• Ireland

    CBD Friendliness

    Legal Grey Area — Legal Lean

  • Table of Contents

In Ireland, pure CBD is not a controlled substance as per the Misuse of Drugs Act — however, it does fall into a legal gray area thanks to the European Novel Food Regulation.

The Novel Food Regulation is guidance from the European Union that controls the placement of CBD products and other novel foods on the market. A novel food is defined as a food that doesn’t have a long history of consumption.

The regulation considers CBD a novel food because it doesn’t have a long history of use as a food in the region. However, Ireland interprets this rule a little differently.

Read this all-inclusive guide to understand the confusing and contradictory Irish CBD laws. We’ll cover how these laws work, and how and where you can buy legal CBD products if you live in Ireland.

Let’s get started.

Summary: Buying CBD in Ireland

  1. Cultivation of hemp varieties with less than 0.2% THC is legal in Ireland
  2. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 (MDA 1977) prohibits hemp derivatives that contain THC
  3. In Ireland, CBD extracted with solvents and CO2 are considered novel foods
  4. Pure CBD is not banned under the MDR 1977, but it’s restricted under the Novel Food Regulation
  5. To be entirely legal, CBD must be cold-pressed and 100% free from THC
  6. CBD isolate products remain stuck in the legal grey area, depending on its extraction method
  7. Medical CBD is not authorized in Ireland for the general public — medical access is granted on a case-by-case basis
  8. You can buy CBD in-store or online, but you’d be doing this at your own risk — customs may seize your product at the border
  9. You can use a mail forwarding service to order CBD from brands that don’t offer shipping directly to Ireland

Best CBD Oil in Ireland:

Number Product Total CBD Potency Cost per mg CBD Link

1

Endoca CBD Oils

300 – 1500 mg

30 – 150 mg/mL

€0.08 – €0.09

2

Reakiro CBD Oil

300 – 1500 mg

30 – 150 mg/mL

€0.07 – €0.08

3

Hemp Bombs CBD Oil

300 – 4000 mg

10 – 133.3 mg/mL

$0.07 – $0.17

4

Nordic Oil Full-Spectrum CBD Oil (Europe)

500 – 2000 mg

50 – 200 mg/mL

€0.08 – €0.09

5

Kat’s Naturals Relax THC-Free Sublingual CBD Oil

50 – 300 mg

10 mg/mL

$0.20 – $0.40

How to Buy CBD Products in Ireland

At the moment, the best place to get CBD products in Ireland is to order them online. Most CBD brands will ship to Ireland, but it’s best to go with European brands like Reakiro, Endoca, or Nordic oil.

CBD is stuck in a legal grey-area in Ireland — which means there’s always a risk of customs seizing your product even if it’s THC-free. However, the pressure from customs and police have mostly focused on local shops selling CBD products on store shelves.

There’s a silver lining in all this mess — the Irish government is considering complete cannabis legalization — which could bring friendlier CBD laws across the country. Once the regulations loosen you’ll be able to shop for various CBD products including the standard CO2 extracted isolates and full-spectrum hemp oils.

Ireland has contradictory CBD laws depending on how the CBD was obtained, and what format the CBD product is classified under. Ireland follows the EU ruling that allows hemp plants that contain 0.2% THC or less. Here’s the contradiction — this doesn’t apply to hemp-derived CBD products. No CBD products are allowed to contain any THC whatsoever.

Additionally, Ireland doesn’t allow any CBD products made from CO2 or solvent extraction — which is the best way to produce THC-free products.

Below we’ll cover a few pieces of Irish law that define these contradictory rules, and examine what types of CBD products are legal in Ireland.

CBD & the Novel Food Regulation

The first obstacle for CBD comes from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, which prohibits cannabis (including hemp) derivatives that contain any trace of THC.

At first it sounds like CBD products are completely illegal, but this isn’t exactly the case.

Irish rules on CBD stand in line with the European Union’s Novel Food Regulation. This regulation classifies CBD as a novel food, which doesn’t have a significant history of consumption in Europe before May 15, 1997.

Besides the “history of consumption” rule, the Irish authorities included an additional standard for CBD products — the type of the extraction process.

According to Irish laws, CBD extracted with solvents or supercritical CO2 extraction requires a novel food permit from the European Commission (EC). Otherwise, it can’t be marketed as a food product or health supplement.

However, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) stated that if the CBD oil is extracted by cold pressing it is legal for sale.It should be noted that cold pressing hemp plants to make CBD products is not common, and usually produces a lower-grade product in the end.

How Irish Regulators Differentiate Between Hemp & Marijuana

Hemp and marijuana both belong to the species Cannabis sativa, but they are different in chemical makeup and their purpose of use.

One of the significant differences between hemp and marijuana is the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration. THC is one of the constituents of cannabis, known for its psychoactive effects. In marijuana, THC is present in large amounts and is therefore related to recreational cannabis.

1. Marijuana Laws in Ireland

Marijuana is a term used to describe cannabis with high THC levels — its THC content can go up to 30%. Under EU law, marijuana is any cannabis plant with more than 0.2%, and Ireland abides by this rule.

2. Hemp Laws in Ireland

Unlike marijuana, cannabis doesn’t contain significant amounts of THC and doesn’t induce the high associated with recreational use.

In Ireland, hemp cultivation is permitted if the hemp plant doesn’t exceed the 0.2% limit. Due to its rich CBD content, hemp is becoming the focal point in the cannabis industry where its used for textiles, food, and health supplementation.

What is Cold-Pressed CBD?

If you’ve read about the ways CBD extracts are made, you probably know that the most common extraction methods include solvents (ethanol, butane, propane, or alcohol) and CO2.

Cold pressing is a lesser-known extraction method when it comes to CBD. Typically, this process is used for hemp seed oil, pressed from the plant’s seeds (which don’t contain any cannabinoids). However, some companies have started using cold pressing methods to produce CBD to comply with Ireland’s regulations.

So, how does this work?

The raw hemp is processed through a cold press machine that uses a hydraulic press with extremely high pressure to squeeze out the juice from hemp that carries phytonutrients, oils, terpenes, and cannabinoids.

In order to prevent the massive amount of friction from overheating the hemp as it’s being pressed, the whole thing needs to be kept cold.

While this extraction method is efficient for companies that operate in countries with restrictive rules, it’s far from perfect.

The novel food rule jeopardizes the legal status of CBD isolate products. Although no law restricts CBD isolates, it becomes an illegal substance if it’s extracted with solvents or supercritical CO2. The only way to obtain pure CBD isolates (free from terpenes and other cannabinoids) is via CO2 extraction or with the use of solvents. Because of this, CBD isolate products are caught in the crossfire — thus living in a legal grey area.

Currently, there’s only one company in Ireland that produces cold-pressed CBD oil with less than 0.005% THC. These products are listed as being “full-spectrum”.

Currently, Green Light full-spectrum CBD is available through pharmacies in Ireland and the UK.

NOTE: Technically, Green Light complies with the law because it contains non-detectable amounts of THC. The company most likely achieved this by sourcing hemp plants that naturally produce less than 0.005% THC by weight.

Local stores in Ireland still sell CBD (mostly isolate products), and online stores operate even more freely — they sell both CBD isolates and full-spectrum CBD. A large portion of these products fall under the novel food rule, but their sale is not regularly enforced due to the complexity and contradiction in the laws governing their sale and use.

The police have raided a few Irish shops selling unregulated CBD products.

NOTE: Avoid purchasing any THC-containing CBD products. If the customs notice your product, you could receive a penalty under the Customs Acts rules, and the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Tips on Buying High-Quality CBD in Ireland

The CBD market in Ireland is far from ideal. On the contrary  — it’s chaotic, and you’ll often bump into illegal or low-quality products if you don’t shop cautiously.

Here’s how you can find high-quality CBD products online:

1. Do Thorough Research on Brands Before You Purchase CBD

It’s essential to buy from reputable brands because they’ve already built trust with their customers and are less likely to risk losing this reputation by compromising on the quality of their products.

2. Shop for CBD Isolates Over Full-Spectrum Hemp Extracts

Refrain from buying CBD that contains THC. CBD in its pure form is not illegal, and although it’s a subject to the novel food rule, it’s somewhat tolerated by Irish lawmakers. The only fully compliant CBD oils are those extracted by cold pressing.

3. Ask Your Seller for a Certificate of Analysis (CoA)

The CoA is a document that proves the CBD was tested for quality and safety by a third-party. If a seller provides you with this certificate, he or she guarantees the product’s purity.

4. Avoid Companies That Exaggerate the Health Benefits of CBD

There is no authorized CBD for medical use in Ireland, but many sellers continue to label and advertise the products as a panacea. Remember, CBD has many benefits, but it’s not a cure-all.

How Mail Forwarding Works

Some companies won’t ship CBD to Ireland directly — so the only way to get these products delivered is to use a mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding companies provide you with a local address in another country which is then directed to your final address.

Here’s how mail forwarding works.

1. Sign up for an Account

Go to the mail forwarding company’s website to make an account. Upon registration, the company will give you a local address that you can use to shop online in foreign countries.

You should find a company that can provide you with an address in the region you want to shop in.

Shipito can provide you with a US address. If you want to shop in Europe, we recommend Skypax. There are other companies as well where you can register for a mail forwarding service.

2. Place Your CBD Order

When you receive the local address, you’ll be able to make online purchases. To shop from a specific company that doesn’t ship to your country, order the product you want and insert the local address as your shipping destination. Your package will first arrive at this address, and the staff from the mail forwarding company will change its stamps with new ones and forward the parcel to your home address.

You can also ask the company to place an order for you. This concierge service comes at a small fee, but it can be worth your money if you don’t want to spend your time shopping.

Skypax Rates:

Tier of Service Sign up Fee Annual Fee Average Shipping Fee
Standard Membership (If you only need the service every once in a while) £12 setup   ($15 USD) None £30   ($36 USD)
Premium membership (If you order CBD regularly and want protection on your packages) £0 £90   ($110 USD) £30   ($36 USD)

A Brief History of Cannabis Laws in Ireland

Cannabis has been used in Ireland for well over ten centuries. 

Hemp was mostly grown during the British rule (12th – 20th century). In the 17th century, Queen Elizabeth made hemp cultivation obligatory to supply ropes and sails for the British navy, and farmers would produce the crop to supply British factories.

Hemp was also grown locally for domestic use and the Irish textiles industry. British authorities banned Irish wool products, leading farmers to depend on hemp crops.

Throughout most of the 18th and 19th centuries, Ireland continued to grow hemp for the British Military. In the second half of the 19th century, Irish scholars emphasized hemp’s potential in advancing the country’s development. George Sigerson — an Irish scholar — wrote Cannabiculture in Ireland; its profit and possibility. He encouraged farmers and the state to cultivate hemp for the economic growth of Ireland.

During the same period, physician William O’Shaughnessy was researching the medical use of cannabis. While working in India, O’Shaughnessy treated a young girl suffering from convulsive seizures with hemp tincture. The parents of the child noticed an improvement in her health, and this case dubbed William O’Shaughnessy the father of modern-day cannabis therapeutics.

Ireland suffered a hemp shortage during the Irish War of Independence (1919 – 1921) forcing Ireland to import the crop from Russia. After the war in Ireland stabilized, universities progressed in hemp research, focusing primarily on hemp seed oil and its benefits.

Ireland re-introduced hemp cultivation in the 1990s when the European Union provided subsidies to hemp farmers.

Today, the cultivation of hemp varieties with less than 0.2% is permitted, while recreational cannabis (marijuana) is completely prohibited. Medical use, on the other hand, is granted on a case-by-case basis.

CBD Brands That Ship To Ireland

Endoca

4.83 / 5

Reakiro CBD

4.33 / 5

Nordic Oil

4.67 / 5

Kat’s Naturals

4.5 / 5

Hemp Bombs

Hemp Bombs reveiw

4.5 / 5

Blessed CBD

4.33 / 5

Enter DAILYCBD to save 10%

Buy from Blessed CBD

Final Thoughts on Buying CBD in Ireland

Ireland’s CBD market is chaotic — to say the least. Buying CBD is difficult here as a result of the many confusing laws.

CBD is entirely legal only if it’s extracted by cold pressing and is completely void of THC. You can buy CBD isolate products, but your product should comply with the extraction rule — otherwise, it can be considered both legal and illegal depending on the laws cited.

Despite all these rules, CBD isolate products are tolerated in Ireland and sold in both local and online stores.

On the other hand, Gardai (Irish police) and customs will likely confiscate any product that contains THC, so avoid importing full-spectrum CBD.

As we mentioned earlier, Ireland might legalize cannabis soon, which would open the door for more CBD products in the near future.

For now, we recommend you to remain cautious when purchasing CBD both in-store and online. This way, you’ll avoid spending your money on low-quality products or falling into legal trouble with the police.

Have you ordered CBD products to Ireland? Share your experience below.

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