Cannabiz editor-at-large Rhys Cohen identifies the five issues holding the Australian cannabis industry back – and over-the-counter CBD isn’t one of them.

It has been a hell of a year … and it’s only October. But if you can, I invite you to cast your mind back to the heady days of February 2020. There was choking smoke in the air, COVID was but a distant hypothetical threat, and the Senate inquiry regarding barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis was having public hearings in Melbourne.

Join the Cannabiz revolution

Want to stay ahead of the cannabis curve with the latest local and international news, analysis and intelligence and access to Australia's legal cannabis industry?

This article is included with our Premium subscription.

Elementum integer enim neque volutpat ac tincidunt vitae semper quis. Eu lobortis elementum nibh tellus molestie nunc. Sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit duis tristique sollicitudin nibh. Magnis dis parturient montes nascetur ridiculus. Dui id ornare arcu odio ut sem. Nisl nunc mi ipsum faucibus vitae.
Vel turpis nunc eget lorem dolor sed. Sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit duis tristique sollicitudin nibh. Nisl nunc mi ipsum faucibus vitae.
Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit duis tristique sollicitudin nibh.
Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.
Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit duis tristique sollicitudin nibh.
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Rhys Cohen

As well as being editor-at-large at Cannabiz, Rhys is the director of Cannabis Consulting Australia, which provides commercial consulting services to various domestic and international cannabis companies....

Join the Conversation


  1. Great article Rhys


    PS. S3 is not for the faint-hearted (but a necessity). I agree that the industry has to drive the trials and evidence that supports claims.

  2. Agreed Rhys. You’re spot on with current issues. There are still issues dealing legal prescription of exogeneous cannabinoids CBG, CBDV, CBN, CBC. Guidances still lacking. Although so much focus on THC and CBD.

  3. A very well thought out and written article. But who is reading articles of this ilk? It’s such a shame that cannabis medication is money driven and those who need it simply can’t afford it. No wonder the black market survives/thrives.

  4. Yes I agree 100%…

    The low dose CBD, for the chronicly Aussies, was proposed at the wrong venue, and it hijacked the entire proceedings.

    I spent weeks on my submission and was devastated by the outcome 😭. My circumstances as an epilepsy and chronic pain patient have not improved. The costs still mean, as Rhys said, I am using what I can afford, not what I require medically to cover my seizures. This has me sitting at my seizure threshold, any reduction in meds at this point triggers seizures, but I cannot afford any more.

    And instead of the listening ear I require in the current circumstances, I’m being encouraged to see this as a positive move. I’m being accused by others of being negative, but this is no game, I have epilepsy

    In a couple of years’ time, the rest of Australia will recognise this move as a waste of time and money for everyone. And in the circumstances I’m in now, at just 46, Im in dire need of the help now, or I won’t last that long. 😑

    Patients can’t wait any more.

  5. Hi Rhys, good article as usual. We at Medicinal Organic Cannabis Australia (MOCA) have been focused on bringing the price of product down in a significant manner and have found an excellent solution. There is still a long way to go in Australia in the medical cannabis industry, and certainly informing medical practitioners is one of the keys. One of the other key factors is the services industry, like banking, here we find a lot of limitations that do not exist in other sectors. Limitations with accessing online credit card processing for example. A facility that I have used for over 20 years on other sectors is prejudiced in the medical cannabis industry in Australia.

  6. Rhys, I think you are correct on all counts. The absence of investment is the most important. Most doctors will not prescribe fish oil let alone cannabis. The absence of scientific proof of benefit is what doctors want. Without proof of clinical benefit compared to alternatives and cost effectiveness the PBAC will not even consider it. With clinical trials will also come knowledge about adverse effects, including any adverse effect on driving ability. With PBS support products become affordable to your average Australian. So industry, whether you like it or not, it is in your interests to invest in clinical research!

  7. Well done Rhys, a very thoughtful well researched contribution.
    I worked with my GP to attain prescriber status and worked through the SAS-B approval process. He relied upon me to contact and research what commercially available products would suit my condition. Doctors need to be educated on what MC products are available as part of their medical registration.

  8. it’s all about moolah for mates – we are in Australia – what else would we expect – it is a shame you can’t mine THC – the govt would be piling in and it’d be THC all around from the morisson govt … rubbish cbd placebo products will be perfect for aus market – mates will make money and that is the only thing that’s important