Busting the blackmarket! Why you should only buy legal CBD for animals

Beware of the blackmarket in CBD oil in Australia

As more CBD products are available online in Australia, it’s important to be aware of the regulations and legalities.

Below we explain the risk of buying black market CBD products online and why the best option for your animal is legally prescribed CBD oil.


Australia’s socio-political ecosystem has progressed to the point where Cannabidiol (CBD) is now accessible through legal pathways and can be applied with potential therapeutic benefits for multiple conditions. This shift in perspective has made CBD treatments much more accepted as an adjunct therapy and has resulted in an exponential uptick in public interest. The 2020s are turning out to be another decade of progress for medicinal cannabis.

Nonetheless, caution is advised as there are still various potholes that one can fall into when looking to acquire CBD for your animal. The legal route, whilst much more accommodating these days, still contains several restrictions on access – which may on the surface make illegal, black market options seem attractive. But buyer beware!

Is it safe to buy CBD online?

If you are buying CBD for your pet online, it is not legal in Australia. Many people, however, look to buy CBD online as a quick solution to their pet’s problems; yet, are often unaware of the many downsides and dangers that come with administering medicine from an unknown, unlicensed vendor and without medical advice from a qualified vet practitioner. 

Dangers associated with black market CBD

There are a number of differences to keep in mind when comparing medicinal cannabis for animals found through a legal pathway and the black market.

Firstly, from a veterinary perspective, obtaining medicinal cannabis from the black market – or any other non-TGA approved outlet – can mean a risk to your license.

Secondly, with regards to the product itself, many Australian black market sellers are simply reselling imported cannabis products and have little to no understanding of the true quality and contents of the product they are selling. 

Do you know what is in the CBD bottle you buy online?

Black market vendors are rarely transparent when providing information that concerns the nature of production and often lack basic outlines of the international supply chain, including important details such as farming and extraction methods, as well as product testing.

This leaves consumers at risk of buying a poor quality product, which may contain contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, insecticides or bacteria, and could do more harm than good for your pet. Ambiguities such as these result in a risk of reduced safety, quality, and efficacy.

An empirical study was conducted in 2020 that found that out of 62 black market products independently tested, there were two things that stood out:

  • One in four bottles had labeling errors and contained less CBD or cannabinoids than stated.
  • One in nine of these products were an outright scam, containing nothing more than plain olive, coconut or hemp seed oil.

And, lastly, the presence of contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides can also endanger the health and safety of your pets. As mentioned previously, there is no way to determine the quality of products found through unlawful means.

CBD Oil for animas in australia

Legal pathway for CBD quality assurance

Alternatively, when you obtain medicinal cannabis products through legal pathways, you can be assured that the products have undergone stringent testing so that the quality, CBD contents stated and safety profile of the product is consistent, when appropriate dosages are given to your pet.

Legally obtained CBD has a certificate of analysis for both the raw materials and the final product ensuring that all standards of safety, quality, and efficacy are met.

You can be confident that the composition of the CBD product is as it says and that there is sufficient CBD in the product to have therapeutic effect potential, when prescribed by a vet with knowledge of the right dosages and formulations for your pet’s size and condition.

When you obtain products from the black market, there are no guarantees that the same testing has been done and there are no guarantees that the product will actually contain the amount of CBD that is needed for therapeutic effect.

How much does blackmarket CBD cost vs legal CBD? 

You may have seen articles that suggest that medicinal cannabis obtained through legal pathways for animal healthcare is a lot more expensive than what is obtained on the black market. 

However, on average, the price of medicinal cannabis CBD which is obtained legally has come down to be on par with the black market, as it has for CBD for human treatment.

Another important factor to keep in mind is that black market products may not contain high concentrations of CBD.

A study conducted by High on Hemp and CBD Reviews Australia found that when comparing the cost of a black market bottle of CBD vs one acquired legally, the value was clear:

  • The legally acquired bottle was 3.6x more concentrated, even though the sample bottle was only one-third the size of the black market version.
  • This worked out at 13.5c per mg for the black market product, compared to 11c per mg for the legal version.


Who regulates CBD for pets in Australia? 

The APVMA is the federal regulatory body for pet products in Australia. However, state and territory governments are responsible for controlling the use of pesticides and veterinary medicines beyond the point of purchase. New South Wales and Western Australia have two bodies that govern these aspects of administering CBD, whereas most states only have one.

Once a registered chemical product is sold or supplied to an end-user, it is controlled by state and territory legislation through legislative initiatives, codes of practice manuals, or standard operating procedures.

Where can I buy legal CBD for my pet in Australia?

Finished legal CBD products have been available since federal legalisation in 2016 through the Australian government’s SASB scheme, which is the TGA access pathway for humans only.

However, now it is possible for vets to prescribe compounded CBD for animal health through CBD Vets Australia, and for pet parents to access legal CBD for their fur babies.

In Australia, CBD is a Schedule 4 substance and is considered legal – according to the Poisons Standards – as long as it comprises 98% Cannabidiol and less than 2% of any cannabinoids other than Cannabidiol.

If the CBD product meets the above criteria, then an Authorised Prescriber – such as a veterinarian – can prescribe CBD for an animal they are treating.

If the CBD oil does not meet the criteria for Schedule 4, then it would be considered a Schedule 9 prohibited substance, and veterinarians would not be endorsed to prescribe it.

Please don’t risk giving your animal black market CBD products. Talk to your vet and contact CBD Vets Australia to easily prescribe CBD oil for your animal.

Email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.

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