The first health food store in Limerick to stock cannabis oil products says sales have “skyrocketed” in recent months following calls for psychoactive cannabis products to be legalised for medicinal purposes.
Cillin Cleere, the proprietor of Eats of Eden on Thomas Street in Limerick city, said their cannabis oil products were now among their 10 best-selling products since they began stocking a variety of products four months ago.
He said cannabis oil could be used for a "range of neurological and physical benefits"
“The sales have been astronomical,” said Mr Cleere, who is also a biochemist and nutritional therapist.
He said cannabis oil could be used for a “range of neurological and physical benefits”, but he stressed “CBD [cannabidiol] oil is not a magic bullet or panacea. If you have chronic health concerns you should consider your whole lifestyle and diet first and foremost. It’s not quite the elixir of life, but it’s close.”
He was speaking ahead of a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health on Wednesday to examine the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 and possible legal barriers to its enactment.
The Bill, sponsored by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, was passed by the the Dáil after the Government said it would not oppose it. It proposes the establishment of a “cannabis regulation authority” to provide for the licensing of the supply of cannabis for medicinal use.
Department of Health officials told the committee last month that a monitored programme for sufferers of certain medical conditions could be in place by autumn.
Mr Cleere said staff in the shop had received many inquiries from customers about whether they could get “stoned” or “high” from the products, but he said the majority of those who came in seeking to buy it were “very well-informed and clued-in” regarding its reputed health benefits.
To be sold legally, the products have to be free of THC – tetrahydrocannabinol – the psychoactive compound found in illegal cannabis herb and resin.
“It’s not marijuana oil. If you come in with the intention of getting stoned off it, you can’t. This is essentially hemp. It’s a first cousin of marijuana, but they then branch off, as one has THC and the other one doesn’t.”
Mr Cleere said they have had “lots of positive feedback from lots of customers, of all ages, including those in their mid-80s, who have bought it and use it for a variety of reasons”.
They began stocking a number of Swiss, Northern Irish and Irish-made cannabis oil products four months ago, which range in price, depending on the strength and volume of the individual product, from €18 to €73.
The Law Society at the University of Limerick hosted a talk on Monday night on whether cannabis should be legalised for medical purposes, but could not find any opponents to argue that it shouldn’t.
Among the speakers were Vera Twomey, who earlier this year walked more than 200km from Cork and to the Dáil in Dublin in her bid to secure medicinal cannabis, containing THC, for her seriously ill daughter.
She has said that her daughter Ava (7), who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, has seen the number and severity of her seizures reduced due to a cannabis treatment known as Charlotte’s Web.