Why is CBD illegal in Australia?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. The compound has been hailed for its medicinal properties, and it preferred because it lacks psychoactive effects.
THC, on the other hand, is what recreational cannabis users crave. This is another popular cannabinoid – probably the most popular, thanks to its psychoactive effects that give off that “high” feeling that recreational users crave. Although THC has medicinal properties as well, those euphoric effects are the primary reasons behind the illegality of cannabis.
But one would imagine that because CBD lacks those psychoactive effects that it would be legal in Australia. But this isn’t necessarily the case. CBD is illegal for recreational users, but legal for medical purposes. In 2016, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) classified CBD as a Schedule IV (S4) substance. That is, if you’re able to obtain a prescription, you can purchase a CBD product legally. If not, it’s illegal for you.
It doesn’t end there either – CBD is also illegal in Australia if it contains 2 percent or more of THC or any other cannabinoid or substance. For CBD to be legal with a prescription, it has to be over 98 percent concentration.
Is it safe to use CBD?
Cannabis as a legal substance, in any form, is a relatively new concept. As a result, there has been a lack of extensive research in the field. However, based on the studies that are available, the safety concerns of CBD are minimal.
CBD may have mild side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and irritability. The cannabinoid can also increase coumadin (blood thinner) levels in your blood, as well as other medications. None of these are particularly severe, and they may vary from person to person.
But perhaps the greatest risk associated with CBD is how it is marketed. Despite the compound being legal for medical use in Australia, there is a significant black market for it. This is because obtaining a prescription for CBD can be a lengthy, bureaucratic task, and as a result, many people turn to the black market to get the substance quickly.
When you access CBD through the black market, you can’t be sure if what you’re getting is actually CBD, or if it contains the right concentrations. In many cases, CBD oils sold in the black market contain additives that may be harmful. The lack of regulation of such markets amount to the greatest risk one might face when considering CBD.
Benefits of CBD
The medicinal effects of CBD are quickly becoming common knowledge. And with studies backing up its efficacy, many with health conditions are turning to the cannabinoid as an alternative treatment.
One of the greatest benefits of CBD are its minimal side effects. While pharmaceutical drugs for significant health conditions often come with pronounced side effects that can be classified as ailments themselves, CBD can hardly get to that level and is sometimes used to treat those side effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs.
Here’s a look at some of the many health conditions CBD has been known to treat:
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
- Multiple sclerosis
- Side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.
- Mental illness
- Neuroplasticity, and more.
Final words – How to access CBD in Australia
The large underground market in Australia makes it quite simple to get CBD, regardless of your reasons for seeking the substance. However, as we’ve stated, this route means you might end up getting CBD oils with low concentrations (if it contains CBD at all) and/or high unknown additives, making this a dangerous route to take.
If you need CBD, seek a prescription from your doctor. Your doctor would have to become an authorised prescriber for a certain class of patients, which can be sought from the TGA. A doctor can also apply on a per patient basis through SAS-B (Special Access Scheme B). While this presents a long process of around 2 to 4 weeks before you get your prescription, it is by far the safest way to access CBD.