Is CBD Oil Legal in Australia 2024?

is cbd oil legal?
is cbd oil legal?
Is CBD oil legal in Australia? Yes, but it's complicated. Although you can purchase CBD without a prescription, there are still some caveats.
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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • CBD has potential pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, although more research is needed for conclusive evidence.
  • CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which may help reduce inflammation and alleviate arthritis pain.
  • Some studies suggest CBD oil may help relieve joint pain caused by arthritis, but further research is required for definitive conclusions.
  • CBD oil is often considered a natural alternative to traditional arthritis medications, but professional advice should be sought before making any changes.
  • The best type of CBD oil for arthritis may vary, but high-quality products and different formulations like full-spectrum or broad-spectrum can be considered.
  • Possible cons include interactions with other medications, potential side effects, and lack of regulation and standardization in the industry.

Table of Contents

Overview

what is the TGA?Is CBD oil legal in Australia 2024? 

Yes, CBD oil is legal in Australia but it’s complicated. 

On the 15th of December 2020 the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) officially downgraded low dose cannabidiol (CBD) from a prescription only medicine to an over the counter drug[1].

This means you can now legally buy CBD oil without having to go through your doctor or medical practitioner. However, that doesn’t mean that CBD oil is completely unregulated—it still has some strict regulations around it. Let’s dive a little deeper! 

What is the TGA? 

 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is an Australian Government body that regulates therapeutic products. It is part of the department of health and acts as a regulator to safeguard Australians from unsafe or ineffective products.

The TGA has a strong focus on consumer protection, which can be seen in their processes for approving new drugs and medicines. They also take consumer feedback and concerns into account when considering whether a product should be approved.

All products which have therapeutic claims such as CBD oil must first be approved by the TGA before being sold in Australia[2].

Over the counter CBD oil at Chemist Warehouse 

Since February 2021 chemists have legally been able to sell CBD products over-the-counter in Australia with the restriction that the maximum dosage not exceed 150mg of CBD per day[3]. These products must be 98% CBD with less than 1% respectively for THC and other non-CBD cannabinoids (CBN, CBC etc.)[8].

But here’s where things get tricky… If a company wants to sell CBD products in Australia, they first have to get approval from the TGA. This approval process is lengthy and can take anywhere from months to years. And even after approval has been granted, there are still some additional steps that must be taken before the product(s) are ready for commercial distribution and sale. The bureaucratic lag in approval has created a bizarre environment where customers can legally buy CBD, but can’t find any products available for purchase over the counter.

Related Article: CBD Oil at Priceline Pharmacy

However, it is not all doom and gloom! The medical cannabis company Cannatrek recently signed a landmark deal to stock their low dose CBD oil at Chemist Warehouse[4], which means you should see products stocked on the shelves soon. Some experts predict these low dose CBD products will be available for over the counter purchase in mid 2024, but at this point it’s all speculation.  

Is hemp seed oil the same as CBD oil? 

Lucid Dream | Lullaby Luxury  If you’re confused about the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, you’re not alone! Many people think they are the same thing, but they actually have very different properties.

Hemp seed oil is made by cold pressing hemp seeds, whereas CBD oil is made through a specialised extraction process that uses the leaves, stalks and flowers of the hemp plant[12]. Hemp seed oil does not contain any CBD. 

Hemp seed oil is classified as a vegetable oil similar to olive oil or avocado oil. You can find it in the cooking oil aisle at your local supermarket. 

Beware of shady companies marketing hemp seed oil as CBD oil, they are two completely different products! 

Where can I buy CBD oil in Australia?

In Australia, you can buy CBD oil via two means. The first is via an authorised prescriber, which is your doctor who prescribes it as part of a treatment plan. The other way is to buy it online from an unregistered seller. Both of these routes have their pros and cons, so let’s discuss them. 

Buying CBD oil via prescription in Australia

We know that low dose CBD oil is legal in Australia and may be purchased over the counter, but there are currently no products available for purchase in store as the TGA has not approved these CBD products for sale yet. 

Currently, the only CBD oil that is available to purchase in store at a pharmacy is medicinal cannabis[5]. These TGA approved products require a prescription as they do not fit the low dose CBD oil requirement and often contain THC which is a controlled substance in Australia. 

Accessing medicinal cannabis is quite simple. Firstly, speak with your doctor about your health concerns. Your doctor will then consider your condition and if CBD oil is an appropriate treatment

option[6]. Keep in mind, most doctors will not prescribe medicinal cannabis for short term relief of symptoms, but rather only to patients who suffer from a chronic condition. 

The most cost effective way is to book an appointment with a bulk billing GP and explain your circumstances. Don’t be fooled by expensive specialist consultations, in NSW any doctor can legally prescribe cannabis as a medicine for a health condition![7] You do not need to see a “cannabis doctor”. 

Lucid Dream | Lullaby Luxury However, a problem arises as many Australians are only interested in trying CBD oil for its wellness benefits and are ineligible for a prescription as they do not have a chronic condition. Which is why many Australians are simply jumping online to purchase low dose CBD oil products which are legal and do not require a prescription.

Buying CBD oil online in Australia 

A quick google search for “buy CBD oil australia” will reveal hundreds of companies selling CBD oil online. But how is this possible? Don’t companies need their low dose CBD oil products approved by the TGA? Well, there’s a bit of a legal loophole that we’ll further explain.    

These companies are registered in countries like the UK[9] and USA[10] where hemp laws are more progressive and well defined – unlike in Australia! In these countries, CBD is legal if it is derived from hemp, contains less than 2% THC and is not marketed as a medicine. This means that these companies do not require any government approval before selling their products to Australians. 

If you don’t have a medical condition, purchasing CBD oil online might be one of the only ways to access CBD oil as an Australian. But are you breaking the law if you purchase CBD oil online? 

To the best of our knowledge, you would not be breaking any laws if you purchased low dose CBD oil online from a company who shipped their products domestically. This is due to the fact that you are within your right to legally purchase low dose CBD oil as previously outlined by the TGA[3]

We believe all Australians should have access to CBD oil which is why we provide monthly product recommendations of Aussie brands that ship domestically. You can check them out on our homepage! 

Related: Buying Medical Cannabis in Australia

Can I legally ship CBD oil into Australia? 

Technically, you are not legally allowed to ship CBD oil into Australia unless you hold an import licence[11]. But there are still hundreds of overseas companies shipping thousands of orders to Australian customers without any problems. But how do they do it? The simple answer is that most of these packages get through without a problem. We can’t give you any guarantees, but we’ll do our best to explain the grey area of the law. 

Related: Is CBD Vape Juice In Australia Legal?

So, Can You Ship CBD Oil into Australia? 

According to The Office of Drug Control, you may import the following hemp items without an import licence[11]

  • Hulled hemp seeds
  • Hemp seed meal
  • Hemp fibre
  • Hemp seed oil if:
    • the total cannabidiol (CBD) content of the hemp seed oil is 0.0075% (75mg/kg) or less, and
    • the total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of the oil is 0.005% (50mg/kg) or less

However, with these restrictions the CBD content is so low that it is basically non-existent. 

The law is quite confusing and definitely needs to be updated. On one hand, low-dose CBD oil is legal in Australia[3] and will soon be found on the shelves at Chemist Warehouse. But on the other hand, it’s technically not allowed for importation into Australia – something that doesn’t really make sense to most people.

Lucid Dream | Lullaby Luxury If you’re worried or stressed about ordering CBD oil from an overseas company, we recommend choosing a brand that ships domestically from Australia. This way you wouldn’t be breaking any import laws and as long as the CBD oil meets the low dose requirements (98% CBD at less than 150mg/day dosage) then it is lawful to buy without a prescription.

What happens if customs finds CBD oil? 

Okay, let’s talk about the worst case scenario, you’ve ordered CBD oil from an overseas company and customs has opened your package and inspected it. What are the legal repercussions? 

Firsty, you’ll receive a letter in the mail explaining that customs has confiscated your parcel. The letter will give you the opportunity to reply with a doctor’s prescription to release the parcel from customs. If you do not respond to the letter and simply ignore it, your package will be destroyed and that will be the end of it.

It’s a similar case to importing Melatonin, a popular sleep supplement, that is legal over the counter without a prescription in low doses (less than 2mg). However, it is usually sold at much higher dosages to be clinically effective and with this in mind will be confiscated in the same manner. Funnily enough, we have experienced Melatonin being confiscated at customs but not CBD oil. 

Cannabis laws are becoming more progressive in Australia, we don’t believe anyone would be willing to prosecute consumers who have imported CBD oil online. From the best of our knowledge you will not receive a fine or any other legal action. In fact, in the ACT, you can legally grow up to two cannabis plants per person and possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis[13]. These laws were updated in January 2020 and reflect the Government’s changing attitude to help people get medicinal support and stay out of the justice system.

References 

  1. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (2022, June 21). Over-the-counter access to low dose cannabidiol. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.tga.gov.au/news/media-releases/over-counter-access-low-dose-cannabidiol 
  2. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (2022, August 14). What the TGA regulates. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.tga.gov.au/what-tga-regulates 
  3. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (2022, June 30). TGA warns consumers about potential harm from unlawfully supplied medicinal cannabis. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.tga.gov.au/news/news/tga-warns-consumers-about-potential-harm-unlawfully-supplied-medicinal-cannabis 
  4. Cannatrek signs medicinal cannabis strategic partnership agreement with chemist warehouse. Cannatrek. (2022, May 17). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://cannatrek.com/news-media/cannatrek-signs-medicinal-cannabis-strategic-partnership-agreement-with-chemist-warehouse/ 
  5. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (2022, August 11). Medicinal cannabis: Information for consumers. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.tga.gov.au/products/unapproved-therapeutic-goods/medicinal-cannabis-hub/medicinal-cannabis-information-consumers 
  6. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (2022, August 11). Medicinal cannabis: Information for consumers. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.tga.gov.au/products/unapproved-therapeutic-goods/medicinal-cannabis-hub/medicinal-cannabis-information-consumers 
  7. Talking to your doctor. Talking to your doctor | Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.medicinalcannabis.nsw.gov.au/patients/your-doctor 
  8. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (2022, June 21). New streamlined process for medicinal cannabis applications. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.tga.gov.au/news/media-releases/new-streamlined-process-medicinal-cannabis-applications 
  9. Drug licensing factsheet: Cannabis, CBD and other cannabinoids. GOV.UK. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cannabis-cbd-and-other-cannabinoids-drug-licensing-factsheet/drug-licensing-factsheet-cannabis-cbd-and-other-cannabinoids 
  10. Abernethy, A. (n.d.). Hemp production and the 2018 farm bill. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill-07252019 
  11. Fran.sheppard. (2018, July 3). Hemp products. Office of Drug Control. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://www.odc.gov.au/hemp-products 
  12. Vivek, V. (2022, February 7). The complete cycle of Hemp Oil Manufacturing. Hemp Foundation. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://hempfoundation.net/the-complete-cycle-of-hemp-oil-manufacturing/ 
  13. ACT Government; PositionTitle=Director; SectionName=Corporate Management; Corporate=Chief Minister and Treasury. (2019, April 9). Home. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://www.act.gov.au/cannabis/home#:~:text=If%20you%27re%20aged%2018,your%20home%20(personal%20use).
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