Submission to the TGA on CBD

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Submission to the Therapeutic Goods Association’s Consultation re: Proposed amendments to the Poisons Standard (for Joint ACMS/ACCS meetings, June 2020) (PDF, 160 KB, 22 May 2020)


The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates medicines and medical devices available in Australia. It continually reviews the poisons standard (also known as the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP)) to determine which substances will be available from a pharmacist only, available with a doctor's prescription, otherwise controlled (e.g. available for research only), or prohibited.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major and non-psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD-based medications are currently treated the same way as any cannabis-derived medicine, including those containing the major psychoactive component of the plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

CBD and other cannabis-derived medicines are classified as Schedule 4 substances, meaning a doctor may prescribe them... with the extra restriction that the doctor must be an "authorised prescriber" of cannabis-based medicines.

The TGA's June 2020 meeting included a proposal to reschedule low-dose CBD medicines as pharmacist only medicine for adults, which would put it in the same category as cold and flu tablets containing pseudoephidrine, and the emergency contraceptive pill.


While there is good evidence around CBD as an adjunct treatment for reducing the number and severity of epileptic seizures, the evidence for CBD in treating other conditions, like pain and inflammation, is still inconclusive.

However, low-dose CBD for adults is also a low-risk medication, and appears to be so tightly regulated only because it is derived from a plant that is illegal due to its THC content (similarly, low-THC hemp seed foods were until recently prohibited by default).

The Science Party's submission supported the proposal to down-schedule CBD medications, which if passed will improve access to this therapy and could make it easier to gather high-quality data on its effectiveness.


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