Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring chemical compound. It belongs to a group of phytocannabinoids known as cannabinoids. These are found in the Cannabis Sativa plant which is native to Central and South Asia. It has a wide variety of industrial, nutritional, medicinal, and therapeutic uses.
Hemp and cannabis (marijuana) both belong to the Cannabis Sativa family. Cultivation methods and plant parts used determine the labeling. Hemp comes from the plant stalk whereas cannabis comes from flower buds. The growing environment for cannabis is more controlled to maximize the growth of flower buds.
CBD content is highest in Hemp while THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), another popular cannabinoid, is in greater quantity in cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive, unlike THC.
History of CBD in Australia
Australias’ CBD history dates back to the 1700s and the UK. Australia was a British colony and the British were responsible for its introduction.
The British interest in hemp was due to the strength of its fibers. They used it to build their ships and related items like sailors uniform, ropes, and sacks. Ships were central to the expansion of their empire. To keep up with demand they needed it grown not only at home but in their colonies as well.
The UK sent an English botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, with hemp seeds/plants on the First Fleet to Australia. New settlers to Australia also received seeds.
The use of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic purposes was also introduced to Australia by the UK. Specifically by Irish physician, Dr. William O’Shaughnessy. He worked for the British East India Company and learned of the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis while in India.
Cannabis cigarettes became readily available around Australia. They were known as ‘Cigares de Joy.’ Despite this opium and heroin remained more popular. Especially for recreational purposes. This changed in the 1960s. US servicemen taking a break from the Vietnam War boosted the rise of cannabis for recreational purposes.
Laws On CBD In Australia
Prior to 1926, there were no rules that restricted the cultivation of cannabis nor the use of it. The eventual criminalization of cannabis in Australia is said to have been prompted by external societal pressure. Namely from the US and the UK.
The US had great influence over world policy on a number of issues. Quite often, the legislation they pass is duplicated in varying forms around the world. The cultivation and use of various drugs was one such area.
Examples of US influence include The Harrison Act of 1914. This act criminalized drug use. The US was also the major force behind the 1925 Geneva Convention on Opium and Other Drugs. The conventions’ main focus was opium. However after the Egyptians put cannabis in the same category as opium, it was added to the list of drugs that should be banned.
Following this, in 1926 Australia banned cannabis importation. The ban, however, was not policed. Opium was considered a bigger evil. The British began to pressure Australia to implement all the Geneva Convention requirements. This led to Victoria legislating recreational cannabis use, in 1928 with NSW doing the same in 1935.
In 1930 the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics aggressively campaigned against cannabis. They do so without presenting an factual supporting evidence. Their misinformation campaign made its way to Australia in 1938.
In 1937 the Marijuana Tax Act was introduced. The Act was used to pressure Australia to enforce the Geneva Convention rules pertaining cannabis in all jurisdictions. Eventually, medicinal cannabis was banned everywhere.
Cultural Attitudes Towards CBD In Australia
The most widely used illegal drug in the country is cannabis. Cultural attitudes towards CBD in Australia have always been fluid in the various jurisdictions. In 1977 NSW starts a discussion on making cannabis legal again. They recommended removal of penalties for personal use. The Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs recommended against it in 1979.
As cannabis use increases, the National Campaign Against Drug Abuse launches in 1985. The campaign was more focused on harm reduction than on prohibition. Some years later in 1994, the Australian National Task Force on Cannabis makes an important observation. The criminalization of cannabis and related assessed penalties are more harmful than its actual use of it.
Laws around cannabis for medical use took a positive progressive turn in Australia between 2014 and 2016.
- April 2015 – NSW, Queensland, and Victoria start planning for 2016/2017 medical cannabis trials.
- February 2016. – Amendment to The Narcotics Drugs Act of 1967. The amendment allowed for licensed and permit-based cannabis cultivation.
- April 2016 – Victoria passes the Access to Medical Cannabis Bill. This bill regulates medical cannabis production.
- July 2016 – The Federal government licenses NSW to grow cannabis for medical use.
- August 2016 – Amendment to The Poisons and Therapeutic Goods (Designated Non-ARTG Products) Regulation. Medical practitioners could now seek a license to prescribe cannabis-based products.
- November 2017 – The Food Standards Code changes. It now permits the sale of low-psychoactive hemp. However, it’s only for food purposes.
Best Places To Buy CBD In Australia
Recreational use of cannabis is still illegal across all federal, state, and territory laws in Australia. Penalties vary from state to state or territory.
Medicinal CBD is legal to use. However, it is not easy to access as it comes with a number of requirements. An authorized doctor needs to prescribe it. Or apply for its use on behalf of the patient via the TGA Special Access Scheme (SAS). These requirements vary from state/territory.
HerbBuddy is located on the Gold Coast. They are an online distributor of high-quality CBD terpene products. US hemp farms are the source for the hemp in their products. Their site shows that their products have a TGA license.
VitaHemp is located in Queensland. Australian hemp farms are the source for their hemp. They make hemp seed oil, capsules, protein and flour among other products.
Eternal Plants is an online supplier of CBD products. They offer CBD oils, paste and chewing gum for sale. They use EU approved hemp for their product.
Hemp Healing produces CBD hemp oil from certified organic hemp. They are online distributors with offices in Hong Kong and Northern Ireland.
MarijuanaOil.com.au is an online cannabis dispensary. The company is a division of VitaNutricals Pty Ltd. They make CBD oil, tinctures, and capsules.