Let’s look at the legality of CBD based products in Ireland and their link to Cannabis.
CBD has recently hit the mainstream and has quickly become a much touted aid in the fight against depression, anxiety, insomnia, aches and pains, epilepsy, inflammatory pain, arthritis, heart health and even acne! Today we’re not going to investigate the legitimacy of these claims (an abundance of research and anecdotal evidence on this can be found by a quick google search) But rather we’re going to look at the legality of CBD and how it compares to its “illegal weed” counterpart!
The list of CBD produce and CBD infused products is continually growing as the industry matures. Some of the more popular include; CBD oils, CBD Vapes and E-liquids, CBD buds and flowers, Hemp or CBD Tea, CBD balms and even CBD jellies! We’ve even seed dedicated CBD stores pop up across Ireland!
So what makes these products legal and available for legal sale over the counter or online? To establish this we need to look more at what CBD actually is. CBD is a shorthand of the term Cannabidiol, which is a natural chemical compound that is found in a high abundance in the hemp plant. It is one of over 85 compounds found in hemp, known as cannabinoids. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid (does not intoxicate).
Another well-known cannabinoid is that of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the dominant cannabinoid which is found in the marijuana plant; it is the compound which is responsible for the feeling of “intoxication” or “euphoria”.
CBD is not psychoactive in the same way THC is, so it won’t make you high. Its pharmacology is different to THC. Marijuana plants are abundant in THC, while the hemp plant has an abundance of CBD with little to no THC.
So now that we have a brief overview of the difference between CBD and THC and hemp and marijuana plant, let’s look at how one is legal and the other is illegal!
In Ireland it is legal to purchase CBD and CBD infused products, CBD is not illegal under the misuse of drugs act. According to David Finn, professor of pharmacology and therapeutics at NUI Galway.“In Ireland, we can buy CBD so long as it contains less than 0.2% THC. People can buy it online, in health food stores, and in some pharmacies. They can use it legally.”
So CBD under certain requirements is legal in Ireland, but is THC illegal? As THC can cause symptoms associated with psychosis, products or plants that contain THC are subject to strict controls under the Missue of Drugs Act 1977 to 2016. These controls makes the use of THC illegal and with it controlled drugs like marijuana.
So is CBD really a form “legal weed”; well no, not quite. Although CBD can be legal, it’s not true to say it’s weed or marijuana. There may be some similarities but its overall effect is quite different. The growing use and research into CBD products is great to witness as people continue to seek out natural remedies. So while we can’t guarantee CBD will cure all your ailments, you should not be worried about breaking the law so long as you are purchasing from a reputable source!
Interesting to note the use of the hemp plant, already has a long history in Ireland. Hemp is not just useful for CBD products, Industrial hemp can be used as a greener more environmentally friendly alternative for a variety of things such as building materials, paper and even clothing.
Will we ever see fully legalised weed with high THC limits in Ireland?
Given the global shift towards legalisation it is likely that we will see it in Ireland one day. Minister for Health Simon Harris has even suggested the possibility of farmers in Ireland growing cannabis in the future as part of his plan to push legalisation of medicinal marijuana! A move we are very excited to see take place!