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If you’re a resident of The Republic of Ireland or you’re a tourist on a visit to the Emerald Isle, you may be wondering where you can buy CBD oil. Now, before finding that out, and also understanding how to select the right type of oil, it would be a good idea to see if buying CBD oil in Ireland is legal or not.
Despite the numerous health benefits CBD has been observed to offer, the legality of CBD is still in question in many places, and this includes Ireland.
To sell or purchase any item under the “medicinal/health” classification in Ireland, the product or ingredient must first be granted the status of medicine. However, in the eyes of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), cannabis and its derivatives have never been considered “medicinal products.” This makes it extremely difficult to trade in any cannabis-derived ingredient or product in the country.
In late 2016, the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill was rejected in Parliament. It was then that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, commissioned the HPRA to study the health benefits of cannabis, after sustained backlash from citizens and legal parties who were pro-medicinal CBD. The report, published in February 2017, provided ample evidence of the numerous health benefits that medicinal cannabis and CBD oil reviews, in particular, provide users. An announcement was then made by the Health Department to allow the legal use of medical cannabis; but only in select cases to treat patients with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and those undergoing chemotherapy.
When did CBD oil become legal in Ireland?
CBD oil has always been legal in Ireland however, the only type of cannabis derivative that is legal in Ireland is cannabinoids used as food flavouring agents or food supplements. The reason these supplements are legal is that most CBD food supplements are derived from the hemp plant.
Hemp, a type of cannabis plant, contains a significantly less amount of THC. This makes it much safer and less psychoactive than other forms of cannabis. To legally grow and harvest hemp, growers must get sanction from the HPRA and must obtain a special grower's license.
Next, they must follow EU-defined extraction methods to derive the hemp oil and other natural ingredients; failing which they will be barred from selling their CBD products in the Irish market. For example, cold-pressed hemp oil is legal to sell in Ireland. However, hemp oil that is extracted using any other technique or which undergoes further purification or processing requires not just HPRA authorisation but also authorisation from the EU.
Today, the legality of cannabis and cannabinoids remain in the grey area due to the novel food authorisation issue currently been lobbied in the EU commission by the Cannabis Trade Association. However, pharmacies and stores in Dublin have started selling CBD products which contain less than 0.2% of THC. This is because of the recent amendments to Irish law, which have recognised CBD (hemp-derived CBD) as a non-cannabis product, making it legal. These oils and products must be developed according to HPRA and EU standards to be accepted in the market. Cannabis-derived CBD oil is still illegal in Ireland.
When we talk of legal CBD in Ireland, we talk of hemp-derived CBD.
Today, Ireland has many dedicated stores and pharmacies which stock and sell CBD products. There are many specialised websites and online businesses which also sell CBD oil across the country. CBD hemp oil, extracts, soft gels, vape kits, protein powders and salves are some of the products that can be purchased.
While quality and regulatory compliance are the same online and offline, the major difference that you’ll find when trying to purchase CBD products in Ireland is that while e-commerce stores sell full-spectrum CBD products, the brick-and-mortar stores and pharmacies stock only CBD isolates.
Before you decide to buy CBD oil in Ireland, it’s important that you understand the fundamental difference between isolates and full-spectrum CBD to ensure you purchase a product that is right for you.
CBD isolate is pure CBD. Once the oil, chlorophyll, wax and other ingredients are removed from the hemp plant, only a pure powder is left behind. This crystalline powder is called the CBD isolate.
On the other hand, is CBD derived using the entire hemp plant. This CBD is developed by retaining all the waxes, chlorophyll, other cannabinoids and oils present in the hemp plant. It is this type of CBD that contains trace amounts of THC (only up to 0.2%).
While it may seem like CBD isolate is more potent and powerful because of its pure CBD form, this isn’t true. Research shows that the benefits offered by the hemp plant’s other ingredients enhance the health benefits offered by the CBD. This makes full-spectrum CBD oil a much better option for patients. When combined, all of the ingredients inject numerous minerals, vitamins, terpenes, compounds, fatty acids and fibres into the body, which offer a myriad of health benefits. This helps patients experience faster and more effective relief.
However, since Ireland enforces extremely strict rules in the sale of CBD oil and products, you may have to settle for CBD isolates if you shop at the physical stores.
But this doesn’t mean that CBD isolate is any less beneficial. In fact, many users prefer the isolate because of the complete absence of THC. This makes the isolate perfect for users who have a very sensitive constitution and who may be physically unable to ingest the THC safely. It is also useful for sports professionals, armed forces, Gardaí officers, doctors and other professionals who wish to gain the medical benefits of CBD without worrying about THC showing in drug test results. CBD isolate can be mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil and grape seed oil and then consumed either directly, or used for cooking or baking.