Is CBD legal in Australia & Where to Buy it

In this buyer’s guide, we’ll reveal our pick of the highest quality CBD brands that ship to Australia. We’ll also explain Australian law surrounding CBD, and provide you with some insider tips on purchasing CBD online.
Written by 
Emma Francis Stone, Ph.D.
&
Camille Gillain, Lawyer.
|Check IconMedically reviewed by 
Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC.
|Last Updated:

Here are our key findings:

Like many countries, Australia’s CBD framework is currently characterized by complexities. CBD falls under Australia’s medical cannabis legislation that was enforced in 2016.

Under this framework, CBD products that contain 98% CBD and 2% other cannabinoids (including THC) are legal in Australia. However, there are currently no products available from pharmacies that meet the Schedule 3 (over-the-counter) criteria. At the moment, the only CBD products that are available are classified as Schedule 4. Schedule 4 products can only be obtained from pharmacies with a prescription. Australians who wish to access CBD legally need a doctor’s prescription.

The approval process to allow more CBD products into the Australian market is stringent, so it could be years before pharmacies are stocked with a selection of CBD products that fulfil over-the-counter criteria. In the meantime, many Australian consumers choose to access CBD products from overseas retailers – although these products may be confiscated by customs.

In this Leafreport guide, we’ll reveal our list of the top five CBD brands that ship to Australia. We’ll also help demystify some of the legislation surrounding CBD in Australia, so you feel informed when purchasing. Lastly, we’ll provide tips about how to shop for CBD online.

The best CBD products in Australia

Despite the stringent rules that govern the sale of CBD products in Australia, there is currently a wide selection of CBD retailers that ship to the region. Using the Leafreport rating system, we’ve chosen five of the most reputable CBD brands, profiling each of them below..

For a brief breakdown of the scoring categories that we use to evaluate each brand, read on.

Leafreport’s scoring categories

Our rating system calculates scores according to the five criteria listed below. We add these scores across five categories to arrive at a total score out of 100.

Here are the five categories that we judge:

  • Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation examines the brand’s third-party potency and purity results, their reputation, and whether details regarding their hemp cultivation and manufacturing process are readily available.
  • Hemp quality evaluates if the ingredients used in the CBD formulations are vegan, non-GMO, USDA organic certified, or derived from sustainable sources. We’re particularly interested in uncovering how the brand grows their hemp and extracts their CBD.
  • Product variety checks out the range of different products and delivery formats the brand has on offer and whether there are variants available. For example, is the CBD tincture available in varying concentrations? Is there a range of flavors?
  • Customer experience checks how easy it is for a customer to navigate the website, ask questions, make a purchase, and how quickly the package arrives.
  • Price and discounts assess whether the consumer is getting value for money. We average the price per milligram of CBD across all CBD brands, so we can compare the brand’s price point against the wider industry. We also check out whether the brand offers any special discounts.

R+R Medicinals

R+R Medicinals CBD

Overall ScoreRead Review
93out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
28/30
Hemp Quality
25/25
Variety of Products
14/18
Customer Experience
14/15
Price & Discounts
12/12
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R+R’s third-party CoA (Certificate of Analysis) potency and purity tests can be easily accessed for each product lot, providing consumers with reassurance about the quality of the CBD. However, there’s very little information supplied about the team running the operation.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
25/25

R+R Medicinal hemp farms and extraction facility became USDA Organic Certified in late 2019. It would be great to see some more information supplied about the organic farms where the hemp is grown, however.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
14/18

The brand has a wide selection of products available, including creams, softgels, tinctures, and gummies.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
14/15

R+R’s website is extremely customer-friendly, providing useful consumer resources and relevant product information. There’s also a comprehensive, clearly-structured FAQ page, and a live chat to answer any questions you have that might crop up as you shop.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
12/12

The brand boasts a competitive price point when it comes to CBD, ranging from $0.04 – $0.1 per milligram of CBD. There are also discounts available for veterans, and wholesale purchase options.

R+R Medicinals is a Colorado-based CBD brand that ships all over the world–including Australia. The brand consistently rates among Leafreport’s highest-rated CBD companies, thanks to its transparent quality checks and quality products. R+R Medicinals also prides itself on a unique point of difference–it’s proprietary strain of “Cherry” USDA Certified Organic hemp. The brand uses a cold CO2 extraction process to extract CBD from hemp that retains the therapeutic compounds present in cannabis, such as terpenes and flavonoids. Within the R+R Medicinals range both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products are on offer, with some variation of flavors and concentrations available in the tincture range. All products are third-party tested for purity and potency. CBD consumers looking for products with shelf appeal will likely appreciate the brand’s rustic, old-timey packaging.

If there are any drawbacks associated with R+R Medicinals, it’s that there are some omissions on the website. We couldn’t find a link to the USDA Organic Certification, and it’s also unclear who founded and manages the brand. In addition, individuals looking for a wide range of gummy and tincture flavors may find the brand’s present offering a little limited.

Medterra CBD

Medterra CBD

Overall ScoreRead Review
91out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
29/30
Hemp Quality
22/25
Variety of Products
14/18
Customer Experience
14/15
Price & Discounts
12/12
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Medterra has a longstanding respected reputation in the CBD space with hundreds of customer reviews shared on their website. All Medterra products are third-party laboratory tested for both purity and potency.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
22/25

Medterra uses non-GMO industrial hemp cultivated to the highest standards on state-regulated farms in Kentucky. The brand is U.S. Hemp Authority certified, and abides by the Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Hemp Pilot Program regulations. Medterra’s farms and growing practices have been evaluated by regulatory bodies and meet specific standards, including the avoidance of glyphosate in their farming.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
14/18

Medterra produces high quality CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD products that are entirely free of THC. Their range includes tinctures, topicals, gummies, capsules and pet products.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
14/15

The website is clearly structured and user-friendly, with abundant educational resources for new CBD users to peruse. There’s a live chat function available during business hours, and a unique quiz that can help customers determine which product best suits their needs.

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Price & Discounts
12/12

Medterra’s product pricing is very competitive compared to similar brands. Theur prices range from $0.04 to $0.07 per mg of CBD for tinctures, and $0.05 to $0.07 for their capsules. There are also rewards available for regular buyers.

Medterra CBD is a Californian-based brand that ships all over the globe, including Australia. Medterra products are screened by a medical advisory board with expert credentials, including dermatologists, pharmacists, and veterinarians. The brand works with Baylor University to develop its CBD products. Another point of difference that distinguishes Medterra CBD from other brands is that it organizes its products into three categories: isolate, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum, with a range of delivery methods available for each. Products are also further sorted by therapeutic focus, with options such as immune boost, recover, and relax. The brand’s product offering is comprehensive, covering diverse needs, while also being straightforward. There are clear links provided to the certificates of analysis, with lab reports supplied for each product.

When it comes to drawbacks, the website is a little overwhelming, due to the volume of information, promotions, and customer reviews. Paring back the sheer quantity of information could help consumers navigate the website more easily.

Leafwell Botanicals

Leafwell Botanicals

Overall ScoreRead Review
88out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
25/30
Hemp Quality
22/25
Variety of Products
14/18
Customer Experience
15/15
Price & Discounts
12/12
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Third-party potency tests show that Leafwell Botanicals products fall within the 10% variance range permitted. Their products are also subjected to purity testing for residuals, solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants. The lab results for each product are listed comprehensively on the website.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
22/25

This US based company partners with organic hemp farmers in Colorado and Kentucky. The brand is in the process of working towards achieving full organic USDA certification.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
14/18

The brand offers a solid range of products covering all the major bases: CBD tinctures, topicals, softgels, edibles, and pet products. For those seeking a way to incorporate CBD into their diet, there are even CBD-infused salted almonds and creamy peanut butter, finished with a touch of Himalayan sea salt.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
15/15

Leafwell Botanicals offers a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee. Customers who have questions can easily get in touch via a range of methods, including a webform, email, live chat and phone number.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
12/12

Leafwell’s prices are very competitive, with an average price point of $.07 per mg of CBD. Their tinctures and softgels average $.03 per mg, which is lower than comparable brands in the market.

Leafwell Botanicals is a CBD brand based in Colorado that ships to diverse countries, including Australia. The brand prides itself on its vertical integration process, with all cultivation, manufacturing, and extraction taking place in Colorado. Leafwell has a fascinating backstory. The brand’s three founders share expertise in botanical science and health, and identified that CBD had the potential to enhance the lives and wellbeing of both humans and animals. Luis Gamardo, one of the brand’s founders, also shares his personal story of the role CBD played in helping him navigate the stresses associated with a cancer diagnosis. All Leafwell Botanicals products are made in small batches, using CBD derived from Colorado and Kentucky growers who cultivate it organically. The brand offers both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products, with no products made from CBD isolate at present. The brand carries a range of CBD concentrations.

If there’s one major drawback associated with Leafwell Botanicals, it’s that the brand doesn’t currently offer gummies. Gummies represent one of the most popular delivery formats as they offer precise dosing, and an easy, discreet and convenient way to consume CBD.

Smilyn CBD

Smilyn

Overall ScoreRead Review
82out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
24/30
Hemp Quality
19/25
Variety of Products
14/18
Customer Experience
15/15
Price & Discounts
10/12
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Smilyn subjects its products to third-party testing. Lab results can be easily accessed via the lab results tab, with certificates of analysis organized by product. There’s lots of information shared on the website about the brand’s founder, Brett Weiss, and other team members, who largely hail from business and entrepreneurial backgrounds.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
19/25

Smilyn derives its CBD from proprietary strains of hemp. Their hemp is grown in nutrient-rich soil in Colorado. All of the CBD used in Smilyn products is CBD isolate, free from THC and other cannabinoids.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
14/18

There’s an impressive product range with items to suit most tastes and needs. Smilyn offers tinctures, gummies, softgels, roll-on sticks, salves, patches, lotions, face masks and pet products The tinctures also come in a rainbow array of flavors. For those curious about other cannabinoids derived from industrial hemp, like THC-O there’s also a selection based on minor cannabinoids.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
15/15

The website is aesthetically engaging and has some comprehensive educational resources for consumers interested in learning more about hemp and CBD. There’s an FAQ page that answers most common questions, and it’s straightforward to reach out to the Smilyn team with questions.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
10/12

Smilyn’s price point varies from $0.04 – $1 per milligram of CBD. There’s a loyalty rewards program along with other incentives to buy, such as a 20% discount on your first order.

Smilyn Wellness is based in Carlsbad, California. Brett Weiss, the company’s founder, claims that “a Weiss man once told me, the secret to longevity is Smilyn.” On the Smilyn Wellness website, the brand also states that their mission is to enable access to affordable, premium-quality CBD products that leave the consumer smiling. Despite the feel-good, inclusive approach to CBD, the brand takes its formulation process seriously. Smilyn uses food-grade ethanol for the extraction method, with the subsequent product subjected to a “patented technology” to ensure that all their CBD is absolutely THC-free. The brand also uses nanoemulsion in some of its product formulations, a technology that enhances bioavailability of the product and enables customers to enjoy enhanced effects with lower doses. For consumers who like to take their tinctures in fun flavors, Smilyn offers CBD oils in grape, elderberry, blueberry, cinnamon, mint, lemon and orange–all the colors of the rainbow.

If there’s one major drawback associated with Smilyn, it’s that the brand only sells products formulated with CBD isolate. CBD isolate products do not contain any of the other cannabinoids or beneficial compounds that are present in cannabis. While isolate-based products may be a good option for those seeking pure CBD, the lack of broad-spectrum and full-spectrum options may deter consumers looking to experience the entourage effect.

Penguin CBD

Penguin CBD

Overall ScoreRead Review
81out of 100
Score Breakdown
Transparency, Accuracy & Reputation
24/30
Hemp Quality
22/25
Variety of Products
11/18
Customer Experience
14/15
Price & Discounts
10/12
Sale Icon
free shipping for all products
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Penguin CBD analyzes its products for potency. Lab reports for each product type can be accessed via the Lab Reports tab. There is a single lab report supplied for each product, so it’s vital to check that it matches the batch number on the product you’ve purchased.

Hemp QualityIcon
Hemp Quality
22/25

Penguin uses hemp grown in Oregon. While there’s no evidence provided that the hemp is organic, the brand claims to use zero pesticides during the cultivation process, and states that it practices sustainable hemp farming.

Variety of ProductsIcon
Variety of Products
11/18

Penguin offers just a handful of products in its CBD range. That being said, the brand covers the four main delivery methods with tincture, edibles, cream, and capsules, and several flavor and concentration options in the tincture range. There are also CBD cat treats for consumers shopping for their feline friends.

Customer ExperienceIcon
Customer Experience
14/15

For a consumer who’s new to CBD, Penguin’s focused product range is clearly explained and not too overwhelming.The website is professional, appealing, and clearly organized. There’s a live chat option (which is operational during business hours) that allows a rapid response to questions.

Price & DiscountsIcon
Price & Discounts
10/12

Penguin’s pricing ranges from $0.15 to $0.31 per milligram of CBD, a little higher than comparable brands. On the Penguin website there are often discounts available. Consumers are also offered the option of a monthly subscription so they can receive regular deliveries of their favorite products at a discounted rate.

Penguin CBD is an Oregon-based CBD brand that ships to diverse countries across the globe. Like many artisanal, small-scale CBD companies, the brand focuses on quality over quantity, offering a grand total of five products. Within this range there are broad-spectrum tinctures, creams and capsules, gummies made with CBD isolate, and salmon-flavored cat treats. Penguin uses CO2 extraction (a very safe and clean extraction method) to protect the diverse therapeutic compounds contained within the plant.

The website supplies very limited information about the team behind Penguin, simply stating that they’re CBD enthusiasts and experts hailing from a range of industries. Similarly, there’s very little information presented about the origins of the hemp, or the farming practices used in its cultivation, which undermines the brand’s transparency.

CBD legislation in Australia could be interpreted as somewhat of a work in progress. Medical cannabis legislation was passed in 2016, permitting the sale of CBD oil containing at least 98% CBD and 2% other cannabinoids. The regulation, sale and consumption of CBD is currently governed by the Australia Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). CBD oil is still very much considered a medicinal compound.

Initially, CBD was categorized as a Schedule 4 substance, which meant Australians could only access it with a doctor’s prescription. In 2020, however, the cannabinoid was reclassified as a Schedule 3 substance, allowing consumers to access CBD for medical purposes from pharmacies without a prescription. However, there are currently no TGA-approved products on the market that meet the Schedule 3 criteria. Gaining approval is a process that can take months, or even years. At present, it appears that the only CBD available in pharmacies is low-dose CBD isolate, and consumers can only access a maximum of 150 mg of CBD per day with a doctor’s prescription. According to the TGA, low-dose CBD oil equates to the consumer receiving 1 milligram per kilogram of body weight, per day.

Due to the current limitations on the retail of CBD, many Australian consumers instead opt to purchase CBD from offshore retailers. However, there’s a risk that online purchases may be seized and confiscated, as the importation of CBD into the country is currently prohibited.

CBD brands that ship to Australia

Australians can choose from a select range of CBD retailers that ship from Europe and North America. While the list may appear limited, it contains some of the most reputable brands currently available on the market. If you’re unfamiliar with any of these companies and want to find out more or access some independent reviews, take a look at our brand search tool.

Where can I purchase CBD in Australia?

Shopping for CBD in Australia isn’t yet a reality. Consumers are limited to ultra-low dose CBD isolate in pharmacies, so many prefer to broaden their horizons by purchasing products available online.

Online shopping offers a number of distinct benefits. First of all, consumers can shop for CBD from the privacy of their own home, taking their time to review and compare prices and products. Online shopping also often boasts more competitive pricing, as there are no overheads.

Before making any online purchases, however, it’s critical to assess the safety and quality of any products you’re interested in buying. As the CBD market is not currently regulated, one of the most effective ways to ensure you’re receiving value for money is to check for third-party purity and potency tests. Purity tests verify whether the product contains harmful levels of microbes, heavy metals or pesticides, while purity tests indicate whether the product contains the quantity of CBD specified on the label (or falls within an accepted variance). You can find this information on the product’s certificate of analysis. It’s helpful to know how to read a certificate of analysis, so if you’re unsure, take a look at our video guide that demystifies the process.

Other vital details to check also include how the hemp is cultivated, and how the CBD is extracted. Ideally, look for hemp grown in organic conditions (that’s preferably certified organic by the USDA or another legitimate body). As hemp grows it can absorb contaminants from the soil, so opting for organic if possible means it will likely be free of harmful toxins. When it comes to extraction, some of the safest, most effective methods include supercritical co2 extraction and live resin.

Lastly, take a look at Leafreport’s brand search tool. We provide extensive insights and feedback into the products offered by each brand.

Summary

Purchasing CBD oil in Australia is currently characterized by some obstacles. While CBD oil (containing at least 98% CBD and 2% other cannabinoids) has been legal since 2016, it’s not easy to purchase.

Australian pharmacies presently only carry ultra-low dose CBD, so many shoppers prefer to access a wider range of products from overseas vendors. However, given Australia’s current importation restrictions on the cannabinoid, there is a possibility that CBD products purchased could be seized. It’s possible that current restrictions may ease or become more flexible in the coming years, but for the time being–buyer beware.

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Dr. Emma F. Stone is passionate about plant medicine and the potential it holds in transforming the current medical paradigm. She has written extensively for Leafly, Weedmaps, Flowertown, Psychedelic Science Review, and contributed to industry reports and fact sheets detailing cannabis medicine, dosage, and delivery methods for diverse conditions. She’s currently working on a book exploring plant medicine and its uses.
Camille Gillain graduated with honors in international and European law from a prestigious law school in France. With a master's degree in this field, Camille is a consultant for several companies and individuals on specific legal issues. With a critical and analytical mind, she has conducted several academic researches and had the opportunity to have an experience at the United Nations. As the head of two companies in France, Camille divides her time between France and abroad.
Eloise Theisen
Eloise Theisen
RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC
Eloise Theisen is a board certified Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner who specializes in cannabis therapy. For over 20 years, Eloise has worked primarily with cancer, dementia and chronic pain patients. In the last 6 years, Eloise has focused her efforts on cannabinoid therapies. Eloise has worked with over 6500 patients to help them effectively treat age-related and chronic illness with cannabis.

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