CBD, a compound found in cannabis that does not have psychoactive effects, is now legal to sell over the counter. But don’t expect to find any in your local pharmacy yet. Photograph: Anatoliy Sizov/Getty Images/iStockphoto
“We’re filling the gap of 70 years of prohibition where there was no research,” says Tommy Huppert, the CEO of Cannatrek, an Australian cannabis grower and manufacturer. Huppert’s company has just inked an exclusive supply deal with Chemist Warehouse, though what exactly it will supply remains to be seen. “Everyone’s really racing to get the product to market. What sort of mountain will we have to climb? Is it going to be weeks? Months?” he wonders.
And when it does arrive, it could well be a price point that will shut a lot of people out. In the UK, a bottle containing a 300mg dose of CBD oil – enough for two days’ use at the TGA-approved level – costs about A$40.
“And therein lies the problem – there are no good clinical trials that show CBD at 150mg [the daily dose approved by the TGA] is actually effective.”
CBD’s medicinal status in Australia is much different from the situation in other countries where the substance is available without a prescription, such as the UK and US. In the UK, low-dose CBD oil can be sold as a dietary supplement, but not a medicine. In the US, the substance is not approved on a federal level, but in some states it is possible to buy everything from pet food to bottled water to Martha Stewart branded gummies containing CBD. “You have this runaway train that’s way beyond the evidence available,” says McGregor.
Cannabis was first introduced to Australia in 1788 when the British First Fleet brought hemp seeds to initiate hemp cultivation. The British naval power needed hemp primarily for cordage and sails.
If you want to buy CBD from an online store, you might need to use a mail forwarding service. Some companies don’t ship CBD to your country, and your mail will have to be forwarded to arrive at your address.
CBD Companies That Ship to Australia & New Zealand
Cannabis — called spak brus among the indigenous people — in Papua New Guinea is illegal and any possession related to it is punishable.
Don’t worry — new laws are expected to be enacted soon.
The aggressive reefer-madness campaign progressed with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which restricted cannabis sales with high taxes.