September 24, 2019

The Legality of CBD Oil in Northern Ireland. 2019 Update!

By Brian Cusack

With just a click of a button, you can order CBD oil anywhere in the world even in Belfast. That's how common it is now; but still, it is not accepted by everyone.

Marijuana is still considered to be a shame, and anything related to this plant is a stigma. With such a trait tagging along, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about CBD that many need answers to, especially regarding the legality of CBD. But before understanding the legality of CBD, it is important to understand what CBD is.

What is Cannabidiol?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it was first discovered in 1940. It accounts for up to 40% of the cannabis plant extracts and is one among 113 odd identified cannabinoids. There are two primary species of the cannabis plant- Marijuana and Hemp. Both species contain CBD, but the percentage of CBD is higher in Hemp.

CBD is the most predominant cannabinoid of the active ingredients after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in cannabis plants. It is derived directly from the cannabis plant Hemp and has low levels of THC compared to Marijuana. CBD is recognised for the immense benefits it offers. It won’t make you high.

More: Buy CBD oil in Northern Ireland now

Unlike THC, CBD is free of psychoactive agents, making it the most sought-after cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is the oil that contains concentrations of cannabidiol. CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant in different methods by different makers. The extracted CBD compound is added to a carrier oil and called CBD oil. CBD oil is used for a lot of purposes, from beauty to pain management. It is suggested to consult your doctor before using CBD oil.

Let’s talk Law!

CBD is not generally accepted all over the world. In most countries, it is still considered illegal, both in medicines and cosmetics. While CBD is gaining popularity now due to its immense benefits, many countries are progressing towards accepting CBD oil for medical purpose. Different countries have different laws that govern the production and use of CBD oil. Now the question is, is CBD oil legal in Northern Ireland? What are the laws governing the production and consumption of CBD oil in Northern Ireland?

Is CBD oil legal in Northern Ireland?

Marijuana is illegal and classified as a Class B drug under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act. But this doesn't mean that CBD oil is illegal too. The attitude towards Marijuana is shifting, and people are shifting their judgment from ‘illegal drug that takes you high' to ‘an oil with health benefits.' The laws on CBD oil is consistent in the UK, and Marijuana still is illegal due to high levels of THC. So, where does that leave CBD oil?

Read More: The legal status of CBD oil in Ireland

CBD is sought-after for the non-existing psychoactive agents that Marijuana contains. As CBD offers a lot of health benefits, the World Health Organisation declared it to be safe and non-toxic for use in 2017. Taking this into account, many companies started selling it for its medical benefits. It was used as a health supplement as it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) declared that CBD could only be sold over the counter as food supplements.

Even after Sativex, a medicine containing CBD was made legal, there was a lot of confusion on the legality of CBD oil in Northern Ireland. It was then made clear that CBD oil is legal for sale in shops as well as online. But the product cannot have traces of THC more than 0.2%, and it must be made from an EU-approved strain of hemp only.

Is growing Hemp legal in Northern Ireland?

Hemp is one of the species of the cannabis plant that is known for its medicinal benefits. As it contains less than 03% THC, it is well in demand in several industries. The UK laws on cannabidiol have been consistent for all countries and Hemp can be grown locally. You will need a special licence, and you will also need to follow some strict restrictions from the Home Office. If, as a manufacturer, you fail to follow the MHRA guidelines, you will be in trouble. Apart from that, you are free to grow Hemp legally in Northern Ireland.

The legal status of CBD / THC oil as medicine in Northern Ireland

CBD oil is being used in the medical world in many countries. When we speak about medicinal CBD oil this usually includes elevated levels of THC meaning it cannot be sold as a food supplement as the THC level is over 0.2% and oil also doesn’t come from industrial hemp. But can CBD oil be used in Northern Ireland for medicinal purposes? Can CBD oil be prescribed by doctors?

Cannabis-based medicinal products are available in the country. But to be able to obtain these products, you will need a prescription from a specialist doctor. Not every doctor can prescribe CBD oil for medicinal use. The quality, safety and effectiveness of CBD oil are analysed by a team of expert clinicians. These clinicians are listed on the specialist register of the General Medical Council, and only those listed doctors can legally prescribe CBD oil for medical purpose.

CBD / THC as medicine under prescription was made legal after much campaigning by families of children with Lennox-Gastuat syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Any CBD-based medicine sold without a prescription from the doctors listed under the General Medical Council is considered illegal in Northern Ireland. CBD-based medicinal products must have a product licence to be sold legally. Also, the sale and advertising of CBD oil for medical purposes without a product licence is illegal.

Will I be in trouble if I buy CBD oil in Belfast?

As long as you, as a consumer, buy CBD oil with the following guidelines, you will not be in any trouble. You just have to make sure that:

  • The CBD you buy contains less than 0.2% THC
  • The product comes from industrial hemp and is labelled a food supplement
  • The product contains a third-party lab report to verify the guidelines above
  • Medicinal CBD / THC can be bought but only under prescription from a specialised doctor.

As a manufacturer, as long as you follow the guidelines set forward by the MHRA, CBD oil production is also legal in Northern Ireland.

The present CBD market

At present, CBD oil is gaining a lot of popularity for the benefits it offers. Several different brands are entering the market- lab-tested and 100% legal in Northern Ireland as well as all other countries in the UK. If the product follows the set criteria, there is a lot of opportunity for growth in Northern Ireland. The market is already growing rapidly in the European Union and is expected to continue growing.

Read More: The Legality of CBD oil in Scandinavia

The future market of Hemp

CBD oil was made legal for ‘medicinal use with prescription’ in Northern Ireland in November 2018. This move has given rise to numerous medical studies and opened up several opportunities for research.

The retail market for CBD (hemp) has already seen ample growth and is projected to grow further.

The CBD market is less explored in Northern Ireland, and hence, it offers ample opportunities. The CBD market is already growing rapidly and is expected to be worth $416 million by the end of 2019. It is projected to grow to $1.7 billion by 2023. The future for CBD oil in Northern Ireland is expected to be bright.

Summary 

  • MHRA declared that CBD could be sold over the counter labelled under ‘food supplements.’
  • CBD oil is legal for sale in shops as well as online as long as the product is made from the hemp-strain approved by EU.
  • As a manufacturer, you can grow hemp legally with a special licence and by following the guidelines set forth by MHRA.
  • CBD cannot be prescribed by any doctor. It can be prescribed only by specialist doctors registered under the General Medical Council.
  • CBD-based medicine must have a product license to be sold and supplied legally
  • The sale and advertising of CBD oil for medical purposes is illegal

 

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Frequently Asked Questions
Is CBD oil legal in Northern Ireland?

CBD oil manufactured from hemp strains approved by the EU are legal to sell as a food supplement in Northern Ireland.

Is Medicinal Cannabis legal in Northern Ireland?

Medicinal Cannabis is different from hemp-based CBD oil. Firstly a different strain of cannabis usually with higher levels of THC. Similar to the UK, medicinal cannabis can be prescribed by a doctor once the patient meets certain criteria.

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