behaviour disorder. Interestingly, reduced REM sleep has been linked to early-onset dementia and cognitive decline; however, some active ingredients may allow for more REM, potentially protecting brain health for some people.

  • Pain Relief: Prescription natural medicine may alleviate pain in some patients, which is often a contributing factor to sleep disorders. By reducing pain, it may facilitate better sleep.

Therapeutic Effects of Prescription Natural Medicine on Sleep

When considering prescription natural medicine for sleep, it's essential to consult a doctor before starting a treatment course. Your practitioner can help you assess the potential risks and benefits, and decide if prescription natural medicine treatments align with your sleep disorder and overall health needs.

Prescription natural medicine offers several therapeutic effects that may set it apart from other sleep medications:

  • Natural: Unlike many traditional sleep medications, prescription natural medicines are derived from plants, making them a natural alternative that may appeal to those seeking natural, plant-based remedies without the side effects often associated with synthetic drugs. 
  • Fewer Side Effects: Compared to some pharmaceutical interventions, prescription natural medicine may have fewer side effects for some patients, particularly when used responsibly and under medical supervision. This can be appealing for those concerned about adverse reactions and dependency associated with traditional sleep medications.

Risks of Prescription Natural Medicine for Sleep

When deciding on any kind of medication, it's important to acknowledge any possible risks alongside their potential benefits.

Some risks of prescription natural medicine for sleep include potential side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, and cognitive impairment, as well as the risk of developing tolerance, and dependence. 

Additionally, the psychoactive nature of some of the active ingredients found within prescription natural medicine may not be suitable for people with mood disorders, like bipolar or schizophrenia.

A comprehensive discussion with a caring medical professional can help you navigate these risks and benefits to help you make an informed decision about whether prescription natural medicine is a safe and effective option for you.

The Wrap Up

Sleep disorders can have a profound impact on both our physical and mental well-being, disrupting our natural sleep patterns and significantly influencing our overall health and quality of life. Traditional treatments, though effective for some, can come with some challenging side effects like dependence or rebound insomnia, and might not but suitable for everything.

Prescription natural medicine provides a safer, natural, sleep aid option. It can help improve sleep, reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and even regulate REM sleep. 

Even though prescription natural medicine treatments have fewer side effects than other sleep medications, it’s still important to consult with a healthcare professional to weigh the risks and benefits and decide if natural therapies are right for you.

Prescription Natural Medicine and Sleep FAQ

What Is the Most Effective Natural Sleep Aid?

One natural sleep aid is prescription natural medicine. While the effectiveness and safety of natural medicine as a sleep aid can vary from person to person, there is a growing body of research suggesting that this treatment method may improve sleep quality, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and increase the duration of deep and restorative sleep.

Prescription natural medicine contains active ingredients that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. This system plays a role in regulating various physiological processes, including sleep. It's worth noting that other natural sleep aids, such as meditation, hypnotherapy, and melatonin, are also recognised for their potential in promoting restful sleep. Different individuals may find varying degrees of effectiveness with these options, and we recommend exploring what works best for your individual needs and preferences with an authorised prescriber, or a doctor who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines.

Can You Become Dependent on Sleep Aids?

Yes, it is possible to become dependent on sleep aids, including prescription natural medicine. Both over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids, as well as natural remedies, can lead to physical and psychological dependence if used improperly or for an extended period.

  • Prescription Sleep Aids: Prescription medications like benzodiazepines and certain non-benzodiazepine drugs can effectively treat sleep disorders, but they carry the risk of dependence. Tolerance can develop over time, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effect. This can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication.

  • Over-the-counter and Natural Sleep Aids: Even over-the-counter sleep aids, including herbal supplements, and natural options like prescription natural medicines can also lead to dependence. Using these aids regularly can create a psychological reliance on them to induce sleep.

  • Prescription Natural Medicine: While the prescription of natural medicines has shown potential for improving sleep, prolonged and indiscriminate use can also lead to dependence. Regular use might lead to the body adapting to its effects, potentially requiring higher doses to achieve the desired sleep benefits. Learn more. 
Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Chemotherapy Side Effects

4
min read
Read Article
Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine and Chemotherapy Side Effects

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia.

Dealing with cancer is an incredibly challenging journey, not only for patients but for their loved ones too. Chemotherapy, while effective in targeting cancer cells, often brings along a slew of daunting side effects that can make treatment even more difficult.

Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and rashes, or diarrhoea are just a few of the additional issues that chemotherapy patients face.

Chemotherapy-induced side effects are notoriously challenging to manage. Standard medications used to reduce them don’t always provide effective relief, and can even create additional complications. In recent years, studies have shown that prescription natural medicine has emerged as a promising alternative that holds potential in mitigating some of the adverse effects of chemotherapy.

‍This natural approach to symptom management has been gaining recognition within both the patient community and the medical field. Under the supervision of a medical professional, the therapeutic active ingredients in prescription natural medicine may offer relief from nausea, vomiting, pain, and other debilitating symptoms associated with chemotherapy for some patients.

If you or a loved one are undergoing chemotherapy and have not found effective relief through conventional therapies, doctors who are experienced in the prescription of natural medicine are here to guide you through this therapeutic option, ensuring that you receive the care and support you need throughout your journey towards better health and quality of life.

What Are Chemotherapy Side Effects?

Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are effective in targeting cancerous cells in many types of cancer, including breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, leukaemia, and many others. However, chemotherapy can also cause a range of short-term and long-term side effects due to its impact on healthy cells and tissues in the body.

These side effects can vary in severity from person to person and depend on the specific chemotherapy drugs used. Some common chemotherapy side effects include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting: Chemotherapy is often designed to be toxic to cancer cells, which can trigger nausea and vomiting. These symptoms can be acute (occurring shortly after treatment) or delayed (occurring days after treatment). Anti-nausea medications are often prescribed to manage these symptoms
  • Fatigue: Chemotherapy-induced fatigue is a common side effect that can have a debilitating effect on a patient’s quality of life. It’s more than just “feeling tired”, Chemotherapy-induced fatigue can feel mentally and physically exhausting. This fatigue can persist for weeks or even months after treatment
  • Hair Loss: Many chemotherapy drugs can cause hair loss, including hair on the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Hair usually grows back after treatment ends
  • Loss of Appetite and Weight Changes: Chemotherapy can affect the sense of taste and appetite, leading to weight loss or gain
  • Mouth Sores: Chemotherapy can cause mouth sores and mucositis, making it painful to eat or drink
  • Digestive Issues: Patients may experience diarrhoea, constipation, or other gastrointestinal problems during chemotherapy
  • Skin Changes: Skin may become dry, itchy, or sensitive to sunlight. Some chemotherapy drugs can cause rashes or skin discolouration
  • Cognitive Changes: Some people undergoing chemotherapy report cognitive changes often referred to as "chemo brain." This can involve memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and mental fogginess
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Some chemotherapy drugs can damage peripheral nerves, causing symptoms like tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands and feet
  • Emotional and Psychological Effects: Coping with cancer and its treatment can lead to emotional distress, stress and anxiety, depression, and changes in mood

How Can Prescription Natural Medicine Potentially Help Manage Chemotherapy Side Effects?

Prescription natural medicine has shown promise in alleviating several chemotherapy-induced side effects. The potential benefits of prescription natural medicine in managing these side effects are mostly attributed to the active ingredients that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system. 

Here's how prescription natural medicine may help some patients to manage the side effects of chemotherapy: 

  • Pain Management: Prescription natural medicine has analgesic (pain-relieving) properties and may be effective in managing chemotherapy-related pain for some patients, including nerve pain (neuropathy) and bone pain
  • Anxiety and Stress: Chemotherapy can cause anxiety and emotional distress. Some active ingredients found in prescription natural medicine have anxiolytic properties, and may help reduce anxiety and improve mood for some patients as a result
  • Sleep Improvement: Prescription natural medicine may aid in improving sleep quality for some patients experiencing insomnia or sleep disturbances due to chemotherapy
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Prescription natural medicine has anti-inflammatory properties that may potentially reduce inflammation for some patients and alleviate symptoms related to chemotherapy-induced mucositis and skin issues
  • Neuropathy Relief: Some patients develop peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of chemotherapy. Prescription natural medicine may help manage neuropathic pain and discomfort
  • Combination Therapy: Prescription natural medicine may be used in conjunction with other medications to manage side effects. This can lead to a more well-rounded and personalised treatment approach

Remember: the use of prescription natural medicine in cancer care is a topic of ongoing research, and its effectiveness and potential risks and side effects can vary from person to person. It is important to note that prescription natural medicines are not a primary treatment for cancer and cannot cure cancer.

Additionally, the type of natural medicine treatments prescribed, dosages, and administration methods should be carefully considered and discussed with a healthcare provider experienced in the prescription of natural medicine to ensure safety and optimal results.

Possible Risks of Prescription Natural Medicine for Chemotherapy Side-Effects

While prescription natural medicine shows promise in managing some chemotherapy side effects, it is important to understand the potential risks and side effects associated with its use.

The impact of prescription natural medicine can vary depending on individual factors, the specific products that have been prescribed, and the method of consumption. Here are some possible risks to consider when using prescription natural medicine for chemotherapy side effects:

  • Psychological Effects: Prescription natural medicine products with high levels of certain active ingredients, can induce psychological side effects. These may include anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and impaired cognitive function. Individuals with a history of mental health conditions, such as anxiety or schizophrenia, may be at greater risk of experiencing these side effects
  • Dependency and Withdrawal: Long-term, consistent use of prescription natural medicine can lead to dependence. Attempting to reduce or cease the use of the prescribed natural medicine treatment may result in withdrawal symptoms, including irritability, mood swings, insomnia, and loss of appetite
  • Impaired Cognitive Function: Prescription natural medicine can impair cognitive functions such as memory, attention, and decision-making. This may raise concerns, particularly for individuals needing mental sharpness for tasks like driving or operating heavy machinery
  • Interaction with Medications: Prescription natural medicine has the potential to interact with certain medications, either by enhancing or diminishing their efficacy. Individuals using medications should consult healthcare professionals to assess potential interactions before incorporating prescribed natural therapies into their regimen
  • Potential Adverse Effects on Chemotherapy Side Effects: While prescription natural medicine may offer relief to some chemotherapy patients, it may not be suitable for everyone. In some cases, it might exacerbate side effects such as nausea, vomiting, or underlying digestive issues

When considering prescription natural medicine as a complementary therapy for chemotherapy side effects, remember to talk to an Authorised Prescriber or a doctor who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines about the risks and benefits before starting a course of treatment.

A specialty practitioner can provide guidance on whether prescription natural medicine is an appropriate option, assist in selecting the right dosage and strain, and closely monitor for potential side effects or interactions with existing medications.

The Wrap Up

Cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy, can be incredibly challenging and is often accompanied by many distressing side effects that can affect patients and their loved ones. Nausea, vomiting, pain, and the many other issues that come with chemotherapy can be overwhelming. 

Conventional treatments may not always provide sufficient relief and can even introduce new complications.

While there is still much more research to be done, prescription natural medicine may provide some people with a natural alternative for chemotherapy side-effect management. By harnessing the active ingredients found within the medication, prescription natural medicine treatments may offer relief from a wide range of symptoms, helping make cancer treatment more bearable for some patients.

If you or a loved one is navigating chemotherapy, expert doctors are available to help you, discussing the potential benefits of this therapeutic option.

Chemotherapy Side Effects FAQ

How Can You Minimise the Side Effects of Chemotherapy?

There are many ways to minimise chemotherapy side effects. Firstly, open communication with your treatment team and oncologist is essential, as they can tailor your treatment plan and prescribe different natural and conventional medications to manage symptoms effectively.

In recent years, prescription natural medicine has emerged as a promising addition to potentially help alleviate various chemotherapy side effects, including nausea, vomiting, pain, and loss of appetite. Consulting with a healthcare provider experienced in natural medicine can help you explore its potential benefits while ensuring safe and effective use alongside traditional treatments.

Maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, managing pain, and incorporating supportive therapies like exercise, psychological support, and complementary therapies can further enhance your ability to cope with chemotherapy side effects. 

How to Help Chemo Nausea?

Managing chemotherapy-induced nausea can be a challenging aspect of cancer treatment, but there are several strategies to help alleviate this discomfort. Your treatment team and oncologist can prescribe anti-nausea medications (antiemetics) tailored to your specific needs.

Additionally, you may want to consider discussing the use of prescription natural medicine with a healthcare provider experienced in its administration. Some patients find that natural medicine treatments can be helpful in reducing nausea. However, it's essential to ensure legal and safe access and consult a healthcare professional for guidance.

Incorporating complementary approaches like acupressure wristbands, ginger, dietary adjustments, and mind-body techniques can also provide relief. These methods, combined with staying hydrated, avoiding triggers, and staying informed about your treatment plan, can help you cope with nausea and improve your overall quality of life. 

Medical Conditions

Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine, IBS, IBD and More

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Natural Therapies: Prescription Natural Medicine, IBS, IBD and More

Why can’t we mention prescription medications by name?

In accordance with guidelines and regulations set out by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), we are unable to disclose the names of our treatments until you have completed a consultation with a Polln doctor and have been deemed eligible for treatment. 

Here at Polln, we prioritise your safety and well-being. These measures have been put in place to ensure that you are able to discuss all treatment options with a qualified medical professional who specialises in the prescription of natural medicines and can help tailor your treatment plan to suit your individual needs. 

All medications prescribed by our Polln doctors have been approved for use in Australia.

Digestive problems, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), can cause discomfort and frustration. These conditions often lead to unpredictable bouts of pain, bloating, and bowel irregularities, making everyday activities a challenge.

Digestive problems, medically known as gastrointestinal conditions, are disorders and ailments that affect the digestive system, which includes the stomach and small and large intestines. Common gastrointestinal conditions include IBS, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and diverticulitis.

Conventional treatments for gut problems often include a mix of traditional pharmaceutical medications, lifestyle changes, and dietary restrictions. However, these solutions don’t always provide relief, are hard to maintain, or may come with unwanted side effects.

Prescription natural medicine, also referred to as natural therapies, is gaining scientific recognition for its potential to manage symptoms associated with digestive problems in some patients. 

It’s been shown to help some patients with inflammation and pain, or even help with uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhoea, constipation and nausea. 

Prescription natural medicine may help some people improve their gut health naturally and provide a natural treatment alternative for conditions like IBS and IBD. 

Read on to explore the science behind prescription natural medicine and digestive problems, and how you can explore natural therapies in Australia.

What Are Gastrointestinal Diseases?

Gastrointestinal (GI) conditions, also called digestive disorders, are a wide range of medical issues that affect the digestive system, including the oesophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

These conditions can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, leading to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms and health complications. Digestive conditions can arise from a myriad of causes, including genetic predisposition, infections, dietary factors, autoimmune responses, and lifestyle choices.‍

Diagnosis, treatment, and management of digestive conditions can be exhausting and time-consuming. It can be difficult to get a diagnosis quickly, as many gastrointestinal conditions share many of the same symptoms. In fact, people with IBS can wait up to four years to get a diagnosis.

Effective condition management often requires a collaborative effort among healthcare professionals specialising in gastroenterology, nutrition, and other relevant fields, like prescription natural medicine experts. Gastroenterologists are experts in diagnosing and treating these conditions, utilising a combination of clinical evaluations, imaging tests, and laboratory assessments to pinpoint the issue accurately. 

Types of Gastrointestinal (GI) Conditions 

Digestive conditions encompass a wide spectrum of disorders that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) system, ranging from common issues like acid reflux to more complex conditions such as irritable bowel disease (IBS) or Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Some common gastrointestinal conditions include:

  • Acid Reflux (GERD): Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, causing symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and regurgitation.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): IBS is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder characterised by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD includes conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which involve chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, leading to symptoms such as severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.
  • Diverticulitis: This condition occurs when small pouches (diverticula) in the colon become inflamed or infected, causing abdominal pain, fever, and changes in bowel habits. Prescription natural medicine may help some people manage acute pain, but patients will typically need antibiotics to treat diverticulitis.
  • Gastroenteritis: Commonly referred to as "stomach flu," gastroenteritis involves inflammation of the stomach and intestines, leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
  • Peptic Ulcers: These are open sores that develop on the inner lining of the stomach or the upper part of the small intestine, often caused by infection with H. pylori bacteria or the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Prescription Natural Medicine and Gastrointestinal (GI) Conditions 

Prescription natural medicine may hold promise in providing some relief for a variety of gut symptoms associated with common gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. These symptoms can often disrupt daily life and diminish the quality of life for those affected.

Prescription natural medicine may help some people:

Reduce Abdominal Pain

Prescription natural medicine may help reduce abdominal pain for some patients – a common and distressing symptom found in numerous GI disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn's Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.

By modulating pain perception and mitigating gut inflammation, prescribed natural medicines may provide much-needed relief to those grappling with chronic abdominal discomfort. This relief can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals burdened by such symptoms.

Reduce Nausea and Vomiting

Prescription natural medicine can potentially help reduce nausea and vomiting, which are common in gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS, gastroenteritis, and GERD. Some active ingredients found within prescription natural medicines have well-established anti-nausea properties, rendering theman effective resource for managing both acute and chronic nausea in some patients.

Diarrhoea and Constipation 

In gastrointestinal (GI) conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), individuals often experience diarrhoea, constipation or both. Prescription natural medicine offers potential relief for some patients by aiding in the regulation of bowel movements.

For those dealing with diarrhoea, certain active ingredients found in natural medicines can slow gut motility, potentially reducing the frequency of bowel movements. On the other hand, the muscle-relaxing properties of prescription natural medicine may be particularly beneficial in alleviating constipation, providing individuals with more comfortable and regular bowel function.