Irish consumers now have the chance to purchase CBD hemp oil direct from the high street after Dublin witnessed the opening of its first dedicated CBD hemp oil store in June of this year (2018).
With the opening of the store, customers in Ireland will now have the opportunity to shop for CBD hemp oil products while also obtaining crucial advice and information from those working at the location.
While CBD hemp oil had been legal to purchase online, the addition of a store actually selling CBD products in a shopping mall in the nation’s capital city represents an enormous development in what has historically been a staunchly traditional country.
While cannabis and its related products have long been stigmatized in Ireland, the opening of a CBD location emphasizes the growing change of public perception that is sweeping both that country and the rest of the planet.
Medical Cannabis Remains Restricted
Despite this apparent progress though, Ireland has yet to catch up with many countries in Europe and the Western World following the rejection of The Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 0f 2016.
The Bill, which would allow the medicinal use of cannabis and its derivatives, was rejected by the Oireachtas Health Committee in July of 2017, despite having already passed the Dáil (Ireland’s lower house of legislature) without opposition from the Government, in December of 2016.
In spite of early promise, the committee dismissed the proposal, stating that the legislation was “too loose to effectively guard against leakage of supply to recreational users, [and] overuse by patients”.
They also stated that it might have the effect of decriminalizing cannabis use for all users.
As a result, the use of medicinal forms of cannabis, particularly those containing THC, remain highly restricted in the Irish Republic.
CBD Hemp Oil Legal but not Prescribed
The Irish government has adopted a slightly more reasonable approach to CBD hemp oil as it is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation.Products containing only CBD (and less than 0.1% of THC) therefore do not require any Ministerial license for use.
Currently, CBD hemp oil and its related products can be sold as a food supplement in Ireland but as CBD is not currently authorized as a medicinal product by the HPRA, it is not considered a medical treatment option and therefore cannot be prescribed by doctors.
However, despite this, doctors in the Irish Republic are in fact recommending CBD to their patients, even if they are not actually able to prescribe it as a medicine according to the marketing manager of Dublin’s first dedicated CBD store, Joe Dunne.
“Since we’ve opened last week we’ve had huge amounts of customers in inquiring, having a look.” he claimed.
“Feedback from in there is that people are telling the staff that their doctors have recommended that it can help with x, y, and z. So there are a hell of a lot of doctors referring them to come in and have a look and try it out.”
Irish Studies Shows Potential Benefits of Cannabis
Back In 2016, the Irish government commissioned a report to be conducted by Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) on the scientific evidence on medicinal cannabis.
With the publication of the report in February 2017, the HPRA concluded that there was only “at best, a moderate benefit for cannabis in a small number of medical conditions”
Those conditions were said to include multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and those suffering nausea in chemotherapy.
While any decision that confirms the worth of cannabis as a medical treatment is to be welcomed, it is still hugely disappointing that their recommendations did not extend beyond the aforementioned conditions.
And despite that recommendation, it is still hugely difficult for anyone, even those suffering from chronic pain or debilitating illnesses to receive medicinal cannabis in the Irish Republic. As it stands, unless given under special dispensation, no cannabis product can be prescribed by a doctor in the country.
As a consequence, only two patients have been granted a license by the Irish Department of health to use medicinal cannabis. The most recent patient received a three-month license to use Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while this development has been greeted in many quarters, two patients in just under two years do not look like anything more than a drop in the ocean.
Proposal Could Bring New Cannabis Laws to Ireland
While previous proposals to change the cannabis laws in Ireland have been mostly rejected, new hope has emerged in the form of a proposal being lead by Niall Neligan, lawyer, academic, and founder of drug policy law reform group in Ireland, Fweed.
The recently published proposal, entitled A 21st Century Approach to Regulating Cannabis, is a hugely ambitious and detailed plan which could see Ireland becoming a major location in the European cannabis market over the next 10 years with plans to raise over E300m through the creation of a market similar to that which currently exists in Amsterdam.
In July of this year, Neligan, along with other medical cannabis activists, appeared in the Oireachtas (Irish house of government) to present the proposed regulatory framework.
One of the central ideas within the proposal is to create a new law called the Regulation of Cannabis (Medical & Adult Use) Bill which would remove cannabis from the list of scheduled substances, and see it regulated in a similar way to both alcohol and tobacco.
Mr Neligan explained: “We are seeking a world-class regulatory framework for the production, distribution, and sale of cannabis by 2021 and we are seeking the introduction of a world-class regulatory framework which minimizes the harms of use and eliminates the illicit trade for unregulated cannabis”
Certainly, at the very least, attitudes in Ireland do seem to be shifting with a poll published in The Irish Times in December of 2016 suggesting that support for prescribed medicinal cannabis in Ireland was as high as 81%.
With the Irish Department of Health launching a new information service on Medical Cannabis in July of 2018, it would certainly appear that both the public and finally the Irish government have begun to realize that the existing cannabis regulations in Ireland are outdated and must be modernized as quickly as possible.
With more information now available to the Irish public, we must hope that the increased levels of awareness on the benefits of medical cannabis will finally manifest themselves into workable laws for the Irish people in the very near future.
October 9, 2018