Is CBD Oil Legal in NZ? Is Medicinal Weed Legal in NZ? Can I Import It?

We get asked a lot of important questions around the legality of CBD oil and medicinal cannabis, such as “is CBD legal in NZ,” “is cannabis legal in New Zealand,” and many others. The short answer is YES, CBD oil and medicinal weed are legal in NZ. You can also travel with CBD oil products into NZ. However, it is now illegal for you to import any medicinal cannabis products into NZ.

As you can see, despite being legal, there are restrictions around what you can and can’t do. Let’s dive into these scenarios in more detail below.

Yes, CBD oil is legal in NZ as a prescription medication and is available for you to purchase through your local pharmacy with a script or from our partner pharmacy. To obtain a prescription, you can consult with a Cannabis Clinic medical specialist or your own GP.

On a side note, cannabis oil generally refers to CBD oil and is, therefore, also legal in NZ with a prescription.

CBD oil has actually been legal in NZ since late 2017 and patients have been using it since then. Unfortunately there are still barriers to access for many Kiwis. Patients will often tell us that their GP has refused to prescribe. This is mainly due to GP’s having a lack of experience and confidence in prescribing but it also reflects opinions about CBD oil as not being a genuine medication.

While CBD oil is legal in NZ, it is not legal to substitute products. This means that whatever product your GP writes on your prescription, your local pharmacy must give you this product – even if an alternative product suits you better or is cheaper.

 

It is important to know that medicinal weed and medicinal cannabis are interchangeable terms and refer to both CBD oil and THC oil (the psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant).

Therefore, medicinal weed is legal in NZ but only with a doctor’s prescription. Buying marijuana or weed online is still illegal.

Doctors who prescribe cbd oil nz
Cannabis Clinic, Auckland 

Yes. Since the launch of the new medicinal cannabis regulations in 2019, THC oil is legal to be prescribed by any registered doctor in New Zealand.

Is THC Oil Legal in NZ?
Sometimes THC is just as important as cbd when treating chronic health conditions

Although THC oil is legal when prescribed by a doctor, the options are currently limited in terms of product choices. Despite this, many of our patients are seeing positive health benefits using legal THC.

In my opinion, THC is just as important as CBD in possibly helping treat some chronic health conditions. Yes, THC is the part of the cannabis plant that is responsible for the high, but when we use it medicinally, we are looking for the best result at the lowest dose. Consequently, you will not get high.

We use very low THC doses for our patients and it is taken by mouth as opposed to smoked. The difference between using THC for medical vs. recreational use is the difference between night and day, it truly is.

If you have been following medicinal cannabis in NZ for a while, you may have heard that special applications to the Ministry of Health was required for THC. This is no longer the case and a doctor can prescribe it at any time. The process is confidential and easy. The difficulty is ensuring the doctor is trained sufficiently well in how to prescribe and use it correctly. 

Is it Legal to Import CBD Oil?

It is illegal to personally import CBD oil into NZ since the 1st of April 2020. 

While importing used to be a great way of saving on costs, it is now not allowed. Prior to that, many people were importing their own supply of CBD oil but this is now not possible.

The reason for this is that there are many products on the market which make various unproven claims. When using a plant-based medicine, it is important that you are using a high quality product that only benefits your health and not harm it in any way.

While there are stories of some people buying CBD oil online, from our experience, we have seen that many of these shipments get stopped at customs and since most do not meet NZ’s definition of CBD oil, they are destroyed. 

Can I Bring CBD Oil Products When Travelling To NZ?

Yes, when you are travelling to New Zealand, you may bring your CBD oil and medicinal cannabis products with you. 

This applies to any medicine. However, how much you are allowed to bring in depends on what you have been prescribed. 

For CBD-based products, you are allowed 3-months supply. For products with THC, you are only allowed a 1-month supply.

It is important to make sure you follow the following points when travelling:
  • the product has been prescribed to you by a doctor
  • you have a copy of the prescription or a letter from your doctor stating that you are being treated with the product
  • you declare the product on your passenger arrival card
  • you carry the product in its original container

Hemp oil is legal in NZ without a prescription from a doctor. However, hemp oil (or hemp seed oil) is not the same as CBD oil. Hemp oil is extracted from hemp seeds and does not contain any CBD and is therefore not used medicinally. However, hemp oil is a very good source of healthy fats in your diet and is best used without heating it, such as in salad dressings. You can purchase hemp oil or hemp seed oil from your local supermarket.

Where Can I Buy CBD Oil in NZ?

Now that you know that CBD is legal in New Zealand, you may be wondering where to buy it. You can purchase CBD oil from your local pharmacy with a script from your doctor. Just remember that you will be limited to the specific product on that prescription only

Please read my ultimate guide about buying CBD Oil in NZ for more detailed information.

CBD oil is expensive but with the right source of CBD oil, it can be affordable

Unfortunately, medicinal cannabis is not subsidised by the government. This is one of the major barriers to people being able to use it. However, with the right approach you can save money and make your treatment plan affordable

The first step is choosing the right product. Some are more expensive than others. 

The second step is to ensure you are using the product correctly. This is why at the clinic, I focus a lot on education and following up. My goal is for you to use less CBD oil (and therefore with less cost) and still get the same benefits.

 

I am ready to book my specialist consultation

Disclaimer – medicinal cannabis and CBD oil are unapproved medicines in NZ which means that there is no conclusive evidence for their effect, apart from Sativex. Many doctors do not routinely prescribe cannabis medicines. The above article was written for general educational purposes and does not intend to suggest that medicinal cannabis can be used to treat any health condition. Please consult with your healthcare provider.

Conclusion

CBD oil, THC and medicinal cannabis/marijuana are now legal in NZ with a doctor’s prescription. 

If you think medicinal cannabis could help you, book your appointment with one of our medical specialists today no matter where you live in New Zealand. We consult with patients about medicinal cannabis on a daily basis and we thrive on seeing the lives of our patients change, including yours.

Share your story or questions with us below!

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.

30 thoughts on “Is CBD Oil Legal in NZ? Is Medicinal Weed Legal in NZ? Can I Import It?

  1. Jackie Boulton says:

    I have lived with pulmonary sarcoidosis for 30+ years, arthritis for about 10, quite severe in my hands and neck which gives me headaches which can morph into migraines. I also have Graves’ disease. I take Gabapentin for pain, which I am weaning off for Amytriptyline, Hydroxychloroquine Sulphate for the sarcoidosis, Carbimazole Graves, Celecobix, Panadol & codeine for pain.. is there a possibility that CBD could help me?

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Jackie, thanks for sharing these details with us. Medicinal cannabis can certainly play a part in helping you manage the pain. CBD oil can help make it more manageable while a little THC can given it the kick when needed. There is only one way to find out and that is to actually try it and titrate the dose correctly. I encourage you to. All the best. Dr Waseem

      • Karen Howie says:

        Interested in cannibis oil as i suffer from chronic athritis also have shicking ocd where things names number plates repeat in my head also have a nose tick which drives me crazy to depression so need to know if the oil will help me as i have researched it and said will help willing to give it a go please.

        • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

          Hi Karen, thanks for sharing this. Yes I would definitely think it is worth trying. The arthritis sometimes take a little bit of a combination type product to work for, a high CBD plus a small amount of THC. I encourage you to fill out a booking form. We also have a hemp balm to use for joint pain. Happy to answer any more questions. Take care

  2. Sue Maher says:

    Hi I’ve been taking CBD oil for a few months. I have IBS I’ve not had attack since taking this oil.

      • Karen Howie says:

        Would help with depression caysed by nose twitch would it help the nose twitch to and severe ocd please look firward to your reply

        • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

          Hi Karen, it could do and is worth a trial for it. It would depend on what causes the nose to twitch. Also if the OCD is related to underlying anxiety then CBD oil can help there. Hope this answer is helpful 🙂

  3. Steve says:

    Hi Dr Waseem alzaher
    I’ve had a sore lower back since young on a daily basis it’s very annoying I smoke alot to combat this it really does help, I no longer want to smoke, would it be possible to get prescription for CBD oil i have some history on record and what is the cost for the CBD oil

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Steve, thanks for the question. Yes we can certainly help get you some CBD oil. The benefit would be it reduces the amount of THC you need to get the same amount of pain relief and also reduce the high effects of the THC. We can also look at using THC in your treatment plan. Cost varies but is around the $4-5/day. Best way to get all the product details is to fill out a consultation request form and we can send you everything that way. Take care.

      • Aaron says:

        Hey Doc. I have started using CBD capsules just a week ago after 10 years of damage to my S1L5. 18 months ago I had two concussions over 3 months and now have anxiety issues and memory problems.
        I have found the CBD to be great for the anxiety and I sleep better with being less aware of pain and neurology symptoms at night. I source mine privately as I am told it w
        Would be about 200 a month. Is this right? It is way more expensive if it is. I take just two capsules a day at present to find the right balance for me.

        • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

          Hi Aaron thanks for sharing your experience, I am glad to know it is helping you. What dose are the capsules you are using? CBD products range from $130 – $450 so it really depends on how much you use per day. If you give me the dose, I can let you know how much it will cost you.

      • Laurence Keepa says:

        Hi there I suffer from bad arthritis/gout and interested in trying cbd/thc oil. I am prescribed the same medicine everytime I see my gp to take the pain away until it runs out and comes back 5× worse. Please help thank you

        • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

          Hi Laurence, thanks for sharing that information. I think giving CBD oil is worth a good try. That, alongside drinking lots of water and avoiding the dietary triggers should see a positive result. CBD oil does have some anti-inflammatory effects but is not an approved treatment for gout but we would be very supportive of you giving it a go. Certainly better than repeated scripts of voltaren / anti inflammatories , colchicine and prednisone. Hope this helps!

  4. Kerehitina says:

    I have lower back pain, left side neck pain heading midway down my back, muscle pain in right leg,

    Almost 10 years now.

    I suffer depression, anxiety and self isolating, visit one sister and no friends, lots of medication.

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Kerehitina sorry to hear that. It sometimes all spirals down, one after the other. Let me know if we can be of any assistance to you.

  5. Maggie says:

    Hi Dr Waseem! I would be very interested in your thoughts on using CBD oil for COPD. If so, how does it work in this condition (I would guess as an anti-inflammatory?) & have any studies been done using CBD oil for this condition? Many thanks!

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Maggie, this one is a tricky question. As far as I am aware, there is no evidence that it does. However, it does not hurt to try. Starting with a cheaper smaller CBD oil product may be wiser to give it a go. We have had some who used CBD oil to treat one thing but found that it improved their mood and sleep considerably so continued using it! Hope this helps.

  6. Marry says:

    Hi,
    I’m suffering from insomnia, also difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
    I always feel so tired during the day, is it possible to have a prescription for these symptoms?

    If so, is it could be used with the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills that I am currently taking?

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Mary, thanks for the question. Sleep issues are a significant part of our work and we can help. Some people find CBD oil alone does the trick. It helps them maintain a deep and restful sleep. For others, adding in a little bit of THC works better, so really have to try to find out. There is no interaction with taking the combined contraceptive pill at all. Hope this helps.

  7. Ian Hodgson PhD says:

    When you say to patients that they can take CBD oil with a small amount of THC:
    how do you do that?
    how much THC are you adding or allowing in the mixture?
    The maximum for a CBD product in NZ is 2% (M.C.A. NZ)
    If you are adding or allowing 2% or less, then the analgesic effect of CBD is not affected by the THC content. (Aside from placebo effects).
    Where do you source your CBD oil? Is it not Tilray or Creso?
    What dosing regimes are you using? Tilray CBD recommend a starting dose of 2.5mg/kg twice daily, maintenance dose 10mg/kg twice daily, was used in specialist epilepsy trials. No other dosing regimen has been validated. They supply two concentrations: 25mg/ml (25mls) and 100mg/ml (25mls). For mild pain we have found patients require in excess of 100mg bd. which is in agreement with Tilray’s recommendation. Creso Pharma’s Medleaf have similar recommendations. While Medleaf has marginally more THC than Tilray in CBD it is insignificant. My point is that the dosage/price of CBD for moderate pain management is high. Secondly, as I present below, it is THC that is the significant analgesic which is moderated by CBD

    In a recent study of fibromyalgia: Patients were prescribed two oil-diluted cannabis extracts: Bedrocan (22% THC, <1% CBD), and Bediol (6.3% THC, 8% CBD).
    They achieved moderate results but with significant THC content in the morning and night doses.

    "Adding medical cannabis to standard analgesic treatment for fibromyalgia: a prospective observational study"
    Giorgio,V. et. al.
    Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2020: 38, s53-s59

    A very recent trial (by van de Donk. etal) has compared the effectiveness of a single vapour inhalation of three cannabis preparations (Bedrocan, Bediol and Bedrolite and placebo) and found that those preps. containing THC significantly increased the pressure pain threshold in comparison with placebo. In their summary they suggest that the increase in pain threshold is dose related to the THC content, not the CBD content. Clearly CBD moderates the effects of THC in both psychoactive effects and in analgesia.

    "An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia"
    van de Donk,T. et. al.
    Pain. 2019 Apr; 160(4): 860–869

    The current situation in NZ of "Medicinal Cannabis" is a sham with only two products available: CBD and Sativex. Sativex's analgesic effect is untested and priced out of reach leaving CBD as a marginally effective preparation. So in essence, what you provide to people is just CBD and saying that a small amount of THC added increases the analgesia is disingenuous.

    Ian Hodgson Ph.D.

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Ian, thanks for sharing your opinion, it is great and interesting to read. Yes indeed you are right. We use the products you have mentioned. We do however also prescribe THC for our patients. The ideal is mixing THC and adding on a CBD product on top. That has given us the best results. Thanks again.

  8. Carol says:

    I have an elderly mum with severe and debilitating arthritis pain, will this help and if so what do we ask our dr for, are there different brands that have better results. Please any help would be appreciated her pain is unbearable

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Carol, yes we have had some great results using medicinal cannabis for arthritis pain. We also sell a hemp balm that can be rubbed onto joints, this you can buy without a consultation and it has been really well received. CBD oil may prove to be helpful and if not, a small amount of THC would beed to be added at the right dose for mum (as long as it will be safe for her in her current situation). Hope this helps!

  9. D says:

    Have you ever treated someone for schizophrenia . Iv a family member who’s battled the conventional system/medication for years with no much luck. Sometimes the side effects of the medication being as bad a the illness. If so how much is given and what cost.

    Cheers

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Dylon, thanks for the question. Yes we have had, and for some it has helped. CBD oil is quite safe to use so would be worth a good trial. Cost varies depending on the product used. If you fill out a “booking form”, it will show you exactly what costs are involved and what we are able to offer your family member. Hope this helps!

  10. Robyn says:

    Hi their my husband had an accident 7 yrs ago damaging both shoulders and has had back surgery x2 he suffers daily from chronic pain and prescription drugs have over time messed with his mind im sure u understand would CBD oil help him with pain as he wants to get away from the meds they have him on and where in Hamilton Nz wud I be able to get this for him.

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Robyn, thanks for the question. Sorry to hear about your husband and the ongoing pain as a result. Yes I would strongly encourage him to give it a go. For some of our patients, medicinal cannabis has been life changing. It is a plant based medicine and so we need to find what will work specifically for him. Hope this helps and look forward to helping your husband. Thank you

  11. Luca says:

    Hi there, I suffer from depression and anxiety and I have found that smoking cannabis helps reduce my anxiety and makes me feel more comfortable but I was wondering if cbd would help the same without the psychoactive effects. Cheers

    • Dr. Waseem Alzaher says:

      Hi Luca. thanks for sharing and being open. Yes some find that CBD gives them that benefit. But it is likely you will need THC on top of the CBD. THC taken orally does not shoot up in concentration in the blood as smoking does, therefore you do not get high from it, but feel the soothing and relaxing effects. Also, using CBD alongside the THC reduces your need for THC. In short, I think using a balanced CBD and THC combination is the right option for you and we can slowly reduce the THC over time. Hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *