In cities all across the continent a silent revolution is happening. Specialist hemp and CBD shops are selling cannabis flowers or buds. These flowers contain lessthan 0.2% THC and are totally legal to sell in Europe. These are not the outdoor seeded flowers sold as tea a few years ago. A group of Swiss growers have taken European approved hemp strains like Finola and Futura, and cultivated them indoors under lights in perfect conditions. The resulting strains resemble the cannabis seen on the shelves of any Amsterdam coffee shop: aromatic, dense, resin covered flowers. The resin contains CBD, the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp strains that contain little to no THC.
How do they do it?
Cannabis breeders plant, lets say 100 seeds of a low THC variety like Finola or Fedora. They might get 50 males and 50 females in the resulting offspring. Of these they will select the best females and males (those that display desirable traits such as yield, resin production and most importantly terpene profile. Terpenes give cannabis it’s wonderful smell. Fruit and flowers like lemons, lavender, orange and mint also have terpenes that are commonly found in cannabis. By breeding these plants and back crossing the resulting progeny these growers have succeeded in creating tasty strains that produce no psychoactive effects.
But why would you want cannabis that doesn’t get you high?
A good analogy is non alcoholic beer. People like the taste and the social aspect of beer but don’t necessarily want to get drunk. It’s the same with cannabis. Users like the smell, taste and the routine of taking cannabis but don’t want to be high all the time. And, lets face it most of us are not comfortable breaking the law. The CBD flowers are derived from Industrial hemp plants and are totally legal in Ireland. (EU Regulation 1307/2013). As long as the flower is produced on an approved European hemp strain it is subject to European law. On the contrary CBD flowers from unauthorised genetics are illegal even if they are under 0.2% THC. Member states are free to make their own regulations on what would be termed as Drug cannabis, ie any strain not derived from European authorised genetics.
“There is no harmonised EU law on cannabis use. The criminal or administrative response to drug use offences is the responsibility of EU Member States, not of the European Union. According to Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), ‘The Union shall complement the Member States’ action in reducing drugs-related health damage, including information and prevention.”
All across the rest of the world cannabis is being legalised. Ireland will not be long to follow. Until then enjoy the flowers of the hemp strains that are currently on the market and feel comfortable in the fact that you are not breaking any law.