It’s now legal, so what’s the hold-up? Experts explain.
On 1 February 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced a final decision to down-schedule certain low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) preparations from Schedule 4 (Prescription Medicine) to Schedule 3 (Pharmacist Only Medicine).
In simple terms, this means you can now legally buy low-dose CBD oil products over the counter without a prescription.
But if you’re keen to test the benefits for yourself, you’ll have to wait a little longer. While the law has changed, no individual products have yet been approved by the TGA for sale.
How long will that take? It’s not yet clear, but industry watchers are hopeful.
The TGA announcement is “one step in the right direction for consumers wishing to have CBD oil more accessible to them”, Christian Santi, director of sales for Vantage Hemp, told Finder.
What are the benefits of CBD oil?
So, what exactly does CBD oil do and what should you be on the lookout for?
Pre-legalisation, research had been limited. However, as CBD oil and other products have become legal in various countries, we’re starting to see some investigations.
Recent studies have shown that cannabidiol may be effective in treating some neuropsychiatric disorders, anxiety and arthritis, though more evidence is still needed.
Are there any known side effects of CBD oil?
Like all medication, medicinal cannabis products can have side effects.
According to the TGA, the known side effects from medicinal cannabis treatment include “fatigue and sedation, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, fever, decreased or increased appetite, dry mouth and diarrhoea”.
However, Santi told Finder that “CBD oil is generally well-tolerated by consumers” and that any experienced side effects are “usually mild”.
It is always recommended that “consumers consult their doctor if they’re unsure about which CBD product and dosage is right for them”, Santi said.
What should consumers look for in CBD products?
According to Santi, “the most important consideration when choosing a CBD oil is the quality as not all products are made the same.
“Reading labels properly and knowing what to look for can help consumers make informed decisions. For example, certified products that include ingredient lists on the label can tell you which cannabinoids a product actually contains and whether it has any health-boosting properties.
“Another crucial factor to quality is how a product was extracted and the controls in place during each step of the process because standards vary from producer to producer. Variations in quality and purity can directly impact the safety and effectiveness of a product.
“Other factors to look at include concentration and dosages as they will vary based on individual needs and the source: full-spectrum oil, broad-spectrum distillate versus CBD isolate.”
Is there a way that I can buy CBD oil now?
In New South Wales, your GP can legally prescribe a cannabis medicine for a health condition if they believe it is an appropriate treatment option. However, they must first obtain approval from the Australian Government.
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