CBD vs THC – The Legal Status of Cannabis in Dublin Today

CLR contributor, Brian Cusack, writes…

The legalization of cannabis in Ireland has become a popular discussion around the world. One main reason for this is because more countries are relaxing their stance toward the use of marijuana.

While countries like Canada, Uruguay, and some states in America have legalized recreational cannabis, this isn’t a trend that has reached Ireland yet. However, the hope is to make cannabis legally regulated in Ireland in the future.

Even though cannabis is a popular illicit drug in Dublin, its use has grown significantly in recent years. In the 1930s, a Dangerous Drugs Act was in place in Ireland, which has since been replaced by the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1977. According to this law, any person possessing cannabis or a cannabis derivative is considered guilty of breaking the law.

CBD products however are legal in Ireland once they fall within specific regulations. The level of THC in CBD products should fall below 0.2% or none at all to qualify with legal status. Customers should always ask questions regarding the quality, strengths, dosage and ingredients of CBD oils and other hemp products before or during product selection.

Other CBD products available to purchase include creams, capsules, coffee and edible gummies which are infused with CBD. The CBD market is almost as popular as the vitamins market with CBD now being incorporated into a wide variety of products – even hand sanitiser.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis. Even though CBD is an important component in medicinal cannabis, it is also derived from the hemp plant. This is the cousin of the well-known marijuana plant.

Even though CBD is one component of cannabis, there are hundreds of others. Also, alone it won’t create the “high” sensation associated with the use of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

CBD oil or hemp oil has become commonly known in Ireland anecdotally for its possible health benefits. Clinical trials across the EU have also shown CBD oils and other hemp products to have a potential range of benefits. When used by humans, CBD shows no possibility of abuse or dependence. Also, there are no public health records of side effects when  people use CBD.

The Cannabis Trade Association works to improve and maintain health, safety and environmental regulations and practices around cannabis industries. Any CBD business looking for practice standards and a body of experts that they can phone or pose a question to should enquire about a membership.

What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the chemical in marijuana responsible for most of the psychological effects experienced. While this is true, the chemical makeup of THC is similar to CBD, which combats the effect of THC.

THC acts like anandamide, which is a natural chemical produced in the brain. It alters the way the brain communicates. Rather than having normal brain communications through neurons, the THC will attach to the neurons and change the overall process.


THC and CBD have the same chemical formula, including 30 hydrogen atoms, two oxygen atoms, and 21 carbon atoms. The only difference is in the atoms’ arrangement. This is what provides unique chemical properties for THC and CBD and why they affect your body in different ways.

Both THC and CBD work with receptors that are responsible for releasing neurotransmitters in your brain. When you use these substances, they can impact things like memory, sleep, mood, and pain.

THC is the compound in marijuana that creates the “high” sensation. There are two different types of cannabinoid receptors in your body. THC will mostly bind with the receptors in your brain, which control mood, pain, and other similar feelings. This is the main reason THC creates a sense of euphoria and the “high” sensation people talk about.

With CBD, though, the “high” feeling is not created. It works with other elements in your body that are related to feelings of well-being.

Today, people use CBD products to help with various medical conditions, such as diabetes, Chron’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis. Some users also claim that CBD helps with chronic pain, insomnia, and anxiety. Also, CBD creates limited side effects in people who use it, unlike THC.

Some of the potential side effects of THC include problems with memory, balance, concentration, drowsiness, vomiting, and dizziness. However, this isn’t true for everyone and can depend on factors like the strain used, strength level, and your own body chemistry.

What Is the Legal Status of CBD in Ireland vs the Legal Status of THC in Ireland?

While views of hemp are shifting in Ireland, it is not legal to use recreationally. Even though it cannot be used recreationally legally, in July of 2019, Ireland started a five-year pilot program to legalize medicinal cannabis.

This means that pharmacies can provide the approved cannabis (products with THC) and that the HSE will cover the cost of these. This is true if patients have the necessary medical conditions and if other treatments have not been effective.

Now we come to CBD. Cannabidiol is legal in Ireland; however, the laws are still complex.

According to European Union regulations, hemp and CBD products are allowed if they contain under 0.2% THC. This is slightly lower than the 0.3% allowed in the United States. While this is true, it still means that most CBD products would be legal in Ireland.

The confusion comes in when looking at the guidelines from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. With this, all derivatives of hemp or cannabis that contain any level of THC are illegal. This means that CBD isolate can be sold in Ireland; however, the products also have to comply with all the Novel Foods Act regulations.

The Novel Foods Act states that CBD products created using an extraction method that was used before 1997 do not require authorization and are not considered a “Novel Food.” This means that cold-pressed CBD requires no authorization, which means it can be manufactured and sold throughout Ireland.

An example of a product that is not considered legal in Ireland is CO2 extracted CBD. This extraction method was created after 1997 and is thought to be a “Novel Food.” Because of this, authorization is required, which is given by the European Commission.

It’s important to note that the CBD laws in Ireland still have quite a bit of confusion around them. Some stores have CBD products collected by the police, even though they have under the legal 0.2% THC, and they have been legally grown in Europe.

Where can I buy CBD products in Dublin?

There are a variety of both online and physical CBD stores based in Dublin. One such online store is Dr. Hemp Me. A small team runs this popular retail website with CBD knowledge and experience. Businesses like this one take orders through their websites and organise the delivery of your CBD product.

It is important to not that the best CBD oil products should have lab test reports available, declare all relevant information on the product page such as the amount of CBD in the oil and whether it is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate.

There are plenty of CBD brands in Dublin city but what’s important is a user friendly site, service and product reviews and a company which follows industry requirements. Be sure to get in touch with a brand if you want an educated answer on a particular CBD item before purchasing.

Final Note

It’s clear from the information above that the legal status of CBD, along with other products derived from hemp in Ireland, is complicated. The laws related to this are constantly changing and being revised. Regardless of if you use, manufacturer, produce, or resell CBD products, trying to keep up with the latest legal news can be quite challenging.

While this is true, it is still important to know what is going on. So be sure to continue checking in with the latest laws or revisions that have been made. This will ensure you know what legal standards you must meet to use or sell CBD in Ireland.


Brian Cusack

Managing Director Dr. Hemp Me

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