Can I buy CBD Oil in Pharmacies in Australia? [UPDATED 2022]

CBD or Cannabidiol oil has increasingly and continually gained widespread use, adoption and popularity across the world in the last two decades. The latest country which has inclusively jumped on the bandwagon to step towards integrating it into medical and pharmaceutical channels is from a regulatory standpoint is Australia.

The reason for its widespread popularity in Australia and across the world is that it is a fantastic therapeutic supplement to reduce and treat chronic pain caused due to chronic inflammatory issues like arthritis, injury recovery and neurological ailments. It is also widely used across Australia and other nations because of its lack of side effects, strong safety profile, high efficacy and non-psychoactive effects. With time, CBD oil’s acceptance as the treatment option for chronic ailments seems to continues to skyrocket because research studies have declared CBD oil as a non-psychoactive cannabinoid extract with a slew of medical benefits.  

Medicinal Cannabidiol or CBD oil is now legal in Australia for ‘over the counter’ or OTC purchases and is available from pharmacies, cannabis clinics, and chemists since the recent change in legislation in February 2021 in all parts of Australia. If you want to buy CBD oil from any local pharmacy in Australia, you need to receive a prescription for CBD oil from your doctor in order to proceed with the legal purchase of CBD oil in your local pharmacy or chemist (its via prescription only). The most common question which every pharmacist in Australia receives is “Can I buy CBD oil in pharmacy over the counter?” Our verdict is “Yes.” The important question you need to answer for yourself (both personally and with your physicians medical advice) is what dosage and protocol of cannabidiol intake you should follow for the best results. It’s critical to understand that there are both high dosage and low dosage types of Cannabidiol oil. What’s common amongst both categories is that they contain either zero or very trace amounts of THC importantly which is how they are registered for sale as OTC.

 Pharmacists in Australia have started sourcing and providing high quality medical grade CBD oil from select wholesalers which has medicinal properties in the form of:

  • CBD Isolate Oil: this is the purest form of CBD supplement –  containing up to 99% of only the cannabidiol compound as either oil or tincture (with carrier oil)
  • Full Spectrum CBD Oil: It has CBD as well as a blend of other hemp based plant compounds like chlorophyll, phytocannabinoids, antioxidants, cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and CBA plus long chain fatty acids and GLA.
  • Broad Spectrum CBD Oil: This oil has traces of cannabis oil, but is without THC which makes it one of the best fits as medicinal CBD oil.

However, if you want to buy a higher dosage of CBD oil especially full-spectrum CBD oil, remember you require a prescription from a medical specialist. The price of CBD oil depends upon the potency, brand, and strength and typicall ranges from the $100 to $400 Australian dollar mark. The drug was originally changed from illegal to being legalised in 2016 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (or TGA) but only for approved use from certain pharmacies for OTC purchase and only for use with medical prescription for high dose CBD.

In our write up here, we’ll outline the reason why CBD oil has become so popular in modern Australia, how it is considered one of the most promising upcoming solutions for many chronic ailments and other health issues, and how can you buy CBD oil in pharmacy Australia. Let’s begin with some context and background around what CBD oil is, why Australians are increasingly seeking it out for use, and how and where you can buy CBD oil from pharmacy Australia over the counter with a prescription.

What exactly is CBD oil?

CBD or cannabidiol is a compound naturally produced by the hemp or cannabis plant with a huge array of beneficial anti inflammatory and antioxidative effects. This compound is able to be extracted from particular types of hemp and marijuana plants called Cannabis Sativa. It is a concentrated chemical when extracted from the plant via a multi-stage extraction process (using either solvents or CO2 gas) to derive Cannabidiol. Because of its properties in having a wide range of the therapeutic health benefits that are associated specifically with cannabis but without the risk and downside of being psychoactive, its seeing heightened experimentation and use in the medical community. The oil itself comes from the leaves, flowers, and a little bit from the stalk of the hemp or marijuana plant.

Once removed from the plant and isolated, CBD oil is suspended in a carrier oil which is made from various natural sources such as grape seed, olive, palm, sunflower, coconut, or other similar fat based oils which assist with the body’s absorption.

How is CBD usually taken?

While more and more innovative methods of dosing are being discovered or developed over time such as sublinguals, inhalers, baked goods and more, the most tried and true method to take CBD oil is usually orally or via a dropper. The other main method is absorbing in the mouth by holding the oil under your tongue for faster absorption into the bloodstream and cells. Swallowing and sublingual methods have little difference other than speed of effect – swallowing means it can however be combined with food or other edible products to improve flavour and taste.

Considerations while taking cannabis oil

One must consider the following things when taking Cannabidiol:

Taste: Firstly prepare for the taste – CBD oil has an earthly, often bitter taste and is unpalatable to many. Hence, the tip to manage this problem for the person who cannot swallow or eat bitter things is that they should first coat their mouth with a fatty rich food before taking CBD oil – you might also look to combine the product with sweet or flavourful foods to mask the taste.

Foods that have healthy fats like yogurt or avocado can help prevent the taste buds that are present on your tongue naturally from being exposed too much to the flavour while also aiding absorption of the compound.

Terpenes: these are natural chemicals present in CBD oil that have a strong smell that can irritate some people. There are a couple of solutions to the terpene smell issue. Firstly you might want to try CBD isolates instead of full or broad spectrum CBD oils – this strips away the terpenes and other plant compounds in the hemp end-product. You might also be able to adjust to it by using the oil more over time – smells may take time to get used to. In either case, mentally preparing yourself beforehand about this aspect of CBD oil will ensure you don’t turn your nose away after the first try.

Maximising Absorption: Like many other cannabinoids (including THC), the CBD compound is naturally carried, and best absorbed via lipids (also known as fats). You’ll find that your body also stores the compounds in fats when metabolising it (hence why users may find traces of it in their hair and skin oils naturally for long periods – this doesn’t have side effects).

It is recommended that CBD oil should be taken with or after healthy, long chain fatty rich food because these substances enhance the uptake and usage of CBD oil into the body which improves metabolism. You might find that if you’re using a tincture or carrier oil based product (ie the oil is suspended in a liquid like coconut or olive oil) its already combined with fats and will more effectively be absorbed by the body.

How Can I Buy CBD Oil Legally at Chemist Near Me?

You might have been following the recent news and developments in Australia and be asking the same question we had a couple of months ago – “How can I buy CBD oil legally in pharmacy Australia?” The great news is we were able to answer this and our query was resolved. Let’s clear up the confusion here and assist you in your understanding. You do not need to wander the depths of the internet to seek the answer to this question; our handy guide here outlines the information you need to know before you decide to pursue purchasing CBD oil from your local pharmacy in Australia.  

The process of buying and selling CBD products in Australia especially the key consumable types of CBD oil such as full-spectrum CBD oil, CBD isolate oil, and broad-spectrum CBD oil requires approval and a prescription from an Australian registered doctor or general practitioner. The team of health practitioners and Australian registered health or care providers work together as a helping hand for people residing in all parts of Australia to help them understand and decide whether or not CBD oil is the right choice for their health. Doctors will assess a person’s health condition and examine his or her personal circumstances to assist in determining which type of CBD oil treatment is appropriate. It might not necessarily be prescribed in all cases – the individual and their health condition will determine when and how it can be used.

Therefore, if you want to buy CBD oil or want to consult the doctor for having his or her suggestion about using CBD oil, you should be prepared to both describe your current health issues or conditions in depth, any symptoms you might have as well as understanding what your medical history and previous conditions are. Documenting these shouldn’t be necessary as doctors have access to your history in their databases. You’ll also need to share a summary of treatments you have tried in recent months or weeks, a list of medications you have used or are currently using, current as well as previous diagnosis reports. These all things are important for a doctor because he or she can access your health condition and your suitability for treatment through medicinal CBD oil. Once your Australian registered medical practitioner prescribes you the type of medicinal CBD oil that best suits your condition needs, go to your local pharmacy nearby you, give them the prescription, and grab your medicinal CBD oil legally and easily. Note the cost of legal CBD can be significantly high – up to several hundred dollars a vial.

What types of CBD oil products are available in pharmacies in Australia?

It’s now possible to get cannabidiol oil or CBD oil from certain local pharmacies in Australia which will not have more than 0.3% THC in it (most have much closer to 0%). It contains an active profile of ingredients named Terpenes and Cannabinoids which are usually dissolved into carrier oil which is made by the manufacturers and vary in their profile, concentration and quality due to different sources and extraction processes manufacturers obtain their end products from.

Carrier oil is made from a wide range of natural sources such as coconut, sunflower, palm, olive, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), grape seed, etc. The reason for using different carrier oils with cannabidiol is to both carry and ensure equal distribution and dilution of the chemical, as well as enhancing absorption. One thing you must do whenever you visit your doctor for a prescription is to inform him or her about your allergies that you’re aware of because your doctor will prescribe you the CBD oil that can avoid any carrier oil or additional additive that may trigger allergies.

An important restraint to be aware of is dosage strength – the new laws will mean CBD dosages available are limited to 150mg a day, typically seen as lower on the dosage spectrum compared to other high dose products or usage protocols. Efficacy of CBD at lower dosages is not as strong compared to high dose protocols, meaning the effects and symptom reduction you may experience will be likely reduced. It should still enable the mitigation and assistance in managing issues like pain, inflammation and anxiety however.

Considerations When Buying Cannabidiol from a Pharmacy in Australia

Things you should consider before or while buying any type of CBD oil from the pharmacy of Australia will include:

  • Prescription: The first and foremost step you should take is seeking a prescription from an Australian registered medical practitioner or physician to ensure you’re getting both the right product for your condition and that your pharmacy provides you with a solution that won’t trigger issues like allergies. Prescriptions are strictly required for high dosage variants of CBD products – you can only purchase low dosage CBD via over the counter methods.
  • Legality: Although CBD oil is legal in Australia now for OTC purchases since its legislation change in February of 2021, it is still prohibited and one can use it or purchase it without special access via prescription. Inform your doctor or care provider about any allergies before getting CBD oil prescribed.
  • Sourcing: You will encounter wait times of up to weeks or months if you want to buy CBD oil from a pharmacy in Australia because first, a pharmacy asks you for a prescription, and then they have to get special approval from the health department of Australia to provide you the particular type of CBD oil your doctor has prescribed you. No doubt, it is a time-consuming process.
  • Risks: Your pharmacy as well as your doctor needs to ensure before prescribing and selling you CBD oil that it won’t interact with you negatively because it has traces of THC. They also must understand what existing medications you may be taking as CBD can negatively interact with other prescriptions. It is processed by the liver and, like grapefruit or other liver processed natural compounds, they can occupy the liver and prevent it from maximally and safely processing and removing the toxins from other medications.

The above-mentioned items are just a few of the things one should consider prior to also checking with your doctor, GP, or medical specialist.  

Why did countries ban hemp originally?

The answer is complex and very likely has impacts from lobby groups and various industries with commercial incentives towards getting hemp banned in the US, Australia, and similar countries for its medicinal and industrial uses (which would compete with their own products – a key example of this being pharmaceutical companies). Hemp subspecies of cannabis have been conflated intentionally by these groups who in turn influenced political bodies and leaders in the 1970s to conflate the plant with Marijuana (the psychoactive cannabis variety) to stifle its growth, use and development economically. The FDA banned the product and classified it as a controlled substance despite not being a drug or generating any high like Marijuana. As a result, the US (with most similar Western nations like Australia following suit) didn’t have any usage of hemp and it was essentially blocked-in progression and adoption for decades. 

Recent times have seen a huge shift in perception, legal treatment, and commercial outcomes for hemp however, leading to a renaissance in its application in society both for health food and therapeutic use as well as industrially produced goods. Over time the US has relaxed its restrictive laws on hemp. This has come at the same time as its shift in mindset and laws on cannabis which was legalised in many US states such as California and Colorado for recreational use in 2018 (although it remains illegal at a national level). With these changes the door was opened for hemp to become legal, with the government understanding its economic potential and highly useful capacity.

Whether you’re buying hemp protein, using hemp moisturisers and creams (which are excellent for your complexion), taking hemp as a dietary supplement or using it for hemp fibre shirts, bags, or cloth, you can do so legally today without worry about the product. Its huge versatility has led to thousands of applications of hemp oils and fibres in countries with both advanced and emerging economics. 

Final Thoughts

To wrap up our quick guide here, you’re now able to buy CBD oil in certain local pharmacies in Australia you have a prescription from an Australian registered medical specialist or care provider. Not all pharmacists will stock or be able to provide you with CBD but major branches or stores should have it available. Before seeking a Cannabidiol oil prescription, as a patient you’ll have to go through both a screening, assessment and approval process from your doctor and the government which can take weeks or months to complete. They’ll need to know in depth any existing medications and allergies you may have to help assess risks to your health from adding a new health medication, so be particularly careful if you’re already using a medicine which is taxing on your liver and is processed orally. It’s great news for many that the regulatory environment in Australia is catching up with the rest of the western nations and becoming aware and accepting of new and highly effective medicinal compounds like CBD for the benefit of all those in need.