Jurisdictions including Canada, 33 US states, Australia, Colombia and the majority of EU countries now permit the medical use of cannabis and/or cannabinoids in some form. Typically, medical cannabis is administered in the form of dried flower or oils, with more sophisticated formats entering the market including soluble strips and vaporizers. Additionally, four cannabis-derived pharmaceutical products have been licensed and approved for use in the EU.
The majority of EU countries now permit the medical use of cannabinoids in some form, with public attitude to medical cannabis shifting dramatically in recent years thanks to a range of high-profile patient campaigns, increasingly favourable media coverage and increasing awareness of the plant’s potential
Although medical cannabis was legalised in November 2018, patient numbers to date are hamstrung by restrictive NHS prescription guidelines. As clinical evidence emerges, we expect prescription rates to increase and the UK to become a major cannabis growth market.
Current Europe-wide estimates of medical cannabis spend sit at ~€300m pa. Assuming the wider EU follows Germany’s current trajectory in per capita spend, its medical cannabis market will be worth €1.04bn by 2025 with a CAGR of 23%, whereas a more fundamental shift in regulations towards a Canadian-style model would place the value at €5.26bn with a CAGR of 61%. Making accurate forecasts is difficult due to the infancy of European markets, and ultimately the growth of the market will depend upon additional national regulatory reforms, reduced prescription costs and growing evidence to support cannabis’ efficacy.