CBD vs THC: What’s the Difference Between These Medical Cannabis Products?

CBD vs THC: What's the Difference Between These Medical Cannabis Products?

While medical cannabis is legal in Australia, there are firm rules around the different medicinal cannabis products available and when they can be prescribed.

And right now, many patients are confused by two tags that you’ll find on many medical marijuana products: CBD and THC.

It might sound confusing, but these are just the cannabinoids that are present in the medication. THC and CBD have different legal statuses in Australia, and both cannabinoids provide unique effects.

So, before you discuss medical marijuana treatment with a doctor, it’s important to understand the difference between CBD and THC to make it easier to find the best option for your needs.

Today, we’re getting into the differences between these two types of medicinal cannabis and also how you can purchase these products in Australia. So, keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Cannabinoid?

CBD and THC are cannabinoids, so before we get into the details of their effects and composition, it’s important to understand what cannabinoids are in the first place.

Basically, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant. These compounds bind with our cannabinoid receptors, which is what produces the effects that we’re familiar with when taking medicinal cannabis.

There are hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, but we only really understand two of them; CBD and THC. But even then, we still don’t have enough information on CBD and THC to say anything conclusively about their effects and risks.

This is why we need more clinical trials and studies on the potential therapeutic benefits of medicinal cannabis. But right now, the information is lacking, which is why you must speak to your medical practitioner about whether or not medicinal cannabis is the right option for you.

What Is CBD?

You will likely find CBD in any medicinal cannabis product you pick up at the pharmacy or dispensary. This is because CBD is one of the most prominent non-psychoactive cannabinoids, which means that taking CBD medicinal cannabis products will not get you “high.”

In most medicinal cannabis products, CBD is derived from hemp, which is any part of the cannabis sativa plant. Since this is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, it’s commonly used in medicinal cannabis as it provides many effects without getting the user “high”.

What Is CBD?

What Is THC?

THC is the most prominent psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. Certain medicinal cannabis products contain THC. However, since this compound can get you “high,” it’s controlled by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Unlike medicinal cannabis with pure CBD, if a product has significant levels of THC, it falls under a different legal status, making it harder to prescribe.

CBD vs THC – Legality

Both CBD and THC are legal medicinal cannabis products in Australia. So, if your doctor believes it can be the right treatment option for your needs, they can prescribe them to you. That said, CBD and THC, while both used in medicinal cannabis products, fall under different classifications.

Currently, medicinal cannabis products with CBD and less than 0.3% THC are classified as Schedule 4 drugs. In Australia, this means they are prescription-only drugs, so you can purchase these medicinal cannabis products as long as you have a doctor’s prescription.

On top of that, any doctor can prescribe medicinal cannabis products that fall under Schedule 4. So, when prescribing medicinal cannabis, there’s a high chance that your doctor will recommend CBD products.

Medicinal cannabis with THC, on the other hand, falls under the Schedule 8 category. Medicinal cannabis products under this classification have strict legislative controls. While you can still legally purchase these products, obtaining a prescription is much harder.

To get a prescription for medicinal cannabis with THC, you must go to a doctor who has applied for clearance under the Special Access Scheme. So, if you want someone to prescribe medicinal cannabis with THC, you must go to a practitioner with approval to distribute the products. You can also read about Mental health and well-being by visiting https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-and-wellbeing

What Can a Doctor Prescribe CBD For?

In Australia, doctors can recommend medicinal cannabis for various conditions. If you’re considering using medicinal cannabis products that are mostly CBD, your doctor can prescribe it for the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Acne
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy

Again, you can speak to any doctor about using medicinal cannabis with CBD in it. So, if you think it might be the right option for your condition, talk to a professional today.

When Can a Doctor Prescribe THC?

Medical professionals may also prescribe THC for the same conditions above. That said, prescribing medicinal cannabis with THC is a bit more complicated than with CBD. This is because doctors need a special permit from the Therapeutic Goods Administration before they can prescribe THC to patients.

How to Get CBD Medicinal Cannabis in Australia?

Buying medicinal cannabis products in Australia might seem like a daunting task, but it’s pretty simple. To help you out, here’s a clear step-by-step guide to getting medicinal cannabis in Australia.

Get a Prescription

The first step to accessing medicinal cannabis is getting a prescription. Again, any doctor in Australia can prescribe CBD medicinal cannabis as long as they believe it to be the right treatment for the patient.

Find a Dispensary

After getting a prescription, you need to find the right supplier for your medicinal cannabis. You can go to a dispensary or pharmacy near you and show your prescription for the product. But if there’s no place to buy close to you, you can also purchase medicinal cannabis online and have it delivered to your address.


It’s important that you understand how medicinal cannabis works and the different compounds present before purchasing it for yourself. That way, you stay informed the whole way through and understand exactly what you’re taking.

In Australia, THC and CBD are the most prominent cannabinoids in medical marijuana products. And while they offer different effects, they are both legal in Australia as long as you have the right prescription.

So, if you’re interested in medical cannabis for your condition, speak to a doctor about your possibilities today.