Is CBD legal in Victoria? What you need to know

WRITTEN by Hinterland co.

 | Last revised

Aug, 2021

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With constant changes to cannabis legislation, it can be difficult to know what is legal and what is not.

So, is medical cannabis legal in Victoria? Cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in Victoria, although it is tightly regulated. CBD oil is currently a schedule 4 prescription-only medicine under the Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

How to access medical CBD/cannabis in Melbourne and Victoria?

Victorian doctors who hold the necessary endorsement can issue prescriptions for medical cannabis oil. Health Victoria states: “Any doctor.. can prescribe medical cannabis (CBD oil) for any patient with any condition if they have the required Commonwealth and/or state approvals. ” [1]

In Australia, patients can then buy CBD oil from a pharmacy using this prescription.

If your GP does not hold the required accreditation, request that they apply to the Australian government for approval. These requests are normally processed within 48 hours of receipt of required documents.

What is still illegal?

Is medical marijuana legal in Victoria? It is illegal to grow or supply medical marijuana yourself, including medical cannabis oil or CBD oil. All medical cannabis products are regulated by TGA. In Australia, CBD oil can only be sold if the combined content of the other cannabinoids does not exceed 2%. Or, the highest permitted ratio of CBD to other cannabinoids (including THC) is 49:1. [2]

All forms of recreational cannabis use remain illegal in Victoria. In Australia, only the ACT has legalised the recreational use of cannabis.

While it’s still illegal, there many black and green market suppliers selling CBD oil online.

Special access to THC-based medical marijuana

The psychoactive substance in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and is regulated under schedule 8.

Doctors need to gain special approval from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Special Access Scheme (SAS) to prescribe this medication. They need to provide clinical justification for its use. These include an outline of their patient’s symptoms and medical conditions, details of past treatments and the expected clinical benefits of the medication.

The Australian government has applied strict laws to its use, particularly around drug-dependent persons. However, ‘due to Covid-19, schedule 8 permits are no longer required to prescribe medical cannabis in non-drug dependent persons until 27 September 2020.’ [3]

You can check our article that details the difference between CBD and THC.

Who gets schedule 8 medicinal cannabis?

To date, TGA has accepted 56,000 trials of unapproved medical cannabis products. The good news for those requiring THC-containing medication is that the approval rates are increasing dramatically. In July 2019, only 2,207 approvals were granted, compared to 5,564 in July 2020.

TGA has approved the use of schedule 8 drugs for the following:

  • chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • refractory paediatric epilepsy
  • palliative care indications
  • cancer pain
  • neuropathic pain
  • spasticity from neurological conditions
  • anorexia and wasting associated with chronic illness (such as cancer). [4]

Medical cannabis (Including CBD oil) and multiple sclerosis

The only current medical cannabis CBD product in schedule 8 is Nabiximols (Sativex®). It can be made available for patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) for: ‘… symptom improvement in patients with moderate to severe spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) who have not responded adequately to other anti-spasticity medication and who demonstrate clinically significant improvement in spasticity related symptoms during an initial trial of therapy.’ [5]

Exemptions for access to schedule 8 medical drugs

Certain exemptions do exist for cannabis patients who require access to Nabiximols. These include:

  • patients receiving palliative care (suffering from an incurable, progressive, far-advanced disease with a prognosis of limited life expectancy)
  • patients receiving inpatient treatment in a hospital
  • patients receiving treatment in a hospital emergency department or a day procedure centre
  • residents in aged care facilities
  • patients in prison or police gaol

Can you buy CBD oil in Victoria online?

It is technically possible to purchase your medical cannabis oil in Victoria online, although it comes with its own set of legal problems. Many suppliers will not ship CBD products to Australia. Others provide inferior quality or scam products that come from unregulated markets.

It is recommended to go through the proper legal channels by visiting your GP. This ensures you are taking the right dosage of the right medicine that has been safely trialed for human use. CBD oil in Melbourne should be purchased from a pharmacy with a prescription.

How is medicinal cannabis consumed?

CBD products come from the cannabis plant, which is used to make an array of therapeutic goods. CBD oil is a common product that can be sprayed into the mouth, although CBD oil can also be taken as a capsule or a suppository. It is now possible to buy CBD products in an edible form such as CBD gummies.

Other CBD products include transdermal patches (absorption through the skin), topical creams and concentrates. These concentrates can either be smoked or vaporized using a specific device. However, this may be discouraged by your general practitioner as it is the least healthy method of CBD oil consumption.

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References

1. , "Medicinal cannabis".
Victoria State Government.
https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/medicinal-cannabis.
2. Ana Topshiova, "Guide to Buying CBD in Australasia For 2021".
DailyCBD.
https://dailycbd.com/en/australasia/.
3. , "Schedule 8 permits and notifications".
Victoria State Government.
https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/patient-schedule-8-treatment-permits/schedule-8-permits-and-notifications.
4. , "Medicinal cannabis".
Therapeutic Goods Administration.
https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis.
5. , "What is medicinal cannabis?".
MS Research Australia.
https://msra.org.au/medicinal-cannabis-ms/.

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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.

Hinterland co. Byron Bay, Australia

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