A change in legal status means that Australians will no longer require a prescription to access medicinal cannabis as early as February this year.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has confirmed that restrictions on the use and sale of cannabidiol (CBD) in Australia will be removed to enable pharmacists to sell low-dose medicinal cannabis without a prescription to those aged 18 and over.
Currently under the TGA’s Poison Standard, medicinal cannabis cannot be purchased in Australia without a prescription from a doctor but the new amendments will allow approved CBD products to be sold at a dose of up to 150 mg per day under the professional advice of pharmacists.
“Although OTC access to low dose CBD does not appear to be on the radar of New Zealand regulators, NUBU is supportive of any initiative that improves patient accessibility to medicinal cannabis products in a safe and measured way.”
- Amanda Bishop, Head of Innovation at NUBU
Cannabis Awareness Tasmania founder Lyn Cleaver spoke to The Examiner and shared disappointment that children are excluded from the amendment but added that low doses of cannabidiol would not assist young epilepsy sufferers or adults such as her son who has severe refactory epilepsy.
Low doses might instead be of help to those with chronic pain, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder or insomnia.
"Those doses are so low that you really should be able to buy them from the supermarket, but what these changes might do is prove the point that CBD, and cannabis generally, is incredibly safe and has a low profile for harm.” she said.
However unlike other countries such as the UK and the US where CBD products are widely available for sale online and over the counter; in Australia medical cannabis will be listed as Schedule 3 “Pharmacist Only” medicine and will not be sold or accessed like Schedule 2 “Pharmacy Medicines” such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.