Although CBD oil is legal in Australia, accessing it remains difficult. At this time, the only legitimate way to get CBD oil is by prescription from a doctor.
Low-dose CBD products can also be bought over-the-counter at pharmacies. However, there aren’t any products available yet because they have to pass a strict application process. Another option is to buy CBD oil from online companies, which is somewhat of a legal gray area.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can buy CBD oil in Australia, its legality, and review the top products.
How to Buy CBD Oil in Australia
There are three ways to buy CBD oil in Australia: get a prescription from a doctor, buy it from a pharmacy, or purchase it from an online CBD vendor.
At this time, the only legal way to access CBD oil in Australia is via a doctor’s prescription. Authorised Prescribers (APs) can write prescriptions directly, whereas other doctors have to apply through the Special Access Scheme (SAS).
Your chances of finding APs are highest in major Australian cities, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
This process can cost several hundred dollars for the appointment and consultation. It can also take several weeks before you get your CBD oil.
In December 2020, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) downregulated low-dose CBD preparations from Schedule 4 (Prescription Medicine) to Schedule 3 (Pharmacist Only Medicine).
This means that CBD oil providing a maximum of 150 mg CBD per day can be purchased from pharmacies without a prescription.
The only problem is that cannabis companies have to go through a lengthy application process to get their CBD products included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
As a result, Australians are not likely to see over-the-counter CBD oil until at least 2023.
Additionally, the CBD level of these products must account for 98% or more of the total cannabinoid content. This means that CBD oil manufacturers may need to remove some cannabinoids to keep their products compliant, reducing their effectiveness.
From Online CBD Companies
The third and last option is to buy CBD oil from online companies. Although not strictly legal, this option remains popular because it’s typically cheaper and easier than the prescription route.
There are some online CBD brands operating in Australia but most people buy from international companies. One example is Dr.Ganja, a popular American CBD and hemp vendor that ships worldwide.
However, there’s a risk of having your CBD oil package seized at the Australian border. There have even been reports of people receiving letters from the government saying that their CBD product was confiscated.
Top Online CBD Companies in Australia
At this time, there are few Australian CBD companies because CBD and cannabis are tightly regulated. While medical cannabis companies do exist in the country, they’re not yet able to sell any cannabis or CBD products directly to the public.
That’s why most Australians buy CBD oil online from international vendors that ship to Australia. Here’s a look at the top five options.
What Should You Look for When Buying CBD Products?
The CBD industry is largely unregulated – so, it’s important to do your due diligence when choosing CBD oil companies. Here are the criteria we use:
- Third-Party Testing – Third-party testing is done by an independent lab to see if a product contains as much CBD and other cannabinoids as advertised and is free of pesticides and other potential contaminants. Reputable CBD brands pay for this testing because it’s the best way to verify the safety and efficacy of CBD products. We recommend only buying from brands that provide access to these test results.
- Company Reputation & Transparency – Look for trustworthy vendors by reading customer reviews. You should also check the company’s website for information on where it’s located, where and how the hemp is grown and extracted, and other details that signal transparency.
- Hemp Source – CBD comes from hemp plants, so you want to choose brands that have a good source. Ideally, the hemp should be grown organically in Australia, the US, or Europe.
- CBD Type: There are three types of CBD: full-spectrum (contains all of hemp’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and potentially other compounds), broad-spectrum (same as full-spectrum but with zero THC), and isolate (pure CBD). If you’re looking for the greatest effects, you should opt for full-spectrum CBD oil, while the other types are better if you want to avoid THC.
- Potency: The strength of CBD oil is measured in milligrams (mg) per milliliter (ml). Ideally, you want to match your CBD dosage to the appropriate potency. For example, people who require higher CBD doses would prefer oils with high potency (50 mg/ml or higher).
- Pricing: The price of CBD oil doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality. You can find cheap, high-quality brands, and vice-versa. Having said that, it helps to know how much you’re paying per mg of CBD so you can compare the value of different products and see if you’re getting a good deal.
A Brief Legal History of CBD in Australia
In Australia, CBD is regulated the same way as cannabis. The country banned the import of cannabis in 1926, and individual states began to prohibit the plant in the following years.
It wasn’t until 2016 that Australia legalized the medical use of cannabis, allowing qualifying patients to access it through the country’s healthcare system.
Another important step came in 2019, when the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which includes the country’s capital Canberra, legalized adult-use cannabis.
More importantly, in 2020, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) made low-dose CBD products accessible in pharmacies without a prescription. However, these products won’t be available until at least 2023 because they have to pass a strict application process.