A couple of weeks back I started researching this article, using good old-fashioned reading & learning plus sophisticated software to survey online forums, social media and websites which discuss CBD Oil (sometimes erroneously referred to in Australia as “hemp oil” or “cannabis oil”). My intention was to answer the most common question I’m regularly asked both online and IRL:
“where can I buy CBD Oil in Australia?”
Green Planet had previously discussed the answer to whether CBD is legal in Australia and taken a broad look at medical cannabis in Australia, but there were still a lot of questions (some of which we’re still planning to answer, such as “how to make CBD oil”) from people wondering about whether it’s possible to find products such as charlotte’s web CBD oil or pure CBD oil in Australia.
I’ll be honest – I wasn’t looking forward to writing the article.
It’s a tough subject and one which I’ve written 100,000+ words on over the past three years or so. The main issue is: there are so many fake sketchy profiteering people out there. This is made possible by the Australian government’s idiotic stance on preventing easy over-the counter legal access to CBD oil. At this stage, I can’t afford to trial every version of CBD oil available – Green Planet is a self-funded “passion project” with no current source of revenue. What’s more, I would want proper clinical trials done (and hope to do so in future) to measure the presence of cannabinoids.
That’s when something really cool happened – I found not just an article, but an entire new website which discussed what CBD is and how to buy it – CBD Assist. I’d last done deep online research into CBD in Australia circa six months ago and the site wasn’t up then, or at least wasn’t ranking on Google. I was suspicious for the aforementioned reasons (fraudsters and con artists in the industry) but as I read, I got more and more excited – whoever had done this, they seemed legit.
One thing concerned me – they were spruiking one particular supplier as their recommended one. Remember, I’m a pro at digital marketing and I know ALL the tricks. Some brands go so far as to build entire advice websites which seem impartial but which are actually fake sites, designed to convince you that a brand or product is legit. Really, it’s just marketing. In fact, I could be doing that right now – but I’m not. If you’re unsure about where to place your trust, you can learn about my angle here. To get back to our point, I got in touch with CBD Assist and asked:
“Hey guys, I’m currently researching an article on how to get CBD in Australia for my website. I found yours, and it’s very well researched – well done. I see that you’re only recommending one source and that you provide a 20% discount, which I assume (together with your links and the fact that you clearly understand how to put websites together for SEO etc) means that you get a referral commission? I just wanted to know what factors made NuLeaf come out on top over the others? I’ve tried a lot of the ones you recommend with varied results, so I’m considering giving it a go.”
They quickly responded:
“Hi Cormac, thanks for reaching out. Our team has done a lot of research reviewing forums, groups, reviews to find that list you see here. We have recently decided to monetize our efforts and be an affiliate to NuLeaf to keep the site running and growing. Our mission is to provide information about cbd oil and reputable brands with quality products, to australian consumers who choose to buy online. Prior to our website, many “backyard brands” have been ripping Australian customers off with poor cbd products (sometimes no CBD content at all!). We chose to promote NuLeaf so exclusively because of their high quality no-bullshit product, thousands of good reviews online, third party lab testing, and overall great things they are doing for the community that you can read here. They are on the highest tier CBD level, like Endoca.”
Thus began our correspondence. I dug deeper, asked more questions, and ordered some NuLeaf CBD to see if it was any good – I’m still waiting for it to arrive, and I’ll update this when it does.
So I decided that instead of reinventing the wheel, I would interview CBD Assist as they have done a gold standard job of what I was intending to do: a clear and honest appraisal for Aussies who wish to obtain CBD. Here’s two comprehensive tables of advice taken from their research, followed by an interview.
Buying CBD Oil legally in Australia through a specialist clinic:
|Clinic?||GP Referral?||Initial Consultation?||TGA Application?||Prescription Consultation?||Checkups?|
|Cannabis Access Clinics||No||$200 + $25 Screening Fee||$250||$80||$80|
|Cannabis Doctors Australia||Yes||$199||$0||N/A||$59|
Buying CBD online in Australia:
|Brand?||Contains CBD?||Review of Cannabinoids Present?||Product Variants?|
|Australian Cannabis University||Yes||THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA||Oil Tinctures|
|CeeBeeDee||Yes||Low amounts of CBD, CBDA, THC, THCA||Oil Tinctures, Capsules, Skincare|
|Cloud 9||Yes||CBD||Oil Tinctures, Edibles, Vape Oil|
|Community Base Dispensary||Yes||CBD, THC, CBD, CBG, CBDA, THCA||OIl TInctures, Pastes|
|Down to Earth||Yes||CBD, CBDV, CBG, THC||Oil Tinctures, Skincare, Edibles|
|Endoca||Yes||CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, CBDA, THCA||Oil Tinctures, Capsules, Skincare, Edibles, Suppositories|
|Essential CBD Extract||Unknown||Unknown||Oil Tinctures|
|Essential Hemp By Hemp Foods Australia||No||None||Hemp Seed Oil|
|HB Naturals||Yes||CBD, CBC, CBDA, THCA||OIl Tinctures, Skincare|
|Hemp Bombs||Yes||CBD||Oil Tinctures, Capsules, Skincare, Edibles, Suppositories|
|Indivita||Yes||CBD, CBC, THC, CBG, CBDA, THCA||Oil Tincures, Skincare, Hemp Seed Oil|
|Naked Press||No||None||Hemp Seed Oil|
|NuLeaf Naturals||Yes||CBD, Low THC||Oil Tinctures|
|Snowy River Brand||Yes||CBD, CBDA||Oil Tinctures|
|The Cannabis Company||No||None||Hemp Seed Oil|
|The Good Alternative||Yes||CBD, THC||Oil Tinctures, Vape Oil, Skincare|
|Thought Cloud||Yes||CBD, CBG, CBC||Oil Tinctures, Vape Oil, Skincare|
|Ultra CBD Extract||Unknown||Unknown||Oil Tinctures|
|Uncle Pete’s||Yes||THC, THCV,CBD, CBG, CBC||Oil Tinctures, Capsules, Skincare, Vape Oil|
Interview with CBD Assist
Why did you start CBD Assist?
In 2017, an elderly mother of one of our team members tried some CBD Capsules from Byron Bay for the first time. She has suffered a life of pain from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. After a few days she said that she had the best rest and painless sleep she has had in so many years. This sparked my interest in this new type of treatment. After months of searching online about medical cannabis in Australia, I decided to create CBDAssist.com.au to provide Australian readers with a single source of information about medical cannabis in Australia.
To access medical cannabis in Australia, patients are required to undergo the Special Access or Authorised Prescriber Schemes administered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to qualify for a special prescription to obtain medical cannabis from their doctor. Through anecdotal accounts on forums and support websites, this has proven to be an arduous and expensive process, with treatment sometimes not guaranteed. Because of this, many Australians are opting the quick and easy method and purchasing medical cannabis products online from international sellers.
The problem with people buying from online stores is is the lack of education of the right product to take, the correct dosage and what to look for in a product. There are many who are also falling victim to scam products and “backyard brands” that do not have any CBD at all in their products. Our mission is to educate the Australian community to make an informed decision about trusted brands when buying a medical cannabis product online, should they wish to accept the risks and do so.
What are your goals for the website? Can you conceive of a “finish line” and what does it look like?
The goal for CBDAssist.com.au is to continue to promote advocacy for medical cannabis as a treatment for those people suffering where modern pharmaceutical treatments have failed them. Ideally, the finish line looks like a community of trusted medical cannabis companies, success stories, advocates and local personalities that the public can learn about, and make their decision whether they want to pursue their journey and treatment in medical cannabis. We still have a long way to go but the journey has been great.
How do you figure out if things are going in the right direction or whether you need to correct the course?
Our website traffic grows larger every month and we get frequently get emails from people within the industry looking to network and connect. We are in the process of setting up on Q&A interviews with various brands, companies and personalities with in the Australian cannabis industry, including yourself Cormac! [this interview with me is now published – read it here]
Millennial & Gen Z consumers are more conscious than any previous generation about who they’re giving their money to; how do you guys feel about financial transparency and is it something you feel is desirable in the businesses we support?
Financial transparency runs parallel with ethical and sustainable operations and is definitely an area of business that we respect and that businesses will need to adopt. We have passed the era of information and are now live in the era of truth. Conscious millennials seek truth in products and services they consume and have x-ray vision to the façade of marketing and advertising. We hope to add brands, business and people within our network that respect this financial transparency, sustainable processes and ethical products.
What’s your biggest challenge in terms of making CBD Assist the best you can be? If you had a magic wand, what barrier would you remove?
The stigma around medical cannabis, and cannabis in general, is still quite strong in Australia. Conversations always begin by defending the plant, before proper constructive discourse is allowed. Hollywood and media have demonised the plant so fiercely that there are so many assumptions and preconceived ideas that need to be shattered first eg. “I don’t want to get high”, “my friends brother is a stoner and is so lazy”, “people who do drugs should be in jail” etc.
Who is the community that surrounds your brand? How involved are they – active, passive, a mix?
Majority of our audience are people who are turning to medical cannabis after years of suffering from chronic illnesses. Standard pharmaceutical treatments may have only concealed their pain and symptoms (and in some cases, created worse side effects) and they are looking for an alternative treatment. They can be found on various forums, and Facebook support groups discussing their pain and offering each other recommendations.
How would you describe the cultural landscape of the cannabis industry? What are we doing well and what do we need to do better?
The cultural landscape of the cannabis industry in Australia is very mixed! There are a lot of profit focused businessmen and pharma corporates gearing up to jump on the medical side of this industry that is due to boom. There are cannabis-veteran advocates that are on the front line of advocacy and decriminalisation of recreational marijuana use. There are international entrepreneurs connecting the dots and waiting on the sidelines with product launches, with eyes set on the Australian market. And in the mix of this, there are everyday individuals who have grown up smoking marijuana and know of the positive impacts of the plant, if the industry matures in the correct way.
To do better as a whole, advocacy needs to be done by everyday Australians of all ages, through constructive conversations with different cultures, generations, beliefs and values.
In terms of community, have you entered into any partnerships or co-promotions with other brands who share similar goals? Are you open to this or do you have plans to do so in the future?
On our page: “Where To Buy CBD Oil” we have highlighted reputable Australian specialist clinics. We have also created a list of popular online sellers, that if people choose to accept the risks and buy CBD oil from these brands, they will not get scammed and the product they purchase has quality ingredients and CBD content (based on online forums, support groups and reviews).
Throughout the website, we strongly state the risks of the current state of buying CBD online in Australia; where a valid prescription is required to legally used medical cannabis, and that orders may get stopped at customs for being a hemp product. These are the risks that we want the Australian public to understand before buying CBD oil online.
What’s different about your brand and how you do business?
CBD Assist aims to be as transparent as possible with advocacy, education, information and the promotion of brands. We want Australians to be able to learn about medical cannabis, and find the proper channels to seek treatment and more information. We don’t want to see people getting scammed by fake or false-claimed products from online sellers that are in it for fast financial gain. CBD Assist seeks to continue to provide transparent information about reputable brands, products and relevant news updates about the industry.
Thank you CBD Assist for taking the time to answer our questions – and, more importantly, for spending your own valuable time on helping people access cannabis medicines in this country – respect 🙏