CBD oil is an alternative treatment option for various health conditions, made up of cannabidiol derived from the cannabis plant blended with a carrier oil. To learn more about the benefits of CBD oil in Australia, speak to a doctor or make contact.

What is in CBD oil?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD oil is made up of cannabidiol (CBD) derived from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) blended with a carrier oil, like coconut or hemp seed oil. The reason CBD is diluted with a carrier oil is to help the body absorb the CBD oil.  A carrier oil also helps with dosage, making it more accurate and easier to administer with a dropper.

CBD is one of the many cannabinoids (compounds) in the cannabis plant and one of the major components used for therapeutic use. Medicinal cannabis (which is also referred to as medical marijuana) generally includes one or both of two major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant – cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD and THC are the two main cannabinoids responsible for most of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. There are more than 100 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant being researched for potential health benefits.

CBD doesn’t change a person’s state of mind because it is not psychoactive and has no psychoactive effect. Compared to THC, which is psychoactive in that it has a mind-altering psychotropic effect. THC causes what is known as a ‘high’.

What is the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil?

CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant’s leaves, stalk and flowers, whereas hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the cannabis plant. Hemp and cannabis are terms used to describe a plant in the genus Cannabis (same origin/type); often the term hemp plant is used interchangeably with cannabis plant.

Another difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil is that hemp seed oil contains little to no CBD, and no THC (less than 0.3 per cent). Hemp seed oil is used for health and wellness, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

What is CBD oil made out of?

There are three main types of CBD:

  • • CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD, usually comes from the cannabis plant and doesn’t contain other cannabis plant compounds.
  • • Full-spectrum CBD products contain multiple cannabis plant extracts like essential oils and terpenes (responsible for creating a plant’s aroma or scent) and in some CBD products, up to 0.3 per cent THC.
  • • Broad-spectrum CBD contains various compounds and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant but typically does not contain THC.

What is CBD oil good for?

While more research is needed in this area, it is thought that cannabinoids – like CBD oil – can help the body’s endocannabinoid system function properly and help reduce disease symptoms.

In understanding what CBD oil (cannabidiol) is good for and its therapeutic benefits, we need to understand the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating our internal bodily functions and maintaining a state of balance (homeostasis). This includes sleep, appetite, reproduction, memory, inflammation, mood and more.

There are three main parts that make up the endocannabinoid system:

  • • Endocannabinoids are the body’s own version of cannabis compounds.
  • • Cannabinoid receptors aid absorption and mediate the effects of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids. CB1 and CB2 are currently the two main identified cannabinoid receptors. CB1 is mostly found in the organs, glands, gonads, connective tissue and central nervous system. CB2 is found in the peripheral nervous system, particularly in immune cells.
  • • Enzymes regulate the breakdown of endocannabinoids after completing their function.

While endocannabinoids occur naturally in our bodies, phytocannabinoids are found in plants like the cannabis plant. Part of the benefit of phytocannabinoids is that they can mimic the action of endocannabinoids.

Researchers believe that endocannabinoid deficiency is the cause of various underlying ailments, especially those related to inflammation and the immune system. This deficiency occurs when the body’s endocannabinoid system isn’t functioning correctly, making it more prone to diseases believed to be linked to disorders like migraine, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Is CBD oil legal to use in Australia in 2021?

In Australia, medicinal cannabis products are controlled drugs regulated by the Commonwealth Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Office of Drug Control (ODC).

This means that CBD oil is legal in Australia, as well as other medicinal cannabis products, because they are approved pharmaceutical products and include a range of preparations for therapeutic use.

Because the quality and purity of medicinal cannabis in Australia is carefully controlled and regulated by the Federal government, medicinal cannabis’ components, dose and effects are more predictable and consistent. Unlike street cannabis that is grown and sold illegally, which is uncontrolled and can be contaminated with mould or solvents.

Conditions CBD oil can treat

CBD oil can be used to combat various health conditions, which includes nausea, vomiting, psychosis disorders, seizures, neurodegenerative disorders, tumour growth and cancer cell growth. CBD has also been shown to reduce anxiety and depression (which may help to lower blood pressure).

Benefits and uses of CBD oil

CBD as a medicinal cannabis product, and especially in combination with THC, may also be a valid treatment for a number of conditions. These include sleep and insomnia, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, epilepsy, PTSD, palliative care, endometriosis, cancer pain, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Where you can purchase CBD oil?

In Australia, all registered medical practitioners can prescribe medical cannabis but each prescription requires approval from the Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

All pharmacies across all Australia are permitted to dispense medicinal cannabis products subject to a doctor’s TGA approved prescription, as long as the pharmacy meets the Department of Health’s requirements.

The exception is low dose CBD products (maximum of 150mg/day in adults) which can be supplied without prescription by pharmacists to patients over-the-counter. This exception follows the TGA’s announcement on 15 December 2020, although the products supplied need to be TGA approved and included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

For all other CBD oil products, a doctor’s prescription is required, which needs to be approved through the TGA framework. The TGA considers each patient’s prescription via the Special Access Scheme (SAS) application, submitted on the patient’s behalf by the prescribing doctor. This application includes clinical evidence and reasons for treatment, dosing routine, and length of treatment. Part of the eligibility test includes a patient needing to have had the medical condition for at least three months and not responded to conventional medicine or if current treatment has intolerable side effects.

Other patient access pathways within the TGA framework is the Authorised Prescriber Scheme (APS) which allows doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis for a specific condition or patient participation in Clinical Trials.

For the most current and accurate information on cannabis medicine and accessing medicinal cannabis in Australia, please visit the TGA’s Medicinal Cannabis Guidance Documents.

Can you buy CBD oil in Australia?

You can buy CBD oil in Australia at a pharmacy but you will need a doctor’s prescription which is approved by the TGA. The one exception is low dose CBD, which does not require a prescription. As of December 2020, patients across Australia can buy low dose CBD products (up to a maximum of 150mg/day in adults) over-the-counter at pharmacies. For all other CBD oil products and other cannabis medicines, a doctor’s prescription is required, subject to TGA approval.

Can you buy CBD oil online?

Although it is possible to buy CBD oil online, patients need to be aware of the shortfalls and risks. Problems in buying CBD oil online include buying the incorrect product, not taking the correct dosage, false quality claims, disclaimers, and a lack of regulation and monitoring the efficacy of the promised health benefits. For example, because of the antipsychotic effect of CBD, patients with schizophrenia may want to buy CBD products online because of its health benefits. However, online CBD products may not be safe — in not knowing the precise formulation and may contain THC. This would present high risk for such patients especially since THC is completely off limits for patients with schizophrenia.

What is the best CBD oil in Australia?

The Australian government carefully controls and regulates the medicinal cannabis industry in Australia across cultivation, manufacture, supply, import, export and patient access. In assessing the quality, safety and efficacy of a CBD oil product, patients should contact their doctor for medical advice and treatment options.

How do you use CBD oil?

There are various ways to use CBD oil. Method of consumption will impact the time taken to feel the effects of cannabidiol products. CBD oil prescriptions can be taken in a number of ways:

  • Inhalation: Breathing in vaporised dried cannabis flower and vape concentrate; effects are generally felt immediately or within 30 minutes, and last from 2 to 4 hours.
  • Ingestion and sublingual (under tongue): Ingesting cannabis oil, oral spray and softgels; effects are typically felt within 2 hours of administration and last from 6 to 8 hours.
  • Topical: Oils are added to lotions, gels or creams and applied topically; effects are typically felt immediately depending on application site, and lasts for 1 to 2 hours.

Prescriptions, formulations and method of consumption depend on an individual’s needs. Some people use a combination of options for their treatment plan. Medicinal cannabis should not be smoked.

How long does it take for CBD oil to work?

The time taken to feel the effects of CBD oil will vary from person to person and will also be impacted by a number of other factors. These include dosage and concentration, individual biological factors, timing of last meal, body weight, and method of consumption. Depending on the method of consumption — which includes inhalation, ingestion and topical – the effects may be felt immediately or within to 2 hours.

What are the side effects of CBD oil?

In general, there are less side effects of CBD-rich products than those of high-ratio THC products. Although in some cases, some patients may encounter side-effects with higher dose CBD products, like paediatric epilepsies. For both CBD and THC, known side-effects may include fatigue, sedation, drowsiness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, changes in appetite, dry mouth, and diarrhoea.

Once starting medicinal cannabis treatment, it is important to have review appointments with your prescribing doctor to assess the success of your treatment plan, to discuss any side-effects and/or if your treatment is not working.

Is CBD oil subsidised?

The Australian government does not fund medicinal cannabis products under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means that patients need to pay the full cost of products themselves. The cost of cannabis medicines varies depending on the type of product prescribed and dosage. Patients also need to pay for related medical costs and review appointments with medical professionals.

Even though most medicinal cannabis products are unregistered medicines with no government funding under the PBS, from May 2021, Australians living with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, have access to Epidyolex®/Epidiolex® (CBD). This is the first medicinal cannabis drug to be subsidised by the Australian government under the PBS. Epidyolex® as well as Sativex® (nabiximols; THC and CBD), which treats moderate to severe spasticity in multiple sclerosis, are two cannabis medicines which have been registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

To make pain management treatments more accessible and affordable for Australian patients, Cannatrek has a number of initiatives in place with doctors, medical practitioners and pharmacists. For a small number of patients, Cannatrek may be able to reduce costs through clinical trials or concession-based discounts, although this is often not the case. To find out more, speak to a health professional or make contact with the Cannatrek team.

Have more questions? Contact one of our consultants at Cannatrek today.

Cannatrek is a technology-driven Australian company specialising in the research, cultivation, manufacturing and delivery of medical cannabis, committed to enhancing Australian patients’ quality of life and wellbeing.

To learn more about the use of CBD oil and its health benefits as well as other medical cannabis products in Australia, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and in Perth please speak to a doctor or contact Cannatrek directly on 1300 122 662. For general enquiries email info@cannatrek.com or for access-related enquiries email access@cannatrek.com.