CBD has gained immense popularity in Australia and other parts of the world due to its various therapeutic benefits. Its effectiveness in promoting well-being and safety profile led to its recent rescheduling, making it legal in Australia from 2021. You may have seen CBD in the news or online, as it has become a prominent topic in the natural health supplement industry. CBD is effective and safe, as it is a natural plant-based compound with minimal side effects. It can aid in various health issues such as sleep, anxiety, inflammation, pain, and mood. If you wish to purchase CBD in Australia, there are multiple ways to do so, like buying from pharmacies, online shops, or other retail stores. However, certain restrictions and rules exist for CBD products. Some require a prescription to buy, depending on their dosage strength and type. This guide will help you buy CBD in Australia correctly and safely, helping you understand the essential factors to consider when shopping.
- 1 What is CBD?
- 2 Is CBD Legal in Australia?
- 3 How to Buy CBD in Australia
- 4 Buying Other Hemp Products
- 5 FAQs
- 6 Conclusion
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound that belongs to a group of substances called cannabinoids. It is found naturally in hemp’s leaves, stems, and buds and is known for its beneficial anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and therapeutic effects. Unlike THC, another cannabinoid found in hemp, CBD is not psychoactive and does not cause euphoria or anxiety. Instead, it relaxes the mind and body, helping lower stress, reduce cravings, improve mood, and aid blood pressure. Only plants with 0.2% THC or less are used in Australia to produce CBD products like CBD oil. The oil is extracted from the hemp plant using either solvents or CO2 gas in a multi-stage extraction process. CBD is typically suspended in a carrier oil made from MCT, olive, or other plant-based oils that aid absorption. CBD offers a wide range of therapeutic effects and health-promoting benefits without being psychoactive or addictive. Therefore, it is considered safe for use as a natural remedy for various physical and mental health conditions.
Is CBD Legal in Australia?
CBD was made legal in Australia in 2016 as a prescription medicine. Since then, laws have been further updated to allow more people to access it. In 2021, the TGA rescheduled CBD due to its high degree of safety and therapeutic benefit to Australians. But while access was opened, certain restrictions are still in place for consumers on the types of products available, their cannabinoid content, where they can be purchased and their strength.
CBD products, in particular, must contain 0.3% or less of THC content as the maximum permissible limit of a product’s total cannabinoid concentration. This reflects the concentration of these cannabinoids found in industrial hemp plants that are bred to contain very low THC levels. Being clear of THC ensures that the CBD product has minimal psychoactive effects and is suitable for therapeutic use. It’s crucial to ensure that the CBD products you purchase comply with these regulations to avoid legal issues. Products containing higher quantities of THC are more strictly controlled than cannabis medications and fall under a different schedule of drugs. They can only be obtained via a doctor’s prescription and are primarily prescribed for pain, nausea and insomnia.
Strength and Product Type
Another restriction for legal CBD products is their strength and product types. Strength is the concentration of cannabinoids per mL of CBD oil (or other liquid). For CBD oil being bought without a prescription, such as in a pharmacy over the counter, the daily dose can’t exceed 150mg of CBD. In addition, only 30 days of daily dosages can be supplied per bottle, creating a hard cap on the total strength and quantity of the oil legally available. High-strength products are those containing more than 150mg of CBD dose per day. Similarly to products containing amounts of THC, they can’t be bought without a prescription under current guidelines.
Product types available are also subject to restrictions. In particular, high- and low-dose CBD products may only be purchased as CBD oils or tinctures. Other ingestion methods like CBD sublingual, gummies, edibles, drinks or vapes can’t be bought without a prescription. Despite these restrictions, the demand for CBD products in Australia continues to grow as more and more people seek alternative remedies for various health conditions. With this legal framework in place, consumers can explore the potential benefits of CBD while ensuring their products are safe, high quality and don’t contain THC.
How to Buy CBD in Australia
There are a few different ways to CBD in Australia, but some restrictions will still apply depending on the type of product you need. Let’s explore the key paths to obtaining CBD, their advantages and drawbacks, plus restrictions to be aware of when buying.
Buying CBD Over the Counter in Pharmacies
In Australia, certain pharmacies are authorized to dispense both THC and CBD products. These can come in a variety of formulations and strengths. Restrictions exist on the types of products you can purchase, their strengths and availability without a prescription. Pharmacy-sourced CBD is great for those who prefer the trust and reliability associated with pharmacists, but their products come at a much higher cost. However, they offer peace of mind that each product has been rigorously tested, is compliant with regulations and is safe to use.
When buying CBD from pharmacies, it’s essential to consult with the pharmacist to ensure that the product meets the legal requirements and is suitable for your specific needs. Like Doctors, Pharmacists can also provide valuable information about potential drug interactions or side effects. Purchasing CBD from a pharmacy allows you to have a one-on-one conversation with a healthcare professional knowledgeable about CBD and its potential benefits.
Low-Dose CBD Products
In pharmacies, you can buy low-dose CBD products over the counter. You don’t need a prescription and can purchase these at the pharmacy. Low-dose products are defined as having 150 mg of equivalent CBD per day while containing up to 30 days of supply per oil bottle. These products must also contain less than 0.3% concentration of THC or other cannabinoids. Limitations also apply to the total size of CBD sold in pharmacies and the ingestion methods they can support. Specifically, these products can only be in CBD oils or tinctures and must not exceed 30mL. Other forms of CBD, like gummies, tablets, sublingual’s, vapes, or creams, can’t currently be bought in a pharmacy in Australia.
Which Pharmacies Offer CBD?
Be aware that when buying CBD over the counter, not all pharmacies will stock it. Many opt not to. Carrying CBD or other cannabis medications requires being part of the Special Access Scheme in Australia and holding specific licenses, which can be costly for pharmacy operators. You may need to shop around to find a CBD pharmacy in Australia. Alternatives to shopping in pharmacies include cannabis dispensaries, purchasing CBD online, or speaking to your doctor or telehealth service to get a CBD prescription. Each option has different pros and cons. But it’s important to know that shopping in pharmacies isn’t your only choice.
If a low-strength CBD oil doesn’t meet your requirements or health needs, you’ll need to explore obtaining a prescription for higher-strength CBD with your Doctor. Any product containing more than 150mg of CBD dosage per day requires a prescription to obtain. But getting one isn’t always easy. Many Doctors are opposed to any medications that are derived from cannabis due to the stigma associated with it. For others, they may not understand the therapeutic applications it has amongst patients and the potential for their conditions.
Applying for cannabis medication isn’t easy, and it takes a long time to get approval, particularly for those looking to buy products containing THC. It can take weeks or even months for your script to be approved, and you’ll need a valid condition for it to be prescribed.
How to get a Prescription
In Australia, not everyone will meet the narrow guidelines under which high-strength CBD can be prescribed. The TGA has a list of pre-certified conditions that dictate when and how physicians may prescribe cannabis medications. Generally, they’re only prescribed for conditions like insomnia, anxiety and some pain types. Other treatment options must be exhausted before CBD or cannabis medicines can be considered. In addition, a Doctor must understand these medications, favour their use over alternatives like pharmaceuticals, be open to trying them and hold a license to prescribe them. Finding a medical practitioner who meets these characteristics and meets the condition requirements for a prescription isn’t straightforward.
It is complicated to find a doctor to prescribe CBD as they must hold a special license that enables administering medications sourced from cannabis. Only several thousand doctors in Australia have this license out of more than 130,000 doctors in the country. About a third of this group can prescribe THC or high-strength CBD immediately in specific scenarios and have a particular tier of license. The most common prescriptions prescribed include anxiety, insomnia, minor injury pains or aches and even certain inflammatory conditions. If you have any mental conditions or a family history of mental disorders, you’re unlikely to be prescribed anything containing THC.
A more convenient way to obtain a script is through telehealth doctors who can provide you with a digital prescription that can be filled in online pharmacies and shipped to you. You’ll pay a premium for this convenience, with many of these services being substantially marked up in price versus alternative methods of buying CBD.
Once you obtain your prescription, you’ll get a script for your CBD medication to fill at a pharmacy. Locating a pharmacy that stocks cannabis medications is your next step. Researching pharmacies to find one that offers high-strength CBD needs to be done before you can get ahold of the product. The availability of CBD products may vary between different pharmacies, so it’s advisable to call ahead and inquire about their specific range of CBD products before visiting. Note that prescription CBD tends to be much more expensive in Australia than low-dose products or those that are found online.
Online CBD Shops
Online CBD shops are one of the most popular and convenient ways to buy CBD in Australia. These websites offer a wide range of CBD products, including oils, tinctures, capsules, topicals, and edibles. Choosing reputable retailers that provide detailed product information is essential when purchasing CBD online. This should include ingredients, manufacturing methods, and third-party lab results. Ensure you’re purchasing high-quality CBD products that meet the legal requirements in Australia. Shopping for products online and knowing what to buy is also a challenge due to the sheer number of choices. You’ll need to understand the product and its quality from research and reviews, know how to distinguish high and low-quality CBD products online, understand labelling and certificate of analysis results, plus understand your product’s policies in shipping plus returns.
Online CBD retailers often provide customer reviews and ratings, allowing you to gain insights from other consumers who have tried the products. This can help make an informed decision about which CBD product to purchase. Additionally, many provide educational resources on their websites, such as articles and blog posts, to help you better understand CBD and its potential benefits. These resources can be a valuable source of information for beginners or those looking to expand their knowledge about CBD.
Online Stores Overseas
Buying CBD from overseas stores online and shipping it to Australia can be done, but some risks are involved. Sellers in the UK, Canada or the US frequently ship internationally, allowing you to access a broader range of CBD products online. Importing CBD from overseas has a few advantages. For instance, CBD is legal in most of the US and has reputable, high-quality companies offering top-tier products. Due to the costs of CBD in Australia, their prices are often also lower, even with shipping costs included. While it sounds like a great way to get better products at lower prices, there are some significant drawbacks.
For instance, your delivery could get lost or seized when buying CBD from overseas, as you can’t import it without a license. In these cases, you would lose your money and product. Many providers won’t ship to Australia at all for this reason. Another challenge is the variable quality of products sourced from CBD stores overseas. Different countries have varying standards, certifications and regulations around health product manufacturing. They can also differ enormously from Australia’s rules around ingredient listings, lab testing and product labelling. For example, most CBD oil from the US won’t be GMP-certified or organic. Buying locally can be more expensive, but in large, it will mean greater assurance your products were produced with tight quality control and stringent safety precautions. If you purchase from overseas, ensure you conduct thorough research on the product and obtain certified third-party lab results on its cannabinoid content.
Hemp Stores & Dispensaries Selling CBD
Cannabis dispensaries and hemp specialist stores are another avenue to buy CBD in Australia. These enable a more hands-on, tangible shopping experience and mean you can view products in person to compare them more easily. Most will only offer low-dose CBD products as high-strength offerings are restricted. Similarly to pharmacies, many dispensaries can also dispense THC or high-strength CBD oil, however, if provided with a valid script from a doctor. Today, you can find cannabis dispensaries in many cities across Australia, including Brisbane, Hobart, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Visiting physical stores allows you to speak with knowledgeable staff who can guide you in choosing the right CBD product for your needs. They can also address any questions or concerns regarding CBD and its usage. Furthermore, some physical stores offer the opportunity to sample different CBD products before purchasing. This can be beneficial, especially for those new to CBD who want to ensure they find a product that suits their preferences. In addition to CBD products, these physical stores often carry various complementary products, such as herbal supplements, essential oils, and natural skincare products. This can provide a holistic shopping experience, allowing you to explore different wellness options.
Buying Other Hemp Products
Hemp-derived products that don’t contain cannabinoids like CBD or THC are entirely legal in Australia and can be purchased today in most supermarkets, supplement retailers, health food stores and vegan shops. This includes Hemp oil, Hemp Protein, Hemp seed oil and hemp hearts. These can also be purchased from overseas and imported into Australia. Products from hemp are categorised as nutritional or plant-based dietary products, meaning their treatment under regulation is similar to that of other foods. To be classified as nutritional products, they must contain an effective 0% concentration of any cannabinoids.
These products are primarily sourced from industrial hemp plants in Australia for this reason, which contain near-zero levels of THC or other cannabinoids. Most are also created from hemp seeds with no cannabinoid content. Be careful to avoid mixing up CBD and hemp oil if you’re purchasing either from online stores overseas, as they can frequently be mixed up, mislabelled or confused. Importing the wrong product type could cause you legal problems or confiscated shipments.
CBD has been legal as a prescription medication since 2016. As of 2021, it is also available without a prescription through over-the-counter purchasing. However, there are controls in place that govern the strengths and types of products available, as well as their cannabinoid and THC content. Currently, only oils or CBD tinctures can be purchased in pharmacies or with a prescription, and they must not contain more than 0.3% THC. While low-strength CBD products can be purchased online, in dispensaries or hemp shops, there are more risks involved in terms of product quality and trustworthiness.
Buying CBD without a prescription in pharmacies or other stores requires being at least 18 years of age. Only low-dose products are available via this channel. High-strength CBD oil or products with THC are more heavily restricted, requiring a prescription to purchase from a doctor. You must have a valid condition to buy one of these products, such as anxiety, in addition to having already tried other treatment options before CBD can be used. You’ll then need to apply for a script and purchase your product in a participating pharmacy that stocks CBD.
In Australia, CBD is legal but has restrictions on who can buy it, under what circumstances, and what types of products are available. It was legalised in 2016 for medical purposes. In 2021, the TGA rescheduled CBD to enable its availability in low-dose formulations without a prescription. Check in with your Doctor if you want to explore it as an option for your health and well-being.
Bringing CBD oil into or out of Australia is subject to specific controls due to it being a restricted medicine in high-dose forms. Importing it without proper authorization may lead to legal consequences. If you have a valid doctor’s prescription, it is generally safe to bring it into the country; however, this should be confirmed with the Australian authorities before doing so to avoid risks. Similarly, for travelling overseas with CBD, check the laws and rules around importing CBD or cannabis medications before you arrive to prevent any legal risk.
The regulations regarding bringing CBD gummies into Australia would be similar to those for CBD oil. As a prescription medicine, CBD gummies are subject to the same restrictions, and importing them without proper authorization may lead to legal issues.
Some pharmacies or chemists in Australia dispense CBD oil either as over-the-counter medication or if you have a valid prescription. To do so, they need a specialist license as part of the Special Access Scheme for cannabis medicines in Australia. It’s recommended to check with individual pharmacies or consult a healthcare professional to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on where to find CBD oil in pharmacies like Chemist Warehouse.
CBD in Australia is now more accessible than ever and can be purchased in many locations, including pharmacies, online CBD shops, hemp stores and cannabis dispensaries. But before you start shopping, you should know the rules, restrictions, and risks of buying CBD in Australia. Only low-dose CBD oil can be purchased today without a doctor’s prescription. High-strength products or those containing THC require a script from a medical practitioner to obtain. Getting ahold of one can take some time and be challenging, besides finding a pharmacy that carries CBD and can fill it. It can also be expensive but guarantees a robust, safe, quality product. No matter how you choose CBD, Remember to prioritize product quality, comply with regulations, and check in with your trusted GP or medical practitioner throughout the process.