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Australia Introduces CBD Oil to Pharmacy Shelves

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January 2021 was a historical month for Australians waiting to access CBD oil without a medical prescription. Suggestive perhaps of the mounting evidence that CBD is proving to be a safe and valuable therapeutic resource worldwide. The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved over the counter sales of CBD oil in pharmacies nationwide, putting an end to a long wait for sufferers of chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and the likes. 

Specialists in the Australian medicinal cannabis industry, FreshLeaf Analytics, have stated the first company to get its product on chemists’ shelves will have a significant advantage in a market estimated to exceed $200 million a year.

Wait, Conditions Do Apply

Limitations, leading to some public frustration, have been placed on consumers seeking easier access. CBD oil will only be available without a prescription or referral from a doctor under the following conditions:

  • It will only be available to adults.
  • It will only be available at a maximum dose of 150 milligrams of CBD per day.
  • It will only be available in pharmacies.
  • CBD will not be subsidized by the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The downfall of these conditions will mainly be financial on Australian consumers and companies alike. Some consumers are now complaining they are struggling to find quality CBD oil on Australian pharmacy shelves, preferring to order from reputable overseas companies instead. This is symptomatic of the time it is taking Australia to research and regulate CBD use. 

Perhaps The Fastest Growing Market in The World

Cannabis companies are under more pressure than ever before to prove the quality of their products. In Australia, the onus of proving CBD oil products work will be on the manufacturers. Overseas cannabis companies use third-party testing and independent studies to boost consumer confidence- it will be interesting watching Australia play catchup. Australia was already quite behind compared to countries like the US, Canada, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands. 

In an article by Claire Bracken of the ABC last month, Dr. Lain commented on the growing number of international companies showing interest in selling to Australians, stating:

“They see it as perhaps the fastest growing market in the world, even though it’s a small population, the numbers add up,”

Patience is a Virtue

It will be tough on Australian CBD consumers, who will have to wait for more reliable products at higher doses to become available straight from the shelf. The current over-the-counter legal limit of 150mg of CBD per day is unlikely to support many consumers’ needs.

In the United Kingdom, a bottle containing a 300mg dose of CBD oil would only be enough for two days worth of use at an average of €22.35. Now compare this to Enectas’s Premium Hemp Extract containing 1000mg at €49.95. You can see the value in offering higher doses in small bottles. Less oil is needed to obtain the higher dosage required for common ailments at a lower cost to the consumer. 

The positive news is that experts are of the view that the rigid regime in Australia will have its benefits further down the line:

By being careful and quite well regulated, the Australian scheme is probably going to give rise to very good products that will have a lot of export potential, - Dr. Lain.

Of course, this is looking into the future, and many current CBD consumers are looking forward to it.

A Positive View

The cannabis plant: source for enecta's CBD oil, now available in Australia's Pharmacy shelves

Australia is moving in the right direction with cannabis at last! As more countries transition towards easier accessibility to CBD, we may all begin to see better research and evidence benefitting the wider community. 

Perhaps Australia’s small step towards easing CBD laws will influence other countries in the region to join the movement. As COVID-19 continues to remind us all of the value of our health, it has never been a better time for governments to open the doors to new solutions to medical problems.

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