18th August 2022

Important Update: On February 1st 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia officially made the purchase of over-the-counter CBD oil without the need of a prescription, available at participating pharmacies and clinics. This decision allows a maximum daily dose of 150 milligrams of CBD isolate. This availability of low dose CBD oil is a big step forward for the medical cannabis industry. Higher CBD dosage products, as well as full-spectrum products (containing THC and other cannabinoids) continue to be available via prescription from access clinics throughout Australia. Please refer below.

 


 

Where Can I Buy CBD Oil Products in Australia?

The Australian Federal government introduced legislation to decriminalise the use and sale of medical cannabis in 2016.

There are multiple ways to access CBD Oil in Australia:

Government Approved Pathways 
  1. Through your doctor - to obtain a referral
  2. Through specialist clinics - GP referral required
  3. Through the extemporaneous Compounding Pathway - GP referral required
  4. Through an Online Integrated Clinic and Pharmacy Service - GP referral not required [NEW]
  5. Through low-dose products - GP referral not required [NEW]
Buying CBD Oil Online Illegally

6. Buying illegally from online stores  that do not have TGA approval of products, and without a valid prescription and referral from a doctor

 

cbd assist hero image

 

 

Government Approved Treatment Pathways

In Australia, patients are required to undergo the Special Access [1] or Authorised Prescriber Schemes [2] administered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to qualify for a special prescription to obtain medical cannabis medicines, also commonly referred to as medical marijuana.

There are 4 pathways to choose from:

1. Through your GP - to obtain a referral
  • Determine if you are currently being treated for a medical condition that can also be treated by cannabis (scroll down to the bottom of this page to see a list of approved previous illnesses)
  • Determine if your current treatment has not produced results and you are still having health problems
  • Talk to your GP and request that they provide your health summary and apply on your behalf to the TGA to get approval for them to prescribe you medical cannabis.

The challenge with going through your GP is that many doctors are not yet informed of medical cannabis nor have yet to be educated in the process to prescribe it or authorise it for their patients. This is slowly changing, with the growth of awareness and education with prescribing doctors.

 

2. Through a Specialist Clinic - GP referral required

If your GP doesn't know the process of applying for medical cannabis for you, you can seek the help of a specialist clinic. The following Australian clinics can assist patients with the process of qualifying and obtaining a legal prescription to purchase government-approved medical cannabis treatment options. This is the most common method for patients to legally buy CBD oil in Australia and receive medical cannabis treatment.

ClinicGP Referral NeededInitial ConsultationTGA ApplicationPrescription ConsultCheckups
Cannabis Access ClinicsNo$200
+$25 Screening Fee
$250$80$80
Cannabis Doctors AustraliaYes$199$0N/A$59
CannadocNo$250Varies$47$47
CannvalateNo$95N/A$25$75
Emerald ClinicsYes$380N/A$90$180
MediCannabisYes$250N/A$100$100
ReleafNo$195N/A$254$98.95
Tetra HealthYes$50N/A$250$150

 

3. Through Extemporaneous Compounding Pharmacies - GP referral required

Extemporaneous compounding is the preparation of a therapeutic product for an individual patient in response to an identified need. Active pharmaceutical ingredients can be incorporated into a wide array of products including creams, eye drops, nasal sprays, oral dosage forms or intravenous infusions.

The Therapeutic Goods Regulation Act 1990 initially had a restriction that prohibited compounding pharmacies from specifically producing cannabis medicines. In late 2017, this restriction was removed and Green Dispensary Compounding were the first Australian compounding pharmacy to gain confirmation and approval with the TGA to commence compounding and dispensing medical cannabis on prescription.

With the above two pathways (Special Access Scheme and Authorised Prescriber Schedule) being the most common, Extemporaneous compounding [Schedule 5 Subregulation 12(1) item 6] has also become available to patients as an alternate legal option. This scheme is available where a pharmacist exempt from holding a manufacturing license, can prepare and dispense any scheduled medicine from an order/prescription from a medical practitioner for a particular person for therapeutic application to that person.

More information: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019C00739.

 

 

4. Through an Online Integrated Clinic and Pharmacy Service - No GP referral required [NEW]

There are integrated clinics and pharmacy services comprised of healthcare professionals (doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists) that offer medical cannabis treatment through their online platforms. Within these integrated clinic and pharmacy services, the onboarding process of accessing medical cannabis is streamlined - the consultation, treatment and product delivery is all integrated in one service.

  • CA Connect (part of the CA Clinics) is the first company in Australia to do this.

According to their website:

  • No referral or health summary is needed
  • Ongoing support and follow-ups
  • Direct access to CA Clinics for treatment of more complex conditions

Learn more

 

 

 

5. Through Low-Dose CBD products - GP referral not required [NEW]

On February 1st, 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia officially made it legal to purchase of over-the-counter CBD oil without the need of a prescription. This groundbreaking change in regulation allows people  purchase products containing low-dose (less than 150 milligrams a day) CBD over the counter after the TGA down-scheduled low dose CBD Oil products from a Schedule 4 (prescription medicine) to a Schedule 3 (pharmacist-only medicine).

  • Chemist Warehouse, Australia’s largest pharmacy chain, will be able to supply low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) products to the masses after an exclusive supply deal with the medicinal cannabis company Cannatrek.  Chemist Warehouse does not stock CBD Oil yet, but we expect to see low dose CBD Oil available on their shelves across Australia later in the year.

 

Purchasing Products Unapproved by the TGA

6. Buying CBD Oil Online Illegally

Due to the desperation or nature of their suffering and illnesses, some Australians are choosing to illegally buy CBD Oil online, instead of the legal government-approved prescribed method outlined below. Many attempt the quick and easy method of purchasing CBD products online from local and international sellers, without obtaining a valid prescription. This creates a lack of education of the right product to take, correct dosage amounts, scam products with false claims of quality, prescriptions and overall control and monitoring of the clinical trials and efficacy of the alleged health benefits.

With many "backyard brands" and scam "black market" products flooding Australia, we are hearing of many people getting scammed by sellers that have little to no CBD content in their products. Our mission is to educate the Australian community in making a more informed decision of their approach to medical cannabis therapies.

IMPORTANT: Please read the following information before you consider to purchase CBD from online sellers.

  • A valid prescription in Australia is required to legally use medical cannabis and CBD products
  • There is potential for orders to be stopped at customs for being hemp products
  • By purchasing online, your feedback is not added to the health data that is collected by Australian doctors and clinics during the government approved pathways process

 

 


 

What illnesses are approved for medical cannabis treatment?

The following is a list of illnesses that may get approved for the Special Access Scheme and clinical trials for CBD Oil use. The following illnesses have been approved by the TGA in the past to treat symptoms:

  • Anorexia and wasting associated with chronic illness
  • Anxiety [3]
  • Autism symptoms
  • Cancer pain
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic infection
  • Chronic pain [4]
  • Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Depression
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy / Seizure management
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Neuropathies
  • Opioid dependence
  • Palliative care
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Post CVA Neuropathy
  • PTSD  [5]
  • Radiculopathies
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Spasticity from neurological conditions
  • Tremors

Learn more about the potential therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis for your body and how it effects your Endocannabinoid System

 

CBD Products

Explore different ways your body take Cannabidiol

 

Australian Medical Cannabis Market Trends H1 2021

The following insights of medicinal cannabis and CBD oil Australia data trends are from the Fresh Leaf Analytics h1 2021 report.

FreshLeaf Analytics indicated that patient numbers have grown 15x from just two years ago. Patient numbers have increased from ~30,000 active patients at the end of 2020 to ~45,000 at the close of Q1 2021. This is a sharp increase from ~3,000 active patients just two years ago. FreshLeaf estimates that Australia will continue to see patient numbers climb with ~75,000 active patients forecast in December 2021.

Active Patient Forecast - 2021

medical cannabis patient trends 2021

 

 

Product Growth

FreshLeaf data indicates that that the number of products has doubled each year since 2018. There are now 190 products available for doctors to prescribe to patients in Australia, bringing choice but also challenges. Medicinal cannabis products remain highly commoditised and there is little ability for physicians to differentiate between them beyond formulation and price.

medical cannabis products available 2021

 

 

Number of Medicinal Cannabis Product Variety Expands in the Australian Market

cbd oil product types 2021

Oil products continue to dominate category share, as the most prescribed product type. Flower & Granulated Flower category share have increased since 2020. Chews, also known as edibles in the US, are the newest format to be introduced in 2021.

Increase in products containing THC

Almost 70% of products that entered the market over the past six months were Schedule 8 products, containing >2% THC. Schedule 8 medicines that can only be supplied by a pharmacist on prescription and are subject to tight restrictions because of their potential to produce addiction. They are often referred to as 'drugs of addiction'. Morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl are examples of S8 drugs.

For more insights read: Fresh Leaf Analytics h1 2021 report.

 

 

New to Medical Cannabis and CBD?

Explore Our Beginner's Guide to CBD Today

What is CBD?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is one of the main components found in the cannabis plant. As a phytocannabinoid, Cannabidiol is known for its highly beneficial medical properties without imparting any psychoactive effects.

Cannabidiol, is an active ingredient found in cannabis sativa or hemp plant. Among over 100 natural active cannabinoids, CBD is presently known as a potent supplement with promising effects if taken alone or as a complementary drug along with conventional medication.

Cannabidiol is currently a scheduled drug in Australia:

  • Schedule 3 (Pharmacist Only Medicine) - low-dose CBD products, up to a maximum of 150 mg/day
  • Schedule 4 (Prescription Only Medicine) - higher dosage content CBD products, containing more than 150mg/day and other cannabinoids such as THC.

 

How Does CBD Work?

When many people hear CBD Oil and Cannabis Oil, their focus shifts towards marijuana and then associate it with the negative stigmas that follow the subject of recreational drug use. CBD, although developed from cannabis sativa hemp plant, is not psychoactive which means that their chances of becoming “high” is non-existent, unless the product contains THC.

There are hundreds of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most famous cannabinoids, next to tetrahydrocannabinol thc. CBD is not psychoactive and does not produce the same kind of euphoric side effects that THC does, meaning that it makes it ideal for people to use it consistently for health issues without the worry of becoming addicted to a “high”.

The human body has an Endocannabinoid system that assists in regulating inflammation, mood, sleep and our immune system. CBD Oil allows our bodies to optimise our own natural cannabinoids produced by our body. We have two main receptors: CB1 (brain and nervous system), and CB2 (immune system). Tetrahydrocannabinol THC causes the body to become high by attaching itself to the brain’s receptors. CBD doesn’t attach itself directly. Instead, it influences the body’s supply to utilise itself more effectively, assisting in chronic pain management, and anti inflammatory benefits in the nervous system.

Did you know that animals also have an endocannabinoid system? Check out our page on cbd oil for dogs

 

What is CBD Used For?

The following is a list of illnesses that may get approved for the Special Access Scheme and clinical trials for use of cbd oil medication. These illnesses have been approved for cannabis oil use by the Therapeutic Goods Association in the past.

  • Anorexia and wasting associated with chronic illness
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Autism symptoms
  • Cancer pain
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic infection
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy / Seizure management
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Neuropathies
  • Opioid dependence
  • Palliative care
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Post CVA Neuropathy
  • PTSD
  • Radiculopathies
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Spasticity from neurological conditions
  • Tremors

 

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate CBD Oil - which do I choose to buy?

Before buying, it is crucial to know the 3 classifications of Cannabinoid Products:

Full Spectrum CBD Oil
  • Contains CBD and all natural compounds of the plant
  • Contains trace amounts of THC
  • Not recommended for users who want to avoid THC (can test positive in drug tests)
  • Ideal for those with a specific prescription with a THC to CBD ratio
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
  • Contains CBD and all natural compounds of the plant
  • Does not contain THC
  • Ideal for first-time users
CBD Isolate
  • Contains all only one compound: Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Does not contain THC
  • Ideal for those who require specific high doses of CBD only

 

 

What Products are There?

Oil Droppers / Tinctures

CBD Oil droppers/ tinctures are a form that can be taken orally. It has gained popularity from users due to its versatility. This type of CBD hemp oil usually comes with a dropper or spray bottle, making it simple for user to put the product on their tongue and let is be absorbed into their mouth and system. Tinctures can come in various flavours and are ideal for first timers.
Prices for CBD tinctures range from $40AUD to $300AUD.

 

Concentrates and Pastes

Concentrates, pastes and extract are for the people that want the strongest CBD value they can get. These products are comprised of pure CBD oil, meaning that the CBD concentration will always be high. This type acts fast, absorbing into the system in about 15 minutes, and then lasts in the body up to 12 hours. This might not be the best choice for a novice as it takes a high tolerance to handle this and there is also a strong hemp taste.

Price to buy CBD oil and concentrates range from $280 to $420.

 

Vape Oil

For the people that would prefer to vape, there are now vape oils infused with CBD. This product is also ideal because it allows users to safely inhale the product and absorb the CBD through the lungs. The effects can be felt almost immediately and can last up to six hours.  This method requires some more investment than the others because vape oil can be difficult to use and a person will also have to buy an e-pen or vaporiser. Before spending the extra money, it’s important to determine if you truly prefer this method over the others. This method is more common in the United States than in Australia.

Prices for vape oils range from $20 to $180.

 

 

Topical Creams

There are now lotions, oils, and balms that are infused with CBD. They are rubbed onto the skin and absorbed to provide joint pain relief, inflammation, and muscle soreness. Anecdotally, this is the easiest form of using CBD oils but it is also the slowest. Once applied, it takes one to two hours to be fully absorbed into the system and depending on strength, it can last six to 12 hours.

Prices range for topical creams range from $15 to $120.

Capsules

CBD capsules and pills are absorbed into the stomach and can last between six to 12 hours. Since the capsules are digested in the gut, it can take a little longer (one to two hours) for the effects to happen. These pills usually come with a high concentration, meaning that while people are also getting their money’s worth here, it can be difficult for others to pinpoint how much CBD oil works for them.This type would better serve people that already know what their daily intake of CBD is so they can take their dose quickly without having to worry about anything else.

Prices range for capsules range from $40 to $200.

 

Edibles

CBD edibles, like  gummy bears and other candy varieties, come in a huge range of flavours and provide the users with something that is fun tastyWith edibles, it takes about one to two hours for the effects to kick in and they can last six to 12 hours, depending on the strength. Similar to vaping, edibles are more common in the United States and also slowly gaining popularity in Australia.

Prices for edibles start at $20.

 

 

Important Information For Beginners

Know the difference

It is important not to mistake 'hemp seed oil' with CBD Oil. Chemist warehouse, supermarkets and health food stores all stock hemp seed oil on their shelves, which is an omega-3 and omega-6 rich oil you can eat on your salads and soups. Hemp seed oil is well known for hair and skin health repair. It is quite common that many people mistake hemp seed oil for CBD oil.

Analyse the concentration amounts

Concentration amounts can be daunting for beginners, especially when there are so many choices available on the market. A beginner will have to determine through different usages and products what works for them and what makes them feel the best. This idea should also be taken into account with how long it takes your body to react to the effects and how long they last for. It takes the body a while to adjust to the effects and different concentrations of CBD so a person shouldn’t start out too strong and should expect a few weeks spent on experimentation and allowing their bodies to become used to CBD overall. As long as they are patient and just enjoy the CBD journey, they will find that concentrations and effects times are very simple to figure out.

CBD vs Marijuana

There is a big question of why someone should choose CBD over marijuana? For some people, they swear that marijuana provides better effects than any other cannabis product but what they are forgetting is that not everyone wants a psychoactive high caused by THC. CBD is a safer alternative for those who want to get the full effects of cannabis without the psychoactive effects. Since Australia still carries strict laws against marijuana, beginners are expected to choose CBD oil first. THC also has a range of side effects that many want to avoid. Serious and detrimental side effects of CBD are yet to be found.

As Australia continues to learn about medical cannabis and the efficacy of CBD Oils is really is the stigma should start fading away. It is estimated that CBD will provide a big market that will become a sizeable portion of the country’s economic success whilst just being a considerable alternative to marijuana and other organic hemp products that many people just aren’t that comfortable with yet.

 

Legalisation in Australia

New South Wales

As part of a clinical trial or under the Special Access or Authorised Prescriber Schemes administered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration Doctors in NSW can prescribe medicinal cannabis. There are no limits to the symptoms and conditions for which a medicinal cannabis product may be prescribed. Learn more at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation.

Victoria

Under the Victorian Access to Medicinal Cannabis Scheme and the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Act 2016, the first group of patients eligible to apply for medicinal cannabis is children with intractable epilepsy, under the care of a specialist paediatric neurologist. Check health.vic for details of when more patient groups will be added.

Australian Capital Territory

Doctors in the ACT can apply to the ACT Chief Health Officer for approval to prescribe cannabis products as “schedule 8” controlled medicines. Those medications can be used to treat spasticity in multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, pain and anxiety in patients with a life-limiting disease and a life expectancy of less than 12 months, and refractory paediatric epilepsy. Visit the ACT Health website for more info.

Queensland

Under the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Act 2016, Queensland doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients who suffer a range of conditions for which conventional treatments have either failed or caused intolerable side effects. Conditions include multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and chemotherapy. Contact Queensland Health for more details.

South Australia

Since November 2016, South Australian medical practitioners have been able to prescribe “schedule 8” medicinal cannabis products for therapeutic use. The conditions it can be used to treat include multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and intractable epilepsy in children. More information is available from SA Health.

Western Australia

Since November 2016, specialist doctors in Western Australia have been able to prescribe medicinal cannabis for certain conditions, such as terminally ill patients and for those suffering from a chronic condition. Visit the WA Government’s Department of Health for more information.

Northern Territory

Patients in the Northern Territory and Darwin can access medicinal cannabis through doctors who are authorised under the Special Access or Authorised Prescriber Schemes administered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Visit the Department of Health website for full details.

 

Tasmania

Under the Tasmanian Government’s medical cannabis controlled access scheme (CAS) launched in September 2017, specialists can prescribe medical cannabis where conventional treatment has been unsuccessful. Contact the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services for full details

 

Our Thoughts

By legalising CBD Oil in Australia, opportunities have been open for other medical treatments to be created through the cannabis industry. In 2022, CBD popularity continues to grow as a pioneer product, leading the way to potential success in the future within the medical field and potential safe recreational usage. Access to CBD oil and medicinal cannabis for Australians has known to be a challenge, but if it grows to become a household name within Australian society, concrete evidence of benefits, how people have been healed psychologically and physically, and other suggestions to how it, can be used towards health.

Australia is starting to scratch the surface of ventures with the medical cannabis industry and CBD in particular is growing more popular everyday. The negative discourse connected to CBD is that because it is a cannabis product, there is a stigma behind it that persuades people to believe that it is used as a recreational drug. As innovators, Australia has a duty to not only learn about CBD oil products and the industry, but also to inform the general public that the negative stigma of cannabis can be changed and that CBD can be a good investment for the country. It will serve as a leader that can be further advanced for potential therapeutic and medical breakthroughs.

 

Reference

[1] Special Access Scheme - by Australian Government Department of Health | Therapeutic Goods Administration, 18 September 2019

[2] Authorised Prescriber Scheme - by Australian Government Department of Health | Therapeutic Goods Administration, 3 July 2017

[3] Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules | Front Pharmacol, 13 November 2018

[4] Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series | Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 9 April 2019