cannabis market research

October 2023 Brief

We discuss effects of the war in the Israeli marketUK CBD regulatory changes, the future of the French medical scheme, and the legislative process in Germany.

Canada celebrates 5 years of legalisation amidst sector consolidation, while momentum in the Australian and UK medical markets perseveres, and the Dutch recreational experiment readies for launch later this year.

Studies on the ‘entourage effect‘ support greater effects of full-spectrum cannabis and highlight that aroma is influenced by minor compounds other than terpenes.

We hope you enjoy this month’s cannabis brief!


1. Regulatory updates:

The outbreak of the war in Israel has significantly affected the cannabis industry: employees have been killed or kidnapped by Hamas, while pharmacies experience personnel shortages due to military conscription and the reluctance of Arab workers to leave their neighbourhoods:


The UK government has recently permitted electronic prescriptions of cannabis medicines, which can significantly ease prescribing process and speed up patient access in the growing market:


In France, medical cannabis will finally be included in the social security budget for 2024 while the current experimentation with under 3,000 patients will likely be extended for 9 months:

  • €10M have been allocated for the transition period before generalisation of the scheme expected from the beginning of 2025.
  • Medical cannabis products will require authorisation on a case-by-case basis for 5 years.
  • Discussion is ongoing regarding the ‘last resort’ status of medical cannabis, the extent of reimbursement, and the inclusion of inhaled forms of medical cannabis (dried flower).


Legislative process of the cannabis bill including clubs and personal cultivation is ongoing in Germany, but second phase consisting of commercial pilot projects is in jeopardy:


Federal cannabis reform in the United States is gaining bipartisan support after a new proposal by republican representatives would establish a federal licensing system, regulate interstate commerce and implement a 3% federal cannabis excise tax.


The roll-out of adult-use pilot projects continues in Switzerland, while federal authorities move to ban the latest synthetic cannabinoids (HHCP, THCP, H4CBD…):


Supply gaps in the Italian medical cannabis market continue 8 years after the military took control of domestic production due to inefficacious State intervention:


New Zealand will allow sales of medicinal CBD without a prescription. CBD medicines that obtain approval will be considered a pharmacist-only medicine in doses of under 150mg a day.


The European Directory for the Quality of Medicines has pre-published the Cannabis flower monograph ahead of its publication in the European Pharmacopoeia expected in January 2024.


Malta has granted the first 2 licenses to cannabis user associations allowing them to start growing and selling cannabis legally.


The South African government opens a new public consultation of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill with the intention to decriminalise cannabis cultivation and use.


In Morocco, the national cannabis agency tasked with overseeing legal cultivation of cannabis has appointed a general director.


Brazilian state of Espiritu Santo approves the supply of CBD medicines free-of-charge.


Fiji eyes medicinal cannabis cultivation to diversify tourism-focused economy.


Infographic of the month: 5 years of Canadian legalisation


2. Market and Company Updates:

Canada celebrates 5 years of legalisation with legal sales taking over 70% of the market, while pre-rolls continue to increase market share and now represent 1/3 of all legal sales. However, sector consolidation continues with further layoffs and diversification to adjacent categories despite the positive trend of medical cannabis exports:


The positive momentum of the Australian medical market perseveres with 304,000 patient approvals through authorised prescribers in the first half of the year, more than double the amount last year. However, there are concerns regarding the prescription of high-THC products for anxiety.


In the United Kingdom 24 tonnes of medical cannabis have been imported this year, a 300% year on year increase over the 8 tonnes imported last year, as domestic growers get ready to commence commercial operations.


The Netherlands gets ready for the launch of its recreational supply chain experiment later this year:


Germany braces ahead of limited legalisation next year:


Canndoc launches 11 new flower strains in Israel despite delays caused by the war, while Israeli tobacco importer GlobrandS enters cannabis space with acquisition of distribution assets.


In SwitzerlandAstrasana launches high-THC medical cannabis flowers in collaboration with German distributor Cantourage.


Pharmaceutical company Neuraxpharm expands collaboration with Israeli cannabinoids producer Panaxia to launch products in the Swiss and Czech markets.


In IrelandSativex is now available for reimbursement through the publicly funded healthcare system for multiple sclerosis patients. A high-THC oil by Althea has been approved for reimbursement for CINV patients, after its balanced formulation received approval in July.


Portugal has exported 5.4 tonnes of cannabis in the first half of 2023, primarily to Germany, Poland and Australia. Blossom Pharma has obtained EU-GMP Part I and Part II for cannabis manufacturing.


New flower varieties have been launched to the Polish medical market, including Headband by TilrayBienville by ODI pharma, and Shishkaberry and Gorilla Glue by CanPoland.


Luxembourg risks another medical cannabis shortage as Danish Schroll Medical substitutes Tilray as the main supplier after winning a public tender.


Colorado has reached $15 billion in legal cannabis sales since it legalised in 2014. However, low prices and oversupply have caused a fall in revenues in recent quarters.


California cannabis operators file lawsuit against Cookies for the sale of hemp-derived intoxicating cannabinoids such as Delta-8 THC.


Medical cannabis pilot program in Denmark recovers its growth after the reintroduction of full-spectrum oils.


3. Science updates

Novel electroencephalogram study demonstrates faster onset of full spectrum cannabis compared to isolates, suggesting the ‘entourage effect’ is responsible for psychoactive effects over THC %.


A UCLA dentistry-led team has received a $5M federal grant to explore the use of synthetic cannabinoids in managing pain associated with oral cancer.


Avextra has announced the initiation of ‘Belcanto’, a phase II clinical trial with 170 oncology patients in palliative care that will receive a 10THC/10CBD extract.


Tilray supports a Spanish clinical trial on the use of medical cannabis for Glioblastoma.


Study in the Netherlands confirms overall satisfaction among medical cannabis patients.


Australian BOD Science inks deal with UK-based Brains Bioceutical to supply API for its CBD-based insomnia medication planned to be launched as an OTC in Australia.


Hemp as a cover crop in New Zealand vineyards found to have benefits such as enhanced soil health, improved crop yield, and additional income for farmers.


$2 million research project in Cornell University hopes to develop hemp varieties for U.S. latitudes.


Brazil is preparing to establish its first genetic bank of cannabis.

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