Many Australians decide that they’d prefer to go this route due to the perceived cost of cannabis in Australia. But, surprisingly, the price of legally prescribed CBD oil in Australia is on par with many overseas brands on a cost per mg level.
We’ll explain the process in a bit more detail below. If you’re looking for a local prescriber, you can visit our find a cannabis doctor tool and search by your postcode. We also have a list of cannabis clinics.
Your only options to access CBD oil are going through a doctor, a cannabis clinic, or waiting until it becomes available over the counter.
Understanding CBD oil via prescription
The products you can import without permission are:
Now you understand the legalities around CBD oil in Australia. While unfortunate, the fact is that the Australian government has categorised CBD oil as a medicine and a scheduled drug. Therefore, to get CBD oil, you must have a prescription.
These products need to go through clinical trials and be proven both safe and effective. The trial process can take up to 12 months. They must then be approved, which can take up to another 12 months. So, we probably won’t see low dose CBD in pharmacies until at least 2023.
The TGA is clear on its definition of cannabis oil. They place cannabis oil into two categories:
To understand whether you may be eligible for medicinal cannabis therapy in Australia, please speak to one of our qualified doctors or our team of experts.
1995 The endocannabinoid 2-AG was identified (Mechoulam et al. 1995; Sugiura et al. 1995)
How to Buy CBD Oil legally in Australia?
Medical cannabis has been approved for use by prescription in Australia under the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967. Medical cannabis can be used in the treatment of a number of conditions, however, each case is different and as a result, patients must have the therapy prescribed by a medical practitioner. There is no predetermined list of conditions for which a cannabis medicine can be prescribed. Some conditions where patients have been able to access this treatment include Chronic Pain, Anxiety, Neuropathic pain, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, in Palliative care settings, Adjunct therapy to some cancer treatments, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy and a number of others.
Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout your body and endocannabinoids bind to them to signal a response from the ECS.
It is usually recommended that these oils are taken with, or just after, food. This can increase the amount that is absorbed into your body and make the medication more effective.
Dr Iain says to “watch the hype.” He points to when cocaine was first invented, when they thought it would be a great cure for opium addiction and you could just chuck it in any old fizzy drink. “You always get this huge hype [around new drugs] and you do have to let research run its course. Big clinical trials take several years so complete; five years from now we’ll know a lot more about CBD and it’s potentials and limitations.”
On top of that, your average over the counter product that’ll be available here will have relatively low concentrations of CBD. So, if you’re getting an oil that has maybe 30 milligrams per mil, your average daily dose is probably less than 100 milligrams of CBD. However, clinical trials and research suggest that effective doses for things like anxiety and psychosis tend to be a lot higher, they tend to be up around 500-1000 milligrams, which causes Dr Iain beg the question: “Even if we get the over the counter products available in Australia, will they actually be any good?”
“What is concerning. as CBD becomes more available companies will inevitably jump on board to try and make a dollar out of it. This is the hype that I’m concerned about,” she says.
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You’ve probably met its mate, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC aka the one that makes you ≋h≋i≋g≋h≋) but CBD will not get you stoned. (Unless you’ve got it from somewhere slightly dodgy and you’re not 100% sure about the THC content).
However, there are currently no TGA approved products on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) that meet the Schedule 3 criteria. And that process of approval could take years.
Of course, if you do go that route, there’s the issue of cost, which is prohibitive for a lot of people. Sitting at about $10-$15 a day, “you’d probably find it’s cheaper to grow your own (and a lot of people do).”
As a neuroscientist, Dr Katrina is particularly interested in the developing brain and the short term and long term effects of cannabidiol use on it. “A lot of people say that CBD is non-psychoactive but psychoactive is defined as something that interacts with the brain and changes behaviour. Now that applies to THC, alcohol, heroin, whatever. CBD is absolutely psychoactive, it’s just psychoactive in a good way.”