CBD Oil Australia: Is it legal?

Is CBD oil legal in Australia 2022? 

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.

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 2023, but at this point it’s all speculation.  

Is hemp seed oil the same as CBD oil? 

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”. 

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!