Legality and Accessibility of CBD in Australia

australlia with sydney opera house displayed

Despite its many positive benefits, the convoluted legality surrounding cannabis and CBD products can put off interested potential users. While CBD has been legalized for over-the-counter sale in Australia, there are still some regulatory hoops to jump through.

Our goal in this post is to help clear up some of this confusion. Read on to learn more about the legality and accessibility of various CBD products in Australia. 

Legality

Early in 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) bumped CBD’s status down from a Schedule 4 substance to a Schedule 3 substance. Schedule 4 substances in Australia include prescription medications and must be prescribed by a physician for a diagnosed medical condition. Schedule 3 substances, on the other hand, are considered to have a weaker potential for abuse and do not require a prescription but can only be purchased at a pharmacy. 

This reclassification was likely due in part to pressure from consumers, the fact that CBD alone does not cause any psychoactive effects, and, to quote the TGA, because “known adverse effects of CBD at low doses are not serious.” 

After the TGA declared CBD a Schedule 3 substance, it became legal to purchase products containing low doses of CBD over the counter as of February 1, 2021. 

What Can You Buy? 

So far, not very much. The TGA’s decision is very recent, and it will likely take a while for approved CBD products to make it to market. Before any CBD-containing products can be offered for sale in Australia, they must first be approved by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). This could take quite a while and will limit the availability of CBD products for some time. 

Is CBD Oil Legal in Australia?

Indeed it is. In fact, at the moment, it is the only CBD product that can be legally sold over the counter. To be approved for sale in Australia, CBD oils must not contain more than 1% of CBD. Once CBD oils are approved, up to 150 mg a day will be available for purchase over the counter. 

Where to Buy CBD Oil in Australia

doctor prescribing cbd oil for medical use

While you’re waiting for CBD oil to become available in pharmacies, you do still have options, though some of them are a bit less than legal. Currently, your best options to access CBD oil in Australia are to go through a medical cannabis clinic, buy through the so-called green market, or order from abroad. 

Find a Medical Cannabis Clinic

If you would prefer to keep your CBD oil consumption completely above-board, this is likely the best option for you. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy, however. CBD oil accessibility in Australia is improving, but progress is still slow and some doctors are still hesitant to provide CBD as an option. 

However, finding a clinic with doctors who specialize in cannabis-based medicine can make the process a little easier. To qualify for medicinal CBD oil, you’ll need to: 

  • Be experiencing an ongoing medical concern such as chronic pain, insomnia or a sleep disorder, a seizure disorder, or any of several other conditions
  • Take a medical CBD eligibility test, available online.
  • Speak to your general practitioner to request a health summary.
  • This step can be a bit more difficult. You may need to submit your request in writing and provide various identifying documentation. 
  • Schedule an appointment with a professional cannabis clinician
  • This step is especially important. Doing your research is always a great idea, but it should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. A cannabis clinician can help advise you on the right CBD product for your situation and help you make the most of said product. This is also a good way to find a product containing both CBD and THC, as many illegally purchased products will be low in the latter. 

Buy Through a “Green Market” Australian Seller

This is not a legal process, but it is possible to access safe, effective products through the green market. However, more caution is needed here than when going through a legal route. Some disreputable companies will try to pass off products containing no CBD at all, and some green market products could contain toxins or harmful chemicals. 

One way to get started searching through the green market is through Facebook groups. There are social media groups out there for just about anything, and CBD oil is no exception. If this is the route you choose, make sure not to get all your information from Facebook groups run by CBD oil companies, as these will almost always come with a heavy bias. 

If you’d prefer to get started by asking around in person, you could also talk to folks in your local alternative wellness community. Just be sure to ask your questions with care: purchasing CBD oil this way is still illegal, regardless of the new Schedule 3 classification. 

Order CBD Oil Online from Overseas

a cargo ship going to australia

We’ve listed this option last for a reason. It’s extremely difficult to find a reputable company that is willing to ship CBD oil directly to Australia from abroad. This means that you’ll likely end up dealing with a somewhat sketchy company that’s willing to risk the potential legal ramifications. 

Also, any CBD oil product you try to order from abroad probably won’t contain that high of a CBD percentage. Any company operating outside the law and from outside of Australia’s borders doesn’t have much incentive to stand by their products. 

Finally, there’s a significant chance that your order will be stopped and confiscated at customs, leaving you to lose out on what was probably a substantial sum of money. 

Final Thoughts

As of December of 2021, CBD is now legal in Australia, which is a huge win for alternative medicine. However, it is only legal in small doses, is still heavily regulated, and will only be widely available on the market pending a lengthy review and certification process. 

You have several options to purchase CBD oil in Australia, though not all are legal. The safest option is the legal one: obtaining CBD oil through a medical cannabis clinic. This can take a while but is worth it for the professional advice and to be sure you’re receiving a quality product. 

FAQs About CBD Products In Australia

Question: What is a Schedule 3 drug in Australia?
Answer: In Australia, a Schedule 3 drug requires neither a prescription nor any form of close medical management. 

Question: Is CBD oil legal in Australia in 2021?
Answer: CBD oil is now legal in Australia, but it is not yet easily accessible. 

Question: Can I travel to Australia with CBD oil?
Answer: You may be able to travel to Australia with CBD oil if you first email [email protected] to make sure. The guidelines surrounding travel with CBD are still a bit nebulous, but you definitely can’t fly in with any product containing THC. 

Question: Why is medical cannabis so expensive in Australia?
Answer: The reason for the high price of medical cannabis in Australia is due both to extremely strict manufacturing and distributing regulations and to the fact that most cannabis in Australia is grown abroad and imported. 

Question: What is CBD oil prescribed for in Australia?
Answer: In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration currently states that medical cannabis, including CBD oil, can be prescribed for multiple sclerosis, management of nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, palliative care, chronic non-cancer pain, and pediatric and young adult epilepsy. 

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Gene Daniels

Gene Daniels

Gene is the head of the learning CBD Oil editorial team. He has been active in the hemp community for many years publishing works on hemp-based wellness. Mr. Daniels takes great care to ensure all health-related info is pulled from reputable resources and is free of personal bias.