What is CBD oil?

What is CBD oil?
June 07, 2024
4 min read

CBD oil is a prescription medication containing the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) dissolved in a carrier oil. CBD is the non-psychoactive counterpart to the mind-altering THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and helps to ‘balance out’ the effects of cannabinoids in a phenomenon known as the ‘Entourage effect’.

What is CBD oil?

Types of CBD oil

CBD oils are grouped according to their active ingredients. The three main types of CBD oil are CBD isolate, Broad-spectrum CBD oil, and Full-spectrum CBD oil

What is a carrier oil?

A carrier oil is used to dissolve CBD and other cannabinoids, which are hydrophobic and do not mix with water. The carrier oils used for CBD and other cannabinoids vary and may include MCT (Medium-Chain Triglycerides), olive, sesame, sunflower, and hemp seed oil.

Carrier oils are selected for their different properties, and some patients may digest certain oils more easily than others. MCT oil is the most common carrier oil as it absorbs CBD and other cannabinoids effectively, has a neutral taste, and spoils slowly. Some patients may experience mild gastrointestinal (GI) upset from MCT oil, in which case an alternate carrier oil is recommended.

How do I take CBD oil?

CBD oil is usually recommended for sublingual use (under the tongue). However, the specific method of use may vary depending on the formulation and the instructions provided by your healthcare provider. While THC is most effectively absorbed in the stomach, CBD benefits from being in contact with the numerous capillaries (small blood vessels) under the tongue, allowing for quick absorption into the bloodstream. Due to this, it is recommended that CBD oil is held under the tongue for at least a minute before swallowing. After swallowing CBD oil will continue to be absorbed in the stomach, albeit less effectively.

It is important that you only take your prescribed medications exactly as directed. Oral oils are not designed to be smoked or inhaled.

Legal Considerations

Is CBD oil legal in Australia?

CBD oil is legal to use in Australia when prescribed by a doctor or Nurse Practitioner. Despite being down-scheduled from Schedule 4 (prescription-only medication) to Schedule 3 (pharmacist-only medication), CBD oil is still unavailable over the counter. 

Why can’t I get CBD oil over the counter in Australia?

To be sold over the counter, a CBD oil product must be listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). This involves a lengthy and rigorous process involving extensive product testing and a series of clinical trials to prove its safety and efficacy. Once this data has been collected, the product sponsor (medical cannabis company) must submit their findings to the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). It may take up to 330 days for the TGA to accept or reject this application, during which time they may request further information, extending this process. 

To date, no CBD product has been approved for over-the-counter sale.

Can I legally drive on CBD oil?

Whether or not you can legally drive on CBD oil in Australia depends on the type of CBD oil you are prescribed. In most states, it is illegal to drive with a detectable amount of THC in your system. For this reason, patients who plan to drive should use a CBD isolate product containing no THC.

Remember that THC can be detected in saliva for up to 72 hours. Please consult with your prescriber if this is an issue.

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Please note that this blog was not written by a licensed medical practitioner and therefore is not providing medical advice. We do not endorse the use of cannabis or any other illicit drugs. Like any medication, cannabis has potential negative side effects and should only be used under the guidance of a qualified medical professional. For the latest information on cannabis prescription and use, please visit the TGA website. If you are considering cannabis as a treatment option, we encourage you to consult with a licensed healthcare professional.

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