What is the Current Legal Status of Cannabidiol in Australia?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and its by-products are legal in Australia but for strictly medical purposes. The substance is classified as a Schedule 4 Substance under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
CBD — and cannabis — are regarded as unapproved substances under TGA guidelines. Given the medical efficacy of cannabis products, however, the government has provided a means in which CBD-based medications can be accessed by patients who need them. These provisions are documented in the Special Access Scheme
Under the Special Access Scheme (SAS), residents and citizens of Australia who require CBD for medical management can apply to the government for medical marijuana licenses. Once granted, patients will be able to access cannabis based products from licensed medical practitioners.
CBD products may also be obtained following the recommendations of a licensed medical practitioner who deems it necessary for the treatment of patient conditions.
It is curious to note, however, that hemp oils which contain less than 0.0075% cannabidiol and 0.005% tetrahydrocannabinol are available for mainstream purchase. This is possible under provisions made by the Office of Drug Control. This can be attributed to the fact that this percentage of CBD and THC is not considered therapeutic.
Is CBD Legal Anywhere in the World?
CBD is legal in a number of countries across the globe and it is increasingly finding acceptance at the highest levels. CBD extracted from the hemp plant is legal in more than 50 countries across the world. In the United States (US), CBD is legal in all states except Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota.
CBD extracted from the hemp plant contains significantly lower concentrations of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical compound responsible for the feelings of euphoria and elation experienced by most cannabis consumers and commonly referred to as a ‘high’. CBD derived from the hemp plant often contains as low as 0.3% THC.
Hemp, unlike marijuana, is not considered a controlled substance in many nations. It is non-psychoactive and is an active ingredient found in numerous common items including clothes and beauty products.
What are the Pros of Legalising Cannabidiol in Australia?
CBD and its related products are known to have numerous advantages with few side effects. Legalising CBD within Australia would allow citizens and industries to freely access these benefits.
First and foremost, CBD has many pharmaceutical and natural health benefits. Studies have proven that CBD is beneficial for the treatment and management of a myriad of health conditions including;
- Chronic pain
- Mental health disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
Quality CBD-based products from a reputable source are so safe, they can be used by both children and pets.
By legalising CBD products, the government would be giving millions of Australian residents access to treatments which can massively improve their overall health.
Aside from the medical benefits, the global CBD industry is booming. In a study carried out by Brightfield in 2018, it was estimated that the total market of CBD was worth approximately $591 million. At current growth levels, the industry will be placed at $22 billion by 2022.
By legalising CBD, the Australian government would be paving the way for a ripe and booming market which could generate massive revenue for the nation in general.
What are the Cons of Legalising Cannabidiol in Australia?
Despite the numerous advantages ascribed to the legalisation of cannabidiol in Australia, there are some points that are worth considering.
One of the biggest potential drawbacks could be THC contamination. Although there may be stringent laws which govern the production and distribution of CBD products, the likelihood of THC contamination will be higher as opposed to when the substance itself was completely banned.
Another potential issue is impure CBD products, especially if made from “synthetic cannabis”, a sometimes dangerous substance that has no connection to the real cannabis plant. Regulation and proper distribution of high quality products can help avoid this issue, however.
CBD does have limitations, but when purchased form a reputable source and used correctly, it is therapeutic and highly effective substance. While CBD has a bad reputation in some areas, that is mostly due to misinformation – proper CBD products have little to no o THC content and are therefore useless as a recreational drug, and are very safe with few side effects.
While the limited availability of CBD products through a specialised prescription is good news for sick people who are able to get access, the large number of others who would like to use CBD to treat their conditions but are unable to get a prescription are less fortunate. Legalising CBD would help ensure that those who would like access to a safe, naturally-derived product with few side effects could do so, and could even ease the burden on certain medical areas. Australia really needs to carefully reconsider the legal status of this product.