UK set to become Europe's 2nd biggest Medical Market.

Liz Filmer
24 Aug 2023

The UK is set to become Europe's second-largest medical cannabis market, according to a recent report, with a gain in patient numbers predicted by the end of 2023. Industry critics have indicated that 2023 will immensely increase the amount of patients accessing medicinal cannabis legally in the UK.

According to a recent report by Prohibition Partners, the UK is positioned to become the second-largest European medical cannabis market by the end of 2023 as both patient numbers and demand continue to rise. Analysts predict that patient numbers will exceed 47,000 by the end of this year.

Whilst no official data exists on the precise number of patients currently prescribed cannabis in the UK, professionals believe the figure is 25,000 to 30,000. There are also more than 20 clinics that privately prescribe cannabis. 

Analysts calculate the annual number of products prescribed during 2022 is around 76,600. This is a 90% increase from 2021.The report, examining the perspective of the European medical cannabis industry, states that demand continues to grow across the continent and that sales are projected to top €550 million by the end of 2023.

UK and Germany are identified as the two countries representing an 'overwhelming majority' of demand. They are anticipated to obtain the bulk of the new supply, although Germany is still leagues ahead of the UK.

Though some imported products are re-exported to different countries, the gap between imports and sales to pharmacies in Germany and the rest of Europe is vast. Whilst a 'diverse range' of products is available to German doctors, 'inconsistent labelling' and 'confusion' when an overwhelming variety of products exacerbates prescribing.Reports have also stated that many products do not even reach patients before arriving at their expiration date.

Meanwhile, the UK's product supply remains 'inconsistent' at best. The database MedbudWiki tracks the availability of products in real-time to build a picture of the current supply. Using this database, from 202 total products, only 88 were listed as available when the data was collected. 

The report also partially addresses the 'red tape' involved in the importation process. This requires prescribing doctors to write a letter of 'anticipated demand' for products to be imported in bulk. The letter is estimated to cost around £1,000 a time and administration fees for one sole use. The doctor must state the specific quantities of named products for prescription purposes. 

Also discussed is the present cost of products in the UK. The price is crucial for UK patients due to the ongoing limited access to cannabis on the NHS, with the majority having to fund the treatment privately. However, the average product price slowly decreases as market demand and competition increase.

In the report, the price per millilitre of cannabis oil or "extract" fell to between £1.76 and £10.56, while flowers were in the range of £5.28 to £12.32 per gram. Most products came in at a cost of between £7.39 and £8.45 per gram.

More on this topic from Soft Secrets:

Free Medicinal Cannabis for Epileptic Kids on NHS Waitlist

UK Medicinal Cannabis, the Future

Where Can You buy Medicinal Cannabis?

Liz Filmer