The legal status of cannabis products in the EU is confusing. Due to the novel food regulation, goods like CBD oil in Ireland are now in a grey legal area. Pure CBD is not downright illegal in Ireland, but it is restricted. Understand the laws & how to buy legal top-notch CBD products in Ireland.
The Legal Status of CBD Oil in Ireland
What’s next for CBD oil in Ireland? No one can say for sure. But as of now, CBD products classified as novel foods are safe, legal, and here to stay.
The legal status of cannabis products in the EU today has become confusing. Due to the novel food regulation, goods like CBD oil in Ireland are now in a grey legal area.
As you may have noticed, some stores in Dublin are selling CBD products that contain less than 0.2% THC — however, cannabis-derived CBD is still illegal. The easiest way to sell a CBD product is by classifying it as a novel food, not a medicinal supplement.
So, what is the CBD oil law in Ireland? This article will tell you everything you need to know.
How Is CBD Oil Currently Classified?
In Ireland, CBD is not considered an illegal drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It can be legally bought and sold as a food product if it doesn’t contain any THC.
However, CBD is also not classified as a medicine. That means it cannot be prescribed by a doctor or sold as a medicinal product in pharmacies and drug stores. Any hemp or CBD-related product must be marketed as a supplement or food product legally sold in Ireland.
CBD vs. THC: What’s the Difference?
CBD stands for cannabidiol — it’s one of the two main chemicals derived from the hemp plant. The other is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
Man putting CBD oil in tea; image by Evopure CBD, via Unsplash.com.
To put it simply, THC contains psychoactive properties, while CBD does not. That’s why products containing THC are still illegal in Ireland. Recent updates to Irish law have classified CBD as a non-cannabis product, so it is legal to sell in stores as long as it contains less than 0.2% THC.
The Novel Food Status of Hemp
Hemp products, including CBD oil, can be classified as novel foods if they meet certain specifications.
A novel food is any ingestible food or ingredient that was not available on the EU market before May of 1997. These products must go through a strict authorization process before they are eligible to be sold.
Now, this is where it gets tricky — some cold-pressed hemp oils do not need to be authorized as novel foods because they were already consumed in the EU before 1997. Oils produced by cold pressing hemp seeds or other parts of the plant are legal to sell as food supplements without applying for authorization without the use of chemicals or solvents for extraction.
According to the Novel Food Catalogue, a hemp-derived product has to be extracted using safe methods to be considered a novel food. Every CBD oil manufacturer who uses extraction or purification techniques must independently apply for novel food authorization before selling their oil on the EU market.
In 2021, there will be another legal shift in the UK and Ireland for CBD manufacturers and retailers. Any new CBD product that has not been authorized as a novel food before March 31st of this year will have to be taken off the shelves.
For that reason, CBD manufacturers should submit their applications as soon as possible.
Applying for Novel Food Authorization
Wondering how you can classify your CBD oil as a novel food? It isn’t too difficult — the most important thing is to start your application right away to meet the March 31st deadline.
Here’s what you need to know:
For CBD Manufacturers
As a CBD oil manufacturer, it is your responsibility to submit an application for novel food authorization to the Regulated Products Portal.
The current processing time for applications is around one month. If you want your application to be approved as quickly as possible, make sure to include all the necessary data and information about your product.
Incomplete applications will not be processed — which means you won’t get your novel food authorization before the March 31st deadline.
For CBD Resellers
If you sell pre-branded or white-labeled CBD products, you should contact your supplier about the novel food authorization application.
It’s crucial that your specific products are mentioned in the application. Otherwise, they will not be considered novel foods and cannot be sold. Resellers can’t fill out independent applications for authorization, so make sure you communicate with your supplier!
For CBD Secondary Producers
If you bottle, blend or reformulate another manufacturer’s CBD product, your product can be included in your supplier’s application.
Secondary producers can also fill out an independent application for authorization, known as a “piggyback application.” You will need to provide stability and shelf-life tests to certify the safety of your product.
Marketing CBD Oil
If you are selling CBD oil classified as a novel food, it has to be appropriately labeled and marketed. Any food product with false or misleading marketing can lose its legal status.
Remember, non-cannabis CBD is legal in Ireland, but it is not classified as a medicinal product. Claiming that your CBD oil has medicinal properties is against the law.
So, how can you keep yourself and your product safe? Be careful about the wording used on your labels and in your advertising. Claims that your product will “treat,” “cure,” or “heal” an illness or medical problem are illegal. Those laws extend to what you post on social media or say out loud to customers!
As long as your CBD oil is not marketed with any health claims, you won’t have to worry about it losing its novel food authorization.
The legal status of CBD oil and other hemp-derived products in Ireland is complicated. Laws are always changing and being rewritten — as a CBD oil manufacturer, reseller, or producer, keeping up with the latest changes can be exhausting.
That said, it’s important to keep yourself in the know! This article covered the current legal status of CBD products in Ireland, but more information may be made available throughout the year. Do your research and check back regularly to make sure your product is safe!
What’s next for CBD oil in Ireland? No one can say for sure. But as of now, CBD products classified as novel foods are safe, legal, and here to stay.
Buying CBD in Ireland: Everything You need to Know 
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
- Order from local Irish CBD companies such as Dr. Hemp Me
- Cultivation of hemp varieties with less than 0.2% THC is legal in Ireland
- The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 (MDA 1977) prohibits hemp derivatives that contain THC
- In Ireland, CBD extracted with solvents and CO2 are considered novel foods
- Pure CBD is not banned under the MDR 1977, but it’s restricted under the Novel Food Regulation
- To be entirely legal, CBD must be cold-pressed and 100% free from THC
- CBD isolate products remain stuck in the legal grey area, depending on their extraction method
- Medical CBD is not authorized in Ireland for the general public — medical access is granted on a case-by-case basis
- 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
- You can use a mail forwarding service to order CBD from brands that don’t offer to ship directly to Ireland
Best CBD Oil in Ireland:
Dr. Hemp Me CBD Oil 30%
Endoca CBD Oils
€0.08 – €0.09
Reakiro CBD Oil
€0.07 – €0.08
Hemp Bombs CBD Oil
$0.07 – $0.17
Nordic Oil Full-Spectrum CBD Oil (Europe)
€0.08 – €0.09
Kat’s Naturals Relax THC-Free Sublingual CBD Oil
$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 from Irish CBD companies (Dr. Hemp Me).
Most CBD brands will also ship to Ireland, but it’s best to go with European brands like Kiara Naturals, 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 has 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.
Is CBD Legal in Ireland?
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’s 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.
|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 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 in 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.