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22 May, 2020 /

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How can I access CBD Oil in Australia?

What’s CBD?

CBD (Cannabidiol) is a compound that can be extracted from Cannabis sativa plants that have been cultivated to contain large amounts of CBD. The extraction is a regulated manufacturing process that ensures the integrity and quality of the product.

CBD is non-psychotropic or non-psycho active (1,2).

While studies show that CBD does have a range of potential health benefits for people suffering from certain conditions, it’s important to note that CBD may potentially have side effects, although they are not often serious. Some reported side effects of CBD include dry mouth, low blood pressure, light-headedness, and drowsiness. (3,4) .

Patients with autoimmune disorders or those who suffer from certain allergies may have an adverse response to the carrier oil or capsule container. In those cases, CBD Isolate (which is 99% pure CBD) may be a better form of CBD to try.

Elevated liver enzymes have also been reported in some patients, but this is very uncommon, and rarely leads to liver injury.(5).

CBD may also interact with other medications, most commonly the P450 metabolised medications(6).

 

Book a Consultation with a Medical Cannabis Specialist
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Cannabis Plant

Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary species:  indica and sativa, however, these classifications are the subject of debate. What is more important than the classifications is the type and concentration of Cannabinoids in your Cannabis oil.

The scientific word for Cannabis is Cannabis Sativa.

Note: Marijuana is the alternative spelling of the word for ‘Marihuana’ The term Marijuana is mostly used these days in place of Cannabis (not hemp) as it is often associated with recreational Cannabis (usually Cannabis that is high in THC).

Cannabinoids: CBD & THC

The two active compounds in cannabis plants that are most commonly referred to are Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive compound which is found in high concentrations in street or black-market Cannabis which has been cultivated for recreational purposes. Black market cannabis is unlikely to contain many other cannabinoids that may, in fact, be beneficial for treating medical conditions or symptoms. The extremely high levels of THC contained in this type of cannabis will elicit a psycho-active response, making you feel high.

CBD and THC are prescription only medicines in Australia, meaning that they cannot be legally sold directly to the public. Furthermore, Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) listed low-dose CBD for adults was down-scheduled on the 1st of February 2021. This means that once a low-dose CBD product has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for registration on the ARTG, the public will be able to obtain it from a pharmacist without a prescription(7). Products with less than 0.01% of any cannabinoids such as Hemp Seed Oil can be sold direct to the public in Australia, but 0.01% is not a therapeutic dose.

If you’re looking to buy CBD oil in Australia, you cannot legally buy it online or over the counter just yet. Until there is a CBD product that meets the standards for ARTG registration, CBD will still be available through doctor application. This means that a doctor must apply to the TGA for an approval to be able to prescribe products containing CBD to you.

The TGA has been made aware of false claims made by some US and other International companies supplying products containing (or claiming to contain) CBD (Cannabidiol).

The TGA have posted the following on their website:

Companies located in the United States have been illegally exporting cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp products to persons in Australia without import permission.

The TGA is aware of at least one company that has claimed that the TGA has invited them to register their CBD and hemp products on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) due to growing demand. This is incorrect. The TGA does not ‘invite’ businesses or sponsors to register a product on the ARTG. The onus is on the sponsor to apply to the TGA and follow due process.

 

CDA Clinics 

 

CDA doctors can apply to the TGA for an approval to be able to prescribe you a particular regulated and legal product, such as CBD oil, in Australia. Each application they do is per patient, per product. Your Doctor will check your medical history and current medications  to ensure that you’re not taking any substances which could interact with CBD making your current medications less or more effective or creating potential for side effects.

Understanding the distinctive preparation of each product is a significant consideration when buying CBD oil, as the concentration of CBD varies with each method of administration.

Furthermore, you should always buy CBD oil in Australia through legal channels to ensure that you know what you’re getting, that what the label claims matches what is in the bottle, and that there are no harmful substances present in the product.

 

Book a Medical Cannabis Consultation at CDA
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What’s CBD or Cannabidiol Oil?

 

CBD oil contains cannabidiol (CBD) in a carrier oil such as Hemp Seed Oil, Olive Oil or MCT Oil.  Some oils contain other cannabinoids within the oil. Patients with autoimmune disorders or those who suffer from certain allergies could have an adverse response from a carrier oil or capsule container. In those cases, CBD Isolate (which is 99% pure CBD) may be a better form of CBD to try.

When Medical Cannabis oils are commercially manufactured and adhere to the strict standards of manufacturing and sale, the concentrations of CBD and THC must be well-managed to make the medicine easy to calculate doses and provide consistency from bottle to bottle. Consistency is not likely with black market products.

CBD Oil Labelling and Package Details

Medical-grade Cannabis or CBD oils are highly regulated within Australia, and they must conform to strict standards such as clearly labelling of all ingredients and active ingredient concentrations (often stated in milligrams per millilitre or mg/mL) on the product packaging. If your cannabis oil doesn’t tell you how many milligrams of the active ingredient is in the bottle, the product is may be illicit and you cannot be sure that it includes any active ingredients. Some products bought from other countries online may appear to be medical grade but if they are not regulated by Australian regulatory bodies, you may not be able to trust them.

When assessing value for money, it is important to know the total quantity of cannabinoids contained in the oil. A higher number of mg of cannabinoids per mL of oil provides more medication in a product. To meet the TGA standards for labelling cannabis oils, a product must display the number of mg of cannabinoids per mL of liquid.

The ratio of THC to CBD

CBD is known to decrease the psychoactive properties of THC(8). A more significant proportion of CBD-to-THC can cause less psychoactive results.

Cannabis oils can contain a ratio of CBD to THC, or they can contain only THC or only CBD.

As an example:

THC 20:8 CBD (or THC 20%: 8% CBD) is a high THC oil. The remaining percentage (72%) is carrier oil.

THC 5:20 CBD (or 5% THC to 20% CBD) is a low THC oil. The remaining 75% is the carrier oil.

Any remaining % is the carrier oil.

Note: The product should also state the active component measurement in milligrams for dosage reasons.

Our clinicians will determine  the best ratio of CBD to THC to treat your specific condition. Different conditions require different types of medical cannabis products. This is why there are so many products containing different ratios of CBD to THC.

The difference between Hemp oil and CBD oil.

These days, you can find many hemp products on the shelf of your local supermarket. These are products derived from hemp seeds such as hemp seed powder and hemp seed oil. While hemp seeds contain many beneficial nutrients such as protein, omegas and iron, they do not contain therapeutic amounts of cannabinoids (including CBD). CBD oil is cannabis oil with a substantial proportion of CBD. It’s produced from the flowers, leaves and stalks of the cannabis plant and not from the seeds like hemp oil.

 

Hemp is grown and cultivated primarily for industrial purposes such as for textiles and health foods, while cannabis is grown for medicinal and recreational purposes.

Some hemp products may contain trace amounts of CBD. If they contain over 0.04% CBD or over 0.01% THC then this product is not legal to have on your person without an approved prescription from an Australian-registered Medical Practitioner. Cannabis Doctors Australia (CDA) urges the public to be cautious about buying hemp products, on the shelf or online, that claim to contain CBD.

Not only is it illegal, but you may be purchasing a hemp seed oil product that contains only trace amounts of CBD. Without being regulated through the legal channels, you shouldn’t trust the label of this product as the suppliers are not subject to audits and enforcement by the TGA.

Furthermore, illegal and unregulated products can contain harmful contaminants such as heavy metals, bacteria, fungus, viruses, herbicides, or pesticides.

Knowing the content and cost of your product

By working out the price per milligram (mg) of each cannabinoid (both THC and CBD) in each bottle that you’re comparing, you should find that CBD costs between $0.08 – and $0.50 per mg of CBD.

For combination oils (CBD & THC) you should expect to pay between $0.15 and $0.60 per mg.

If the bottle only has a percentage or a mg/mL indication on the label (instead of a total CBD content), first you’ll need to work out the total amount of CBD first.

Example 1: Total Cannabinoids

A 10ml bottle of CBD oil with 300 mg of CBD costs $80.

We can use the $ / mg method to work out how much each mg of CBD costs:

 

Cost / mg = $ (per mg)

$80 / 300mg = $0.26

 

Therefore, each mg of CBD costs 26 cents.

Check Cost per MG Calculator

Example 2: milligrams / millilitre (mg/ml)

A 60ml bottle purchased for $255 contains 10 mg/ml of CBD. There is 60 ml of total oil (CBD in a carrier oil).

 

mg x ml = total mg of Cannabinoid in the bottle

10 mg x 60 ml = 600 mg of CBD (total)

 

$255 / 600 = $0.43

 

Which bottle of oil is more value for money? Bottle 1. Bottle is smaller (10 ml), but the contents are more concentrated than Bottle 2 (60ml).

Note: ‘300 mg / ml’ is very different to ‘300 mg’ and it always depends on the size of the bottle.

How can I buy CBD oil legally in Australia then?

Our Medical Cannabis Doctors are specialists and can apply to the TGA for approval to be able to prescribe you a particular regulated and legal product. The doctor must complete one application per product, per patient. Your Medical Cannabis Doctor will consult with you discussing your medical history and current medications, in order to ensure that you’re not taking anything which could interact with CBD, which could in turn reduce the effectiveness of your current medications or create side effects. The Medicinal Cannabis Doctor will also provide you with appropriate information for your situation.

Understanding the distinctive preparation of each product is a significant consideration when buying CBD oil in Australia, as the concentration of CBD varies with each method of administration.

Furthermore, you should always buy CBD oil through legal channels to ensure that:

  • you know what you’re getting,
  • that what the label claims matches what is in the bottle,
  • and that there are no harmful substances present in the product.

 

Speak to a Medical Cannabis Specialist today
BOOK A CONSULTATION

 

Conditions that CBD Oil may be used as a treatment option:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Plus more

So, what does the research say?

Insomnia

There has been a lot of scientific publications released in the last few years that examine how Medicinal Cannabis can be used to help patients with sleep disorders such as insomnia. Recently scientists analysed case studies of patients using CBD to treat their symptoms of insomnia. 79.2% of patients were able to reduce anxiety scores within the first month using CBD and 66.7% had improved sleep. CBD was tolerated in all but 3 patients. (9)

Spinal Pain

While there needs to be more research conducted to show conclusive evidence, the scientific community has studied the benefits of Medical Cannabis as an alternative for pain relief. Some have even seen improvements in pain scores in patients suffering from spinal injuries.(11) So, while it is not possible to cure spinal injuries with medical cannabis, however it can be a great alternative for pain relief.

In a 2015 review and meta-analysis of 28 studies (2,454 participants) of cannabinoids in which chronic pain was assessed, it was found that patients showed improvements in pain measures when taking Medical Cannabis and that there is evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for chronic pain.(12)

Chronic Pain

Medicinal cannabis has often been reported as an effective treatment for patients experiencing chronic pain. A recent study concluded that 53% of chronic pain patients were able to reduce or even eliminate opioids within 8 weeks and almost all patients (94%) reported improvement in their quality of life.(13)

Click here to read more about chronic pain.

 

Find out more about Medical Cannabis therapies

LEARN MORE

Understanding the distinctive preparation of each product is a significant consideration when buying CBD oil, as the concentration of CBD varies with each method of administration.

Disclaimer: This is not an inducement to use Medicinal Cannabis. Medical Cannabis doesn’t work for everyone, and it may not work for you. How Cannabis affects a person depends on many things, including their size, weight, age and health, dosage and tolerance, and the results can vary. Some people may experience side effects when taking Cannabinoid medication. The information provided by CDA Clinics is for educational and informational purposes only. For medical advice, please check with your doctor and request a referral.

 

References:

  1. World Health Organisation. WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence: fortieth report [Internet]. World Health Organization; 2018 [cited 2020 Oct 7]. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/279948
  2. Pellati F, Borgonetti V, Brighenti V, Biagi M, Benvenuti S, Corsi L. Cannabis sativa L. and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer. Tabolacci C, editor. BioMed Research International. 2018 Dec 4;2018:1691428.
  3. Chesney E, Oliver D, Green A, Sovi S, Wilson J, Englund A, et al. Adverse effects of cannabidiol: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020 Oct 1;45(11):1799–806.
  4. Brown JD, Winterstein AG. Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug–Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use. J Clin Med [Internet]. 2019 Jul 8 [cited 2020 Sep 3];8(7). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678684/
  5. Taylor L, Crockett J, Tayo B, Morrison G. A Phase 1, Open-Label, Parallel-Group, Single-Dose Trial of the Pharmacokinetics and Safety of Cannabidiol (CBD) in Subjects With Mild to Severe Hepatic Impairment. JOURNAL OF CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY. 2019 Aug;59(8):1110–9.
  6. Zendulka O, Dovrtělová G, Nosková K, Turjap M, Šulcová A, Hanuš L, et al. Cannabinoids and Cytochrome P450 Interactions. Current drug metabolism. 2016;17(3):206–26.
  7. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Notice of final decision to amend (or not amend) the current Poisons Standard – cannabidiol [Internet]. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Australian Government Department of Health; 2020 [cited 2021 Feb 4]. Available from: https://www.tga.gov.au/scheduling-decision-final/notice-final-decision-amend-or-not-amend-current-poisons-standard-cannabidiol
  8. Russo E, Guy GW. A tale of two cannabinoids: the therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Med Hypotheses. 2006;66(2):234–46.
  9. Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18–041.
  10. Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Oct;12(4):825–36.
  11. Wade DT, Robson P, House H, Makela P, Aram J. A preliminary controlled study to determine whether whole-plant cannabis extracts can improve intractable neurogenic symptoms. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2003;17(1):21–9.
  12. Whiting PF, Wolff RF, Deshpande S, Di Nisio M, Duffy S, Hernandez AV, et al. Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2015 Jun 23;313(24):2456–73.
  13. Capano A, Weaver R, Burkman E. Evaluation of the effects of CBD hemp extract on opioid use and quality of life indicators in chronic pain patients: a prospective cohort study. Postgraduate Medicine. 2020 Jan 2;132(1):56–61.

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