The number of legal cannabis patients in Europe increased by around 100000 in 2022
The majority of people in Europe now live in countries offering some form of access to medical cannabis products, according to a new report. The number of medical cannabis patients in Europe has increased by nearly 100000 over the past year, according to new data, but access remains out of reach for many.
According to a new report, the majority of Europeans now live in countries that offer some form of access to medical cannabis products, and around 342 patients are legally using the treatment on the continent.
Estimates seen by Cannabis Health suggest that the total number of legal cannabis patients in Europe increased by more than 99 in the year 000-2021, and experts believe it could reach more than 2022 in 500. .
The UK has seen one of the biggest increases, rising from around 13 patients to just over 000, while Germany continues to lead in terms of legal patient numbers with over 32. These countries are followed by Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
These estimates are part of a new report published last week by cannabis industry analysts Prohibition Partners.
Prohibition Partners analysts told Cannabis Health that in most cases, to determine the numbers, the group's analysts take the amount of medical cannabis prescribed in a country and infer the patient population from the average amount consumed. per patient in similar countries.
Another common method is based on the number of prescriptions written in a country, with the number of patients concluded based on local regulations, such as the maximum quantity allowed and how often active patients refill their prescriptions.
The methods used by the group to estimate the number of patients are limited by the extent of the existing data, because the number of prescriptions or the annual consumption of medical cannabis among patients varies by region and time. Therefore, the data should be considered indicative rather than precise.
UK and Germany are 'key markets'
According to the report, the European market is expected to grow by more than 500% over the next five years, due to the introduction of legalized medical cannabis in some countries and market maturation in others.
Le UK and l'Germany have been identified as "key markets", with medical cannabis sales expected to account for 67% of the total market share by 2026.
German government data mentioned in the report reveals that in the first half of 2022, Germany imported more than 10000 kg of medical cannabis, an increase of 5% compared to the previous year. Analysts say this suggests supply in Germany is now "adequate" to meet medical market demand and will be for the foreseeable future. Data recently released by the government suggests that just under 80000 kg of medical cannabis flower is permitted for import under current licensing.
However, while the majority of patients have access to unauthorized cannabis-based medicines, most of them find these medicines “impossible” to obtain, due to bureaucratic or economic obstacles.
Recent years have seen the introduction of new access devices and pilot programs, such as in France, which aim to improve access, but millions of patients continue to use products grown on site or purchased on the street, indicates the report.
Towards a liberalization of cannabis
The legalization of cannabis for adult use is also on the horizon in several European countries.
The Netherlands and the Switzerland are both launching pilot trials for the sale of products for adult use, while the German government appears set to present a cannabis bill by the end of the year, with the launch of a legal market expected in 2024 – although the possibility of delays remains likely.
Some questioned the impact of adult use on medical access. However, the report suggests that the liberalization of cannabis laws "should not dampen medical sales" over the next five years, due to the separation between medical and adult-use markets in Europe compared to markets such as than North America.
Overcoming the main obstacles in Europe
Prohibition Partners co-founder and CEO Stephen Murphy acknowledged the role advocates have played in advancing the medical cannabis industry in Europe.
“The industry is being pushed across Europe by tireless advocates at all levels, from patients to caregivers and healthcare professionals, as well as commercial operators. We are very proud to play our part as a source of information and ideas for these efforts.”
“As far as Europe is concerned, some major hurdles are being resolved, helping to address the issue of patient access on the continent. For example, in the UK and Germany, medical cannabis dispensaries really help to overcome the bureaucracy that patients face in finding suitable doctors, products and pharmacies to obtain medication. It's also important to help physicians understand how to prescribe medications, which is why Prohibition Partners is working with Cannabis Scientia to publish a manual that familiarizes healthcare professionals with the region-specific prescribing process.
“Finally, the pilot programs set up in countries such as the Denmark and now the France are essential as they are the entry points for legal medical cannabis to be standardized in the country before wider access can truly develop. Mr. Murphy added, "It's amazing how far patient access has come in recent years, but there's still a lot of work to be done to make access a reality for patients everywhere." continent. »