Analysts and experts are encouraging investors to set their sights on the U.K. cannabis industry, which is predicted to become a multi-billion-pound nationwide market by 2024. This is based on the findings of a new study from Prohibition Partners.
The data analysis firm anticipates that as many as 337,886 patients – approximately 0.5% of the total U.K. population – will begin using pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoid treatments within the next four years. A generous £2.3 billion valuation has been pinned on the country, as it begins to harness some serious power in regard to providing in-need patients with plant-based medicines.
Analysts drew up their estimates by building off of the U.K. cannabis market’s 2019 valuation of £147,200; the team utilized market insights to demonstrate the likelihood and scale of growth. Not only do the researchers foretell a major surge in revenue for the British cannabis market but also, they believe that the plant will be legalized for recreational purposes during mid-2021.“Despite being the largest exporter of medical cannabis in the world, the UK currently imports 100% of its cannabis-based medicines prescribed to patients.
The opportunities in the sector remain immense, however. The numbers of consumers are likely to increase as access to medical cannabis improves, most recently evidenced by the licensing of Epidyolex, a cannabis-based medication for epilepsy soon to be reimbursed under the NHS,” stated Prohibition Partners’ co-founder Stephen Murphy.Plus, since the U.K. is initiating a two-year study into the effects of medical cannabis on 20,000 patients, there’s a big chance that the medical market will expand by great means in the foreseeable future.
Project Twenty21 – which is being conducted by independent scientific body Drug Science and is backed by numerous acclaimed medical bodies in the U.K. – will develop the largest body of evidence on cannabis consumption in Europe. Eventually, researchers hope that their evidence will prompt the National Health Service (NHS) to prescribe medical and pharmaceutical cannabis preparations to qualified patients.
It should be noted that “medical cannabis” and “pharmaceutical cannabis” preparations are distinguishable — medical products are doctor-prescribed plant-based or plant-derived goods, whereas pharmaceutical cannabis is developed using pure, licensed and tested cannabinoids. Products that fall into the latter category include Sativex and Epidiolex/Epidyolex by British drugs company GW Pharmaceuticals.
The British landscape is known for being majorly prohibitionist in terms of drug laws. Cannabis in particular has been restricted as a drug since 1928. Despite achieving recent milestone successes with its CBD-focused medical cannabis market, the U.K. is a nation that maintains a heavily-resistant approach to sweeping legalization.
Going back to the medical aspect for a moment, there are only a handful of conditions that currently feature on the list of eligibility criteria for medical cannabis in the U.K. Some examples include chemotherapy-induced nausea, muscle stiffness/spasms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) and rare/severe types of epilepsy. Notwithstanding the restrictions, there’s a good chance that more qualifying conditions will be added with time. A group of cross-party MPs in the U.K. are optimistic that the industry will excel far beyond the medical field. Factually, reports have stated how a number of MPs feel confident that full legalization will ensue within the next 5-10 years.
With a very conservative Government overseeing the U.K.’s many active industries, however, it’s unlikely that a legal market will transpire by next year. Hope prevails for cannabis legalization in the U.K. Aside from the fact that the British economy has dipped over the last few decades – four recessions have occurred in the time spanning between Brentry in 1973 and Brexit – government statistics suggest that 7.18% of British adults have consumed some form of cannabis within the last year.
Based on the country’s population, this works out at around 4.7 million consumers. Politicians and lawmakers may want to take this into account, in addition to concerns regarding the thriving billion-dollar black market for weed in the U.K. Since legalization has the potential to essentially dismantle the black market, the prospects of enacting a broad cannabis law are noteworthy.
While the U.K. cannabis market may still be largely restricted and unregulated, the country is certainly making its mark. A prime example of this was when the first major shipment of medical cannabis was sent to the U.K. in February 2019.
The wait might have been fairly tedious for patients, but the arrival of this shipment meant that patients could start obtaining prescriptions for CBD-enriched products. CBD is short for ‘cannabidiol’. This non-psychotropic cannabinoid has made news headlines over the last few years for its abundant therapeutic properties.
Approximately 11% of adults living in the country are believed to have consumed the naturally-occurring chemical in some form — equivalent to around six million people. What makes CBD an appealing choice in the medical field and particularly, in a restrictive market like the U.K., is the fact that CBD is not a mind-altering substance.
As more research is carried out into this cannabinoid, revenue gleaned from legal medical cannabis sales is sure to skyrocket; analysts may have to re-evaluate their predictions based on the early success of the British CBD market. To put things into perspective, sources said that the British CBD market was valued at £300 million in 2019. If we fast-forward to 2025, this figure could top £1 billion. So long as CBD products do not contain any traces of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – they are considered legal across the U.K
Written and Published By Bethan Bee Rose Weed World Magazine Issue 146