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Millions of patients to benefit from medical cannabis in Europe, experts predict

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Millions of patients to benefit from medical cannabis in Europe
Data from the NHS shows a 425 per cent increase in dispensations of unlicensed medical cannabis products

New data shows that the dispensing of medical cannabis products in the UK increased significantly in 2021, as experts predict millions of patients could benefit.

Exclusive data obtained by Prohibition Partners from the NHS shows a 425 per cent increase in dispensations of unlicensed medical cannabis products in England in 2021.

It comes as the cannabis industry experts have predicted that around 100,000 patients will be able to access medical cannabis products in Europe for the first time in 2022.

This brings the total number of patients in Europe to 341,595, a number that could rise to 1.6 million by 2026, according to new research findings. 

If the latest figures are correct, the UK could constitute about a quarter of the entire European medical cannabis market by 2026. 

There are now close to 20 private clinics and over 10,000 medical cannabis patients in the UK, prescribed the medicines for a range of conditions, including anxiety and chronic pain. 

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Elsewhere in Europe 

Sales forecasts for the medical cannabis market in Europe suggest that €353 million-worth of medical cannabis will be sold on the continent in 2022, rising to €2.3 billion by 2026 – a potential 544 per cent increase over the forecast period.

Many countries in Europe have continued to improve their medical cannabis access schemes over the last 12 months, after a slow-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Germany, the largest medical cannabis market in Europe, the market continued to grow steadily in 2021, with a 43 per cent increase in sales of medical cannabis to pharmacies. Over 100 types of medical cannabis flower are now also available to patients in Germany.

As of March 2022, 15 countries in Europe allow for the commercial production of medical cannabis.

Further progressive legislation, liberalisation and development of a mainstreaming cannabis industry in Europe over the next five years will combine to continually improve patient access to medical cannabis, and drive exponential growth of the market, The European Cannabis Report: 7th Edition finds.

Read more industry news via Cannabis Wealth

Adult-use cannabis 

The story which is drawing most international attention, is the upcoming liberalisation of adult-use cannabis in Europe.

The ruling coalition of Germany has promised full legalisation and commercialisation of adult-use (recreational) cannabis in this legislative term, and legal sales of adult-use cannabis are set to start in Switzerland by the end of 2022, followed by those in the Netherlands in Q3 2023.

Prohibition Partners predicts that sales of adult-use cannabis in Europe could reach €1.5 billion by 2026, but this forecast is dependent on swift progress and full implementation of adult-use legalisation in Germany.

European cannabis industry analyst and author of The European Cannabis Report: 7th Edition, published by Prohibition Partners, said: Hundreds of thousands of patients in Europe are benefiting from improved access to medical cannabis, and no longer have to turn to illicit sources for their medicine. 

“The liberalisation of adult-use cannabis in Europe could release millions of people from unnecessary criminalisation, and provide a much needed economic boost as we emerge from the COVID pandemic. Impending legalisation of adult-use cannabis in Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland offers the first glance of this socioeconomic opportunity.”

The European Cannabis Report: 7th Edition is now available to download for free via the Prohibition Partners website.

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