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Новости/Аналитика

Prospects for the development of the market for therapeutic properties of hemp in Europe

11.03.2020

Unlike North American investment companies, which, sensing a new highly profitable niche, immediately invested significant financial resources in Canadian or American hemp startups, despite the market being insecure with the necessary regulatory framework, European investment capital waits by analyzing market processes for in order to invest very carefully. Including, therefore, the European market for the use of therapeutic properties of hemp will develop much less rapidly than similar markets in Canada or the United States.

With a solvent population of about 720 million people (twice as many people as in the USA and Canada combined), Europe has the opportunity to become the largest legal market in the world using the therapeutic properties of hemp. What prevents the rapid development of this sector of the economy and what are the prospects for the development of this segment of modern hemp breeding, we will try to understand this material.

Unlike Canada’s national hemp breeding development program (primarily related to the use of hemp's therapeutic properties) or the increasing annual number of administrative-territorial units in the USA that regulate the possibility of using the plant’s properties for medical purposes and, accordingly, legal consumer / patient markets that are formed accordingly , in Europe at the moment there is no clear understanding of the need to create a common market using exclusive biolo the hemp plant’s properties for treatment or recovery. In the EU, the hemp market is extremely fragmented, both for individual countries and for product categories (food, cosmetic products, biologically active / feed additives, medical hemp, pharmaceutical preparations based on plants, etc.). Given the uncertainty in Europe, analysts identify markets for three categories of goods that are gradually forming on the territory of the European continent:

• “health products” - an environment aimed at consumers who are looking for ways to heal / treat the body with products that have significant therapeutic properties (food, cosmetics, biologically active / feed additives). For the manufacture of these products, exclusive properties of therapeutic therapeutic hemp leaves and inflorescences with a powerful healing effect on the human body or its pets are used. It can be stated that at the moment in Europe there is no recognized leader of this market or efficiently functioning brands known to consumers of all countries of the continent despite the fact that there are a number of companies in certain EU countries that are actively working in this direction;

• “medical hemp” - plants with a high content of tetrahydrocannabinol or products made on a plant basis of various derivatives of therapeutically active parts (leaves and inflorescences) made in the form of oils, tinctures, extracts, extracts, etc. This market segment is limited by certain provisions of the current European legislation, therefore, at the moment, a number of non-European companies use this legal conflict in order to gain a dominant position in the growing market of patients using these products;

• “pharmaceutical hemp” - refers to drugs that contain extracts of cannabinoids of plant or synthetic origin, which have undergone a full cycle of clinical trials and are licensed as a medicine (Sativex - UK, Bedrocan - Netherlands, etc.). 

In the market of “pharmaceutical hemp” the total dominance of products of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world is assumed. This is due to the fact that the clinical trials necessary to carry out the relevant procedures, involving obtaining the status of a medicine, take a rather significant period of time, and, among other things, predetermine the significant financial resources necessary for undergoing the above procedures. That is why even having very effective technologies and methods for using the therapeutic properties of hemp, startups possessing them are not interested in spending significant financial resources (up to $ 20 million) and a time period of 5-7 years to enter this extremely expensive market. Among other things, even after going through a rather expensive and lengthy procedure for obtaining the status of a pharmaceutical product, they face a sales problem, which in turn makes them dependent on retail and wholesale chains or distributors.

At present, Germany is the largest consumer market (about 60 thousand patients) actively using “medical hemp”, and Canadian hemp firms or their European subsidiaries, which do everything possible to prevent German companies could go out and gain a foothold in the domestic market. Another major consumer market for medical cannabis is France, which has only initiated a test program to study the use of the therapeutic properties of hemp, but its duration is about 2 years. The dominance of Canadian and Israeli companies in the European hemp market implies high risks for investors who wish to invest various types of resources in this sector of Europe’s rapidly developing economy.

Commentary by the Ukrainian Technical Hemp Association

The above factors leave a field for activity for companies that manufacture “health products”. Despite the fact that this market has grown significantly over the past few years in Europe, it is still extremely fragmented and unstructured. There are a huge number of brands on the market that represent products of various quality, price and availability. A significant number of companies present in this market are small in size and have a halo of distribution of the manufactured product range. 

The main reason for the passivity of European investors in this market is an imperfect legal framework that does not clearly regulate the legality of the use of technical cannabis leaves and inflorescences or their derivatives in food, cosmetic products, dietary supplements or feed additives, or other commodity items in this market segment. Without clearly defined rules of the game, it is difficult to determine how the company will develop and scale its activities and whether investors will be able to recoup their investments at least in the medium term. 

Unlike North American investment companies, which, sensing a new highly profitable niche, immediately invested significant financial resources in Canadian or American hemp startups, despite the market being insecure with the necessary regulatory framework, European investment capital waits by analyzing market processes for in order to invest very carefully. Including, therefore, the European market for the use of therapeutic properties of hemp will develop much less rapidly than similar markets in Canada or the United States.

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