Is it legal to buy CBD in Australia?

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CBD has become widely talked about in Australia. Over the past few years, CBD has gone from being an unknown 3-letter acronym to a global phenomenon.  Essentially, CBD (cannabidiol) is the compound found in hemp and cannabis – but it’s extracted without the THC, meaning it has none of the psychoactive components of cannabis.

CBD is claimed to boast a wide range of benefits. Some are well researched and proven, such as helping seizures, whilst others are less researched, such as helping treat anxiety.

Ultimately, though, this is a step towards gaining the benefits of cannabis but mitigates some of its risks and symptoms. Sales from sites within, for example, have seen tremendous increases.

Because it derives from cannabis, it had been illegal to buy in CBD in Australia for a long, long time. This all changed in 2021 when it suddenly became legal to purchase products containing low-dose CBD over the counter. It was the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) that down-scheduled CBD from being a prescription medicine to a pharmacist-only medicine.

Technically, CBD has been legal since 2015, but there are levels of legality, making it a confusing grey area for customers. To this day, CBD is still a controlled registered medicine that cannot be freely bought and sold without prescription. 

How CBD took the wellness industry by storm

CBD has become a globally popular product because of its wide array of benefits, yet with very few drawbacks or symptoms. Nevertheless, it’s wise to check with your doctor before consuming CBD.

CBD became a big hit among influencers, who have been not only been getting paid to promote CBD but have set up their own CBD companies. Because of the product homogeneity, it quickly became an easy business to source the products whilst relying on great branding to make you stand out.

Unlike other untested products like diet pills, which are also popular, CBD is constantly being researched. Its anti-inflammatory properties are well known, which is why it was popular as a skincare treatment for acne.

When you’re also being told it will make you relaxed, sleep better, and subdue aches and pains, the product is very sellable.

What is Cannabidiol CBD? Is CBD oil legal?

What we do not yet know about CBD

One aspect of CBD that needs further research is chronic pain. Whilst cannabis in its purity is well researched to be effective in treating chronic pain, CBD is yet to be recognised as having the same level of efficacy. However, research from the European Journal of Pain showed that CBD may help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis.

The reason why research remains in its infancy is because of the legality issues surrounding CBD. It was only in 2015-2018 that Europe and the US began legalising CBD, so before then it wasn’t on the radar of scientific research as much.

The future of CBD in Australia

The trajectory of CBD appears to be towards complete legalisation. This has been the trend in the west, and it’s unlikely Australia will resist this movement indefinitely. It’s likely that as the research builds in favour of CBD over the next few years, pressure will grow in Australia to clear up the concerns around partial legalisation and other regulations.

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