We are going to take a look at the legality of CBD oil specifically in the UK and Northern Ireland. CBD Oil UK | CBD Oil Northern Ireland – Full Circle Hemp Specialist hospital doctors can prescribe or recommend cannabis-based products for treatment. The products can be used when the specialist identifies a clinical need for a person and other treatments are not suitable or have not helped. CBD Oil in Northern Ireland: Where to Buy, CBD Laws and More CBD oil has grown massively in popularity over the last few years, with more than a quarter of a million users in the UK alone. As
The Legality of CBD Oil in the UK
Taking a look at the legality of CBD Oil in Northern Ireland & the UK.
CBD has been a trendy product in the health sector for some years now. Users praise it for its wondrous effects and influencers post pictures of themselves with a different bottle of CBD oil every day. Scientists are hard at work trying to uncover more of the mysteries around this compound, while consumers are completely baffled in this mayhem and are wondering…
Is CBD oil even legal where I live?
The laws surrounding CBD are different in every country. In some countries, CBD is entirely legal, while in others it can only be used for medicinal purposes or is completely illegal. It’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing rules, but that is what we are going to do in this article.
We are going to take a look at the legality of CBD oil specifically in Northern Ireland and the UK.
CBD oil’s popularity has grown significantly here. According to the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTA) , as of 2018, CBD had 250,000 consumers throughout the UK and 45% of them were aware of what CBD was and what it could do. The numbers have only increased since then.
So we are going to answer all your questions about the legality of CBD oil in Northern Ireland and the UK to erase any worries you might have and ease your mind for your next CBD purchase.
CBD or THC, which one is illegal?
CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of more than a 100 components of the Cannabis plant, called cannabinoids.
While THC is a psychoactive compound used for recreational purposes, CBD is non-psychoactive and under study for its properties. THC is the reason you get high when you smoke weed, and also the reason you become hungry and sleepy afterward. You can blame THC for short-term memory loss too. These factors have all contributed to THC being illegal in most countries.
CBD on the other hand, can counteract the effects of THC to some degree. It can reduce the amount of anxiety and memory loss caused by THC. Plus, scientists are doing more and more research on CBD and discovering its potential application in the health sector. As these studies show that CBD has more good to offer than bad, governments across the world are rethinking the laws around CBD. and making it legal for its potential benefits.
A brief history of the legality of CBD oil in Northern Ireland & the UK
It was in 1928, after the passing of the Dangerous Drugs Act, when cannabis was declared illegal in the UK for the first time. Since then, cannabis had an on and off relationship with the UK’s legal system. It was classified as a non-addictive substance under the Class C drugs in 2001.
Then in 2008, it was illegalized again and went under the Class B drugs alongside amphetamines and barbiturates with up to 5 years of prison sentence for carrying it.
Now, most cannabinoids like THC are in the list of controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act, and therefore illegal to buy and consume.
CBD, being a derivative of hemp which is just one of the species of the Cannabis plant (the other being marijuana) follows slightly different rules and is exempt from this law. This is because hemp has a higher content of CBD and lower amounts of THC compared to marijuana and the CBD products in the market are all made from hemp.
So yes…CBD is not a controlled substance and is therefore completely legal to purchase and use in Northern Ireland and the UK.
However, there are some strict criteria that CBD products must meet to be considered legal.
Criteria for legal CBD products
With the legalization of CBD and its growing popularity, the number of CBD companies is increasing overwhelmingly. And a lot of these companies are putting out low-quality products, some of which contain illegal amounts of THC or even some vegetable oil!
To protect consumers, the EU has determined a specific set of criteria that all CBD companies must meet to be able to sell legally. Even with Brexit and leaving the European Union, the UK is still in a transition period until the end of 2020. So while its regulations on CBD might change after this period, it still follows the same rules as the EU.
Let’s take a look at these criteria.
Only certain strains of hemp with less than 0.2% THC can be used
The strain of hemp used for extracting CBD should contain less than 0.2% THC. This amount of THC is safe and won’t get the consumers high.
Although the EU has approved more than 60 different strains of industrial hemp for this purpose, farmers in Northern Ireland and the UK still have a limited choice compared to other countries like the US that aren’t bound to these rules.
From this limited choice of strains, Futura 75, Ferimon, and Finola are three of the best ones to grow in the UK and have the highest CBD content.
THC must not be extractable from the oil
The final CBD oil product must be in a form, or in combination with other substances in a way that it won’t allow others to extract the THC from it easily. Believe it or not, some people try to do that, and that can have dangerous health and legal consequences.
The little amount of THC in CBD products in combination with this rule makes it almost impossible to separate the THC content from the oil.
Finally, the end product must contain no more than 1mg of any controlled substance.
The CBD product should not be advertised as a medicine
CBD oils are still at the research level and have not passed enough tests to be approved as medicine, so they should not be advertised as such. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) stated in October 2016 that CBD must obtain a license before it can be sold as a medicine in the UK.
Any companies marketing their CBD products as medicine or claiming medicinal properties will be in big trouble. Instead, they can sell their products as food and dietary supplements, following the guidelines of the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA).
Which types of CBD products are legal?
Like we said before, CBD is not a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act, so any type of product containing CBD is legal, as long as it meets the mentioned criteria. These CBD products are available throughout Northern Ireland and the UK and include:
Specialist hospital doctors can prescribe or recommend cannabis-based products for treatment. The products can be used when the specialist identifies a clinical need for a person and other treatments are not suitable or have not helped.
About medicinal cannabis products
‘Medicinal cannabis’ is a broad term for any sort of cannabis-based product used to relieve symptoms.
Many of these products are available to buy online without a prescription, but their quality and content cannot be guaranteed. These products could be illegal and potentially dangerous.
Some products that might claim to be medicinal cannabis, such as ‘CBD’ oil or hemp oil, are available to buy as food supplements from health stores and other outlets, but there is no guarantee these are effective or of good quality.
Some cannabis-based products are available on prescription as medicinal cannabis. These are only likely to benefit a very small number of patients.
Prescriptions for a medicinal cannabis product
Medicinal cannabis products are only available on a prescription written by, or recommended by, a specialist hospital doctor.
This is because there is currently limited scientific evidence medicinal cannabis is safe and effective. It is also because there are relatively few licensed products available that have undergone the normal strict testing for medicines. This testing means that medicines are safe, of good quality, and are effective.
A hospital specialist might consider prescribing a medicinal cannabis product for you or your child if:
- your child has one of the rare forms of epilepsy that might be helped by medical cannabis
- you have spasticity from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and treatments for this are not helping
- you have vomiting or feel sick from chemotherapy and anti-sickness treatments aren’t helping
Medicinal cannabis will generally only be considered when other treatments were not suitable or had not helped. The specialist will discuss with you the most suitable treatment option.
If the above does not apply it is unlikely your GP will refer you or your child for medicinal cannabis.
How medicinal cannabis products might help
Epidyolex for children and adults with epilepsy
Epidyolex is a highly purified liquid containing CBD (cannabidiol).
CBD is a chemical substance found in cannabis that has medical benefits.
It will not get you high, because it does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in cannabis that makes you high.
Epidyolex can be prescribed for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (both rare forms of epilepsy).
Nabilone for chemotherapy patients
Many people having chemotherapy will have periods where they feel sick or vomit.
Nabilone can be prescribed by a specialist to help relieve these symptoms, but only when other treatments have not helped or are not suitable.
Nabilone is a medicine, taken as a capsule, which has been developed to act in a similar way to THC (the chemical in cannabis that makes you high). You may have heard it described as a “manmade form of cannabis”.
Nabiximols (Sativex) for multiple sclerosis (MS)
Nabiximols (Sativex) is a cannabis-based medicine that is sprayed into the mouth.
It is licensed in the UK for people with MS-related muscle spasticity that has not got better with other treatments.
There is some evidence medical cannabis can help certain types of pain, though this evidence is not yet strong enough to recommend it for pain relief.
Researchers are currently investigating other possible uses of medicinal cannabis.
Products available to buy
Some cannabis-based products are available to buy over the internet without a prescription.
It’s likely most of these products – even those called “CBD oils” – will be illegal to possess or supply. There’s a good chance they will contain THC, and may not be safe to use.
Health stores sell certain types of “pure CBD”. However, there’s no guarantee these products will be of good quality.
They tend to only contain very small amounts of CBD, so it’s not clear what effect they would have.
Is medicinal cannabis safe
The risks of using cannabis products containing THC (the chemical that gets you high) are not currently known. That is why clinical trials are needed before they can be licensed for use.
“Pure” products that only contain CBD, such as Epidyolex, do not carry these unknown risks linked with THC.
But in reality, most products will contain a certain amount of THC.
The main risks of THC cannabis products are:
- psychosis – there is evidence that regular cannabis use increases your risk of developing a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia
- dependency on the medicine – although scientists believe this risk is probably small when its use is controlled and monitored by a specialist doctor
Generally, the more THC the product contains, the greater these risks are.
Cannabis bought illegally off the street, where the quality, ingredients and strength are not known, is the most dangerous form to use.
Side effects of medicinal cannabis
After taking medicinal cannabis, it is possible side effects can develop. These include:
- decreased appetite
- greater weakness
- a behavioural or mood change
- feeling very tired
- feeling high
- suicidal thoughts or hallucinations
If you experience any side effects from medicinal cannabis, report these to your medical team. You can also report them through the Yellow Card Scheme.
CBD can affect how other drugs work. If you are taking a CBD drug along with other medication, always discuss possible interactions with your specialist.
CBD can also affect how your liver works, so doctors would need to monitor you regularly.
CBD Oil in Northern Ireland: Where to Buy, CBD Laws and More
CBD oil has grown massively in popularity over the last few years, with more than a quarter of a million users in the UK alone.
As we covered in our guide to CBD laws in the UK, CBD oil and other CBD products are legal to purchase, possess and use. This means that you can legally use CBD oil in Northern Ireland for everything from relaxation and anxiety treatment to pain relief.
Below, we’ve listed the best ways to buy CBD oil in Northern Ireland, as well as everything else you should know about using CBD oil in Northern Ireland, from pricing and availability to CBD’s complete legal status in the region.
CBD Oil Laws in Northern Ireland
As we mentioned above, CBD oil is legal throughout the UK, including Northern Ireland. Unlike other substances, the laws in Northern Ireland regarding CBD are the same as those in Wales, Scotland and England.
Like other countries in the United Kingdom, marijuana is illegal in Northern Ireland. It’s referred to as a Class B controlled substance under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, meaning that it isn’t legal for people in Northern Ireland to purchase or use marijuana for any purpose.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol — the main active ingredient in marijuana — is also listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act as a controlled, illegal substance. This means that products such as cannabis oil, which contains THC, are illegal in Northern Ireland.
However, cannabidiol, or CBD, is not an illegal substance. It’s not listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act and is not classed as a controlled substance in the UK, meaning you’re free to buy, possess and use it if you live in Northern Ireland.
It’s also legal to possess CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC in Northern Ireland, such as full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil. Although these products often contain THC, the THC content is below the legal limit and thus is not in violation of any drug laws.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has even been classified as a medicinal compound by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, meaning it’s viewed legally and regulated as a new type of medicine, rather than being banned as an illegal drug.
In late 2016, the MHRA released the following statement regarding the use of CBD oil in the UK, confirming that CBD is viewed as a medicine rather than as an illegal substance:
“We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine.”
In short, it’s completely legal to purchase, possess and use CBD oil in Northern Ireland and in the other United Kingdom countries. As CBD oil does not contain THC, or contains THC in tiny, trace quantities, it is not considered an illegal substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Where to Buy CBD Oil in Northern Ireland
There are several ways that you can buy CBD oil, CBD vape e-liquid and other CBD products in Northern Ireland.
The first is to buy CBD locally. In most large towns and cities, you may be able to find shops that sell CBD oil, e-liquids and other products. These products can vary in quality and pricing usually isn’t the best in the market due to the expenses of operating a brick-and-mortar retail shop.
Over the last few years, CBD products have also started to appear in many pharmacies. If you live close to a local pharmacy, you may be able to buy some CBD products there. Again, due to the costs involved in operating an offline shop, prices here can vary.
All orders of £25 or more from our online shop come with free delivery, including to addresses in Northern Ireland, making it cheap and easy for you to buy CBD products online. We dispatch all orders placed before 3pm on the same day for fast, stress-free and convenient delivery.
Finally, it’s possible to buy CBD products online from vendors based outside the UK. We usually don’t recommend this approach. Not only can delivery take weeks, but product quality can often be poor, meaning your CBD oil or e-liquid may not be optimal for your health.
It’s also important to remember that CBD laws can vary from country to country, meaning that a product you order from overseas may not be legal or suitable for use in the UK. Also, due to the labelling laws in some countries, many overseas products labelled as “CBD oil” may not contain any CBD at all.
How to Use CBD Oil
Interested in using CBD oil but don’t know how to get started? We understand. CBD oil is one of the fastest-growing medicines in the world, with thousands of people trying it as an alternative or complement to conventional medication and treatment options every month.
CBD oil comes in a variety of forms, from oil tinctures to e-liquids designed for use with a vape pen. You can also purchase oral forms of CBD, such as CBD capsules and edibles, which are designed for use like conventional supplements.
Our guide to the best ways to use CBD oil explains the advantages and disadvantages of each type of CBD product. If you’re a CBD beginner, it’s a great place to start learning about how you can get started with CBD.
CBD oil is legal to purchase, possess and use in Northern Ireland. We deliver all sorts of CBD products, from CBD oil to e-liquids, capsules and edibles, to our customers in Northern Ireland on a regular basis, all with free delivery for orders of £25 or more.
To get started, view our range of CBD products in our online shop or contact us for information and personalised advice on the best CBD products for your needs.