Why Ireland Could Become Europe’s New Cannabis Growing Capital

An 11-year-old boy with epilepsy recently became the first patient ever to receive medical cannabis on the NHS.

A Northern Irish boy was prescribed CBD oil – a cannabis product that does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound which produces the ‘high’ – by doctors in Northern Ireland after he was unable to make the trip the US, where specialists had been prescribing him CBD after his epilepsy caused him to suffer up to 100 seizures a day.


The CBD oil that the doctor prescribed came from an Irish pharmaceutical company called GreenLight Medicines, which is the first Irish pharmaceutical company to focus exclusively on the production and sale of novel cannabis-derived molecules, i.e CBD and THC.

GreenLight Medicines has also recently won funding of €500k from Irish investors to develop “breakthrough medicines” using cannabis extracts, along with a 5-year, multi-million Euro contract with Isodiol, one of the world’s largest supplier of industrial hemp oil.

Speaking on JOE’s latest episode of its business podcast, The Capital B, the long-haired CEO and founder of Greenlight Medicines, Dr James Linden, expressed his view that Ireland has the perfect climate to grow cannabis and he believes it has the potential to become the next cannabis growing capital of the world.

“There’s such a huge opportunity to grow cannabis in Ireland,” Linden said when questioned on Ireland’s suitability for cultivating the therapeutic plant.

“We’re really good at that, we’ve grown it here for years. The people that grow what you might deem the best medical cannabis in the world grow it under lights in Holland, they actually think that our climate is better suited to it than Holland’s because there isn’t the concern about excess heat.”

He also believes the ruling bodies are coming around to the idea of a fully regulated cannabis growing industry in Ireland. He says there has been a degree of openness to the idea of opening a number of cannabis-growing facilities in Ireland, especially in the last six months.

“There are regulatory issues but the willingness is there, I believe. It produces an awful lot of tax revenue if nothing else.”


Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of at least 85 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis.

CBD accounts for up to 40% of the cannabis plant’s total cannabinoid extract and has been widely proven to help with a huge range of medical conditions. It is not psychoactive and is legal in the UK, classed as a medicine.

THC, on the other hand, is responsible for the psychoactive effect of marijuana, which may include paranoia and anxiety for some. It is illegal in the UK, although it too offers a host of benefits for various ailments. It’s what most recreational weed users are looking for in their product.


Dr James Linden went on to protest that the mounting evidence for cannabinoids as an effective form of treatment for many illnesses – including Multiple Sclerosis (MS), glaucoma, arthritis, epilepsy and cancer – can no longer be overlooked.

GreenLight’s is focused on conducting research that will be the catalyst in developing these cannabis-derives, life-enhancing medicines and help thousands of people manage their conditions. With research facilities in universities across the Ireland and the UK, clinical trials are already underway on cannabinoids’ effectiveness in treating a number of conditions.

“Everybody’s affected by it, in some shape or form,” continued Linden. “We’ve seen thousands of people who’ve used cannabis oil illegally, not to cure cancer, but to ease symptoms like pain.

“It might mean they can avoid going on morphine more quickly, it can boost appetite in people who don’t want to eat after chemotherapy. It can treat nausea. It has huge potential.”

As we wait for the results of Linden and his team’s boundary-pushing studies, CBD is available to buy online in the UK from a number of reputable vendors. Safe even in high doses, CBD comes in a variety of forms, from transdermal patches to vape oil and tinctures.

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