Insight: The European Medicinal Cannabis Ecosystem Revealed

4th November 2020

A new report by First Wednesdays offers a unique insight into the European cannabis industry. Nine areas have been presented and analysed, while the Top 150 companies working in the cannabis industry have also been identified.

According to Firstwednesdays, the UK-based network, which is part of Hanway Associates, the report’s aim was “to create a larger, more ambitious map of the medical cannabis value chain, and to explore the continent’s unique market features.”

The report, published yesterday, is a deep dive into nine essential sectors of the industry: genetics and seedbanks, cultivation, testing, research, extraction and purification, formulation and manufacturing, branded medicines, technology, and distribution.

(The Ecosystem. Photo: FW)

With the details on the map, we can understand more clearly how the European cannabis industry works.

One of the most damning findings is that, despite all the changes in methods and legislation, companies must rely on grey market suppliers as the market is still far from the level it should be at now.

As far as cultivation, the report expects North Macedonia and Greece to join Portugal in 2021 as the most significant cultivators in Europe. These countries possess all the required conditions and the resources to be at the centre of the process.

(The report is full of features like this one above. GIF: FW)

From why there are inconsistencies in testing and the fact that companies still have issues with clinical research and process innovation, to what the shortage of contract extraction facilities means in the long run, FW’s report covers everything that’s happening in and around the European cannabis industry.

Trends and Insight

One of the most crucial issues with the cannabis industry is the lack of scientific evidence.

We’ve known now for a while about projects, such as Project Twenty21 and Sapphire Registry.

Hopefully, these initiatives will be able to help to provide evidence alongside the 27 ongoing European cannabis trials.

Steve Hajioff, Director of Public Health in London Borough of Hillingdon, said: “One of the key barriers to research into cannabis-derived medicines in Europe is the lack of standardisation within proposed studies.

“We need a clear target group of patients, a trial using a single product with a single delivery mechanism, and a fixed-dose.

“With this sort of standardisation, researchers will be much keener to do further studies.”

In this map, experts paint a detailed picture of isolated cannabinoids. According to them, it is an “often overlooked product category” as flower or plant extracts are more common in the public.

However, we can understand why isolated cannabinoids are so desirable in countries like Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark.

Reportedly, there are a lot of advantages, such as cost, supply chain, research potential, and therapeutic properties.  It might be the future of the cannabis industry, not just in Europe but globally.

The FW European Medical Cannabis Ecosystem has been launched by First Wednesdays, a network for entrepreneurs and investors in the European cannabis sector.

The report was produced in collaboration with Hanway Associates, and Invest in Denmark, which is part of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It is available to download for FW members. Become a member for free at

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