CBD Oil in New Zealand: A Comprehensive Guide

CBD Oil in New Zealand: A Comprehensive Guide

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about CBD oil in New Zealand, including legality, obtaining prescriptions, potential benefits and side effects, and more.

Understanding CBD and THC

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the most well-known and extensively researched cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. While they share a similar chemical structure, their effects on the human body are quite distinct.

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, which means it does not produce the intoxicating or mind-altering effects typically associated with cannabis use. In fact, CBD has been shown to counteract some of the negative effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia. Additionally, CBD is non-addictive and has demonstrated potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anticonvulsant properties.

THC, on the other hand, is the primary psychoactive component in cannabis, responsible for producing the “high” or euphoric sensation commonly associated with cannabis use. 

In New Zealand, CBD oil is legal as a prescription-only medication, meaning that patients can obtain it only through a prescription from a registered medical practitioner. This includes general practitioners (GPs) as well as specialists who can prescribe CBD oil for various medical conditions, depending on individual needs and circumstances. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health regulates the use of CBD oil, ensuring that it meets strict quality and safety standards.

THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, is also legal for medicinal use in New Zealand, provided it is prescribed by a registered doctor. Medical cannabis products, including those containing THC, are subject to regulations and guidelines under the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulations 2019. These regulations aim to balance patient access to medicinal cannabis products with concerns around public health and safety.

It is important to note that while CBD oil and medical cannabis products containing THC are legal in New Zealand for prescribed use, recreational cannabis use remains illegal. Possession, cultivation, or distribution of cannabis for non-medical purposes can result in significant penalties under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Furthermore, patients prescribed CBD oil or medical cannabis products containing THC should always carry their prescription and any related documentation to ensure they can verify their legal use of these medications if required.


Differences Between Hemp Oil, CBD Oil, and Cannabis Oil

Hemp oil, CBD oil, and cannabis oil are distinct products with unique properties and uses. 

Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant and is primarily used for its nutritional benefits. It is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals but does not possess medicinal properties.

CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the cannabis plant. CBD oil has gained popularity for its potential therapeutic benefits, which may include pain relief, anxiety reduction, and alleviation of inflammation.

Cannabis oil is a broader term that refers to any oil extracted from the cannabis plant, encompassing both CBD oil and THC oil. THC oil is known for its psychoactive properties, which can produce a high. The specific composition of cannabis oil depends on the strain of cannabis used and the extraction method employed. As a result, cannabis oil can vary widely in terms of cannabinoid content, including CBD and THC concentrations, and may have distinct medicinal applications.

Understanding Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

Full-spectrum CBD oil is a comprehensive product that contains not only CBD but also a wide range of medicinal cannabinoids, such as CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol), and trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. Full-spectrum CBD oil also retains terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds found in the plant, which are believed to have additional therapeutic properties.

Many experts and consumers consider full-spectrum CBD oil to be superior to isolates or pure CBD oil due to the synergistic effect known as the “entourage effect.” The entourage effect refers to the enhanced efficacy and therapeutic benefits of CBD when it is combined with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant compounds, as opposed to when it is consumed in isolation. This synergy allows for a more comprehensive approach to addressing various health issues and optimising overall wellness.

It is essential to note that full-spectrum CBD oil does contain trace amounts of THC (although below the legal threshold of 0.2% in NZ). While this minimal amount is unlikely to produce any psychoactive effects, individuals who are particularly sensitive to THC or subject to drug testing may prefer to choose broad-spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolates, which contain no THC.

Potential Benefits of CBD Oil

CBD oil has gained popularity due to its numerous potential benefits, which can range from reducing pain and inflammation to alleviating anxiety and promoting overall well-being. As a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, CBD oil is considered safe for long-term use by individuals of all ages.

  1. Pain management: CBD oil has been studied for its potential to reduce pain caused by various conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to relieving pain by reducing inflammation in the body.
  2. Mental health issues: Research has shown that CBD oil could potentially help with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is thought to work by modulating the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in mood regulation and stress response.
  3. Sleep disorders: CBD oil may help improve sleep quality for individuals suffering from insomnia or other sleep disturbances. It is believed to do so by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which influences the sleep-wake cycle and overall sleep quality.
  4. Inflammatory and gastrointestinal conditions: CBD oil may help alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may reduce gut inflammation, while its potential ability to influence the endocannabinoid system could help regulate gut motility and function.
  5. Neurological conditions: Studies have suggested that CBD oil could potentially benefit individuals with neurological disorders like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. Its neuroprotective properties may help reduce the frequency and severity of seizures, and it may also alleviate muscle spasticity and tremors.
  6. Cancer treatment side effects: CBD oil may help reduce nausea, vomiting, and pain associated with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Additionally, research has shown that CBD may have anti-tumor properties, although more studies are needed to confirm its potential as a complementary therapy for cancer treatment.

While CBD oil offers promising benefits for a range of health issues, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your wellness routine, as it may interact with certain medications or be unsuitable for specific conditions.

Potential Side Effects and Risks of CBD Oil

While CBD oil is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for most individuals, there are potential side effects and risks to consider. Common side effects, although rare, may include stomach upset, diarrhoea, drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth. Allergic reactions are also possible, although infrequent.

Individuals with liver impairments should exercise caution when using CBD oil, as high doses may negatively affect liver enzyme levels. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional who can monitor liver function and recommend appropriate dosage adjustments if needed.

CBD oil is considered safe for use in children, and the FDA has approved a prescription form of CBD (Epidiolex) for the treatment of specific epilepsy disorders, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. However, it is crucial to consult with an experienced healthcare practitioner when considering CBD oil for children. This ensures appropriate dosing, monitoring of potential interactions with other medications, and the evaluation of the child’s overall health and well-being.

Interactions with Other Medications

CBD oil has the potential to interact with certain medications, which could lead to increased side effects or reduced effectiveness of the medications. Some known interactions include clobazam, sodium valproate, carbamazepine, warfarin, and phenytoin, among others. These medications are commonly used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, blood clotting disorders, and other chronic health issues.

It is crucial to consult with an experienced healthcare professional before using CBD oil if you are taking any of these medications or other prescription drugs.

CBD Oil in New Zealand: A Comprehensive Guide
CBD can benefit people of all ages who suffer from various health conditions.

CBD Oil Dosage

Determining the appropriate CBD oil dosage is a personalised process, as it depends on various factors such as the individual’s body weight, the condition being treated, and the concentration of the CBD product. Generally, people start with a low dose, such as 25mg per day, and gradually increase it to an optimal level, which can range from 100mg per day or more over the course of 2-3 weeks. It is essential to monitor your body’s response and adjust the dosage as needed, under the guidance of your healthcare professional.

The Cost of CBD Oil in NZ

The cost of CBD oil in NZ varies widely based on factors such as concentration, brand, and product quality. On average, most products may cost between $2 to $5 per day, but this can fluctuate depending on the specific product chosen and the required daily dosage. 

Obtaining a CBD Oil Prescription in NZ

Obtaining a CBD oil prescription in New Zealand is relatively straightforward, as any registered doctor is authorised to prescribe it. Your general practitioner (GP) is a good starting point for discussing the potential benefits and risks of CBD oil for your specific health condition. If your GP is open to prescribing CBD oil, they can help you determine the appropriate dosage and monitor your progress.

If your GP is unfamiliar with CBD oil or hesitant to prescribe it, you can seek the guidance of an experienced cannabis doctor. These medical professionals have a thorough understanding of CBD oil, its potential therapeutic effects, and the appropriate treatment plans for various conditions. They can provide a personalized treatment plan and recommendations and closely monitor your progress while using CBD oil.

CBD Oil for Pets in NZ

Currently, CBD oil is not available for pets in NZ, as no products have been approved as veterinary medicines. However, the use of CBD oil for animals has shown promising results overseas.

Does CBD Oil Show in a Drug Test?

CBD oil itself should not cause a positive result on a drug test, as it primarily contains CBD, which is non-psychoactive and not the target of standard drug tests. However, some full spectrum CBD oil products may contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that is typically screened for during drug tests, which may trigger a positive result. If you require 100% certainty, choose an isolate CBD product only.

CBD and Driving in New Zealand

In New Zealand, CBD (cannabidiol) is classified as a prescription medicine under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Although it is non-psychoactive and does not cause the “high” typically associated with cannabis, drivers using CBD should still exercise caution. While there are no specific laws addressing CBD use and driving, the Land Transport Act 1998 prohibits operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs, including prescription medications. 

If you are taking CBD for medicinal purposes, it is crucial to understand how it affects your body and your ability to drive safely. To minimise the risk of impairment, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance on appropriate dosages and any potential side effects. Always follow your physician’s advice, and if you experience any drowsiness or other symptoms that could impact your driving ability, refrain from getting behind the wheel. By being responsible and aware of your limitations, you can help ensure a safe driving experience for yourself and others on the road.

Travelling Overseas with CBD Oil

When planning to travel overseas with CBD oil, it is essential to familiarise yourself with local regulations and guidelines surrounding its transportation and use. In New Zealand, CBD oil is considered a prescription medicine, and carrying it without a valid prescription could result in legal consequences. 

Before travelling, obtain a prescription from your healthcare provider and carry it with you at all times to avoid potential issues. If you are travelling internationally, research the destination country’s laws and regulations regarding CBD oil, as they may differ significantly from those in New Zealand. Some countries may have stricter rules or even consider CBD oil an illegal substance. When flying, always pack your CBD oil in a transparent, resealable bag and place it in your carry-on luggage, adhering to the airline’s liquid restrictions. This will facilitate security checks and minimise the risk of confiscation. By taking these precautions, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience with your CBD oil.


CBD oil can be a great natural alternative for those seeking relief from various health conditions. With its numerous potential benefits, low risk of side effects, and legal status in NZ, it may be worth exploring as a treatment option. Consult with one of our experienced healthcare professionals today.

MBChB (Otago), BSc (Auckland) - As our tele-medicine doctor and author, Dr. Waseem keeps busy educating both patients and doctors about medicinal cannabis. He also consults with people from all over New Zealand, offering a listening ear and giving the most relevant advice.

2 thoughts on “CBD Oil in New Zealand: A Comprehensive Guide

  1. Loia says:

    Hi, would it help a cancer patient that has recently find out about its spread to liver, lungs, brain and bones from a breast carcinoma.

    • CJ Stoffberg says:

      Hiya, thanks for your question. We’d recommend giving our clinic a call to see what’s best for you 🙂

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