Is CBD Illegal In Australia?


 | Last revised

Oct, 2022

Yes and no.

Obtaining and using CBD oil for recreational purposes is still illegal in Australia. However, it can be legally prescribed by a doctor.

Even in states such as the ACT, where the personal cultivation of cannabis has been decriminalised, CBD oil is still illegal to obtain for recreational purposes.

Despite the legalities surrounding CBD oil, many find themselves going through the online green market AKA black market sellers to access these non-intoxicating products due to exorbitant costs associated with the medical pathway.

Before you decide which way you’ll be accessing CBD oil, here’s everything you need to know about the legality of this therapeutic plant compound.

Is CBD Legal In Australia?

Low-dose cannabidiol is a Schedule 3 controlled substance. This means that pharmacists can sell approved products over the counter to people who do not have a medical prescription.

It also means that Authorised Prescribers can write you a prescription on the spot without needing to seek approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration. [1]

However, products sold over the counter must conform to certain standards. CBD extracts, and products made with them, such as CBD oil or edibles, must be:

  • 98% or more CBD
  • 2% or less of any other cannabinoid
  • 0.2% or less of THC
  • An approved product on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods

CBD products that do not meet these rules are illegal if you don’t have a prescription for them.

As a result, if you have a medical prescription, you can access a wider range of CBD products containing higher potencies of CBD and other cannabinoids such as THC.

These rules mean that many popular international CBD products cannot be legally sold in Australia.

Furthermore, it is illegal to have CBD products shipped to you from overseas even if they conform to these standards, and you risk the confiscation of your goods.

There is a growing industry of Australian companies producing legal CBD, and more overseas manufacturers are starting to create products that can be sold legally in Australia.

For now, though, the options for legal CBD are limited to those with a medical prescription.

These changes apply nationwide, so you don’t need to worry about where CBD is illegal in Australia.

Cannabis leaves with a map of Australia made from the Australian flag and white cannabis leaves.

Is CBD Oil Illegal In Australia?

In short, CBD is illegal if it has been accessed without a medical prescription or OTC in a pharmacy.

CBD oil is illegal in Australia if it is manufactured using a CBD extract that does not meet the TGA rules mentioned earlier.

It is also illegal if it was imported into Australia without an import license and import permit for cannabis. These are usually only given to pharmacies and medical practitioners, not directly to patients or consumers. [2]

Are CBD Gummies Illegal In Australia?

All the same rules apply to CBD gummies and CBD edibles.

If you have a prescription, then you’re good to go. However, the only approved CBD edible products registered with the TGA are wafers, not CBD gummies.

The Pros and Cons Of Buying CBD From The Green Market

Why do people still buy from the green market if they can easily obtain CBD with a prescription through a specialised cannabis clinic?

Cost is the number one reason. Green market CBD is usually cheaper, and you don’t need to pay for any ongoing doctor’s fees or cannabis clinic appointment costs.

Additionally, many GPs are still not willing to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, despite the mountain of positive research.

So, what are the pros and cons?

  • Cost-effective option for those that can’t afford medical fees.
  • High-quality and effective products, but you need to find the right supplier.
  • Supporting small Australian businesses that are trying to help those who need it.
  • Easy access, shipped directly to your house.

Getting your CBD this way has a few drawbacks, including:

  • If you choose to order from international vendors, your goods could be seized. We generally don’t recommend importing from overseas.
  • You might not get what you paid for. If you buy from the green market, products may not contain the advertised dosage or ingredients. Be sure to do thorough research on the business and product first.

Get A Prescription To Avoid The Risks

Getting a prescription for medical cannabis or CBD is the next best option if you aren’t comfortable ordering from an Australian green market business.

It used to be a fairly arduous process, but things have improved in recent years.

Before, you needed your doctor to apply for approval to prescribe CBD via the Special Access Scheme, wait months for approval, and often struggle to find a pharmacy that can supply the prescribed CBD product once you have the prescription.

Now, Authorised Prescribers such as online cannabis clinics can prescribe CBD products on the spot, and you can a prescription within 2 days of a telehealth appointment. This process is usually quick, but most find the costs too expensive.

While there are many reputable international brands such as Charlotte’s Web CBD oil, importing into Australia can land you in hot water and we do not recommend it.

Is Hemp Illegal In Australia?

First, we need to understand the anatomy of hemp because part of the plant is legal, and the rest of it is illegal. Totally makes sense, right?

Hemp seeds are legal in Australia and can be purchased in shops or online. However, they don’t contain any active cannabinoids such as CBD.

Many hemp-seed-derived products are legally available for sale, such as hemp seed oil, hemp milk, hemp protein and hemp chocolate.

However, there’s more to the hemp plant than just the seeds. The flower or bud, leaves, and stalk are all illegal to purchase, and these are the parts of the plant used to extract CBD.

Although hemp is used to make a lot of legal products, it is illegal to grow hemp plants at home, even to harvest the seeds.

You can only grow hemp if you have a government-issued license to grow industrial hemp for medicinal purposes. These licenses are only given out for industrial farming, not growing hemp at home.

In addition, many states do not distinguish between growing hemp plants and growing cannabis plants in criminal law. That means if you grow hemp plants at home, you could face the same penalties that you would face if you had grown the same amount of cannabis.

CBD Is Legal In Australia, With Restrictions

CBD products are not illegal in Australia. However, if you want to buy the widest range of CBD products safely and legally, you still need a medical prescription.

For many, CBD prescriptions are still proving difficult and costly to obtain; for this reason, many choose to buy from the green market instead.

This route is not without risks, however, especially when buying from overseas, so always do your research when deciding where to buy.

At the very minimum, you should be asking suppliers if they can provide a Certificate of Analysis to verify the purity and strength of a product. Many testing facilities use the HPLC method to test products and provide transparency for consumers.

If you want more information about access options for CBD in Australia, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email.

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1. N/A, "Over-the-counter access to low dose cannabidiol".
Therapeutic Goods Administration.
2. N/A, "Increase in seizures prompts warning to potential importers of products containing cannabis".
Australian Border Force.


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Disclaimer. While we strive to relay the most factual education available, this shouldn’t replace official medical or legal consultation and recommendation. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Happy days.

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