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Medical Cannabis in Europe – An Opportunity Ripe for Exploitation



Medical cannabis has shown efficacy in trials and is being deployed legally in medical settings as a therapeutic, ranging from palliative care for cancer to appetite stimulant in patients with AIDS-related wasting syndrome. Yet, there is considerable variation in regulatory approaches between European countries.

Across Europe, some countries allow the use of medicinal products containing cannabinoids, while others allow the medical use of unauthorised products or preparations. Some countries have standalone medical cannabis programmes, some allow cannabis product manufacture, some do not allow manufacture but do permit cannabis imports, and some countries allow both.

Even the definition of ‘medical cannabis’ is not fully agreed, and the terminology has grey areas. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical substance found in cannabis that has medical benefits. It is the key ingredient of approved medical cannabis drugs for children and adults with a rare form of epilepsy. CBD oils and supplements are also offered to consumers over the counter, but the efficacy of weaker consumer preparations is unproven. CBD is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. Clinical research on CBD includes studies related to anxiety, cognition, movement disorders, and pain. CBD does not have the same psychoactivity as THC, the primary ingredient in cannabis that ‘gets you high’.

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About the Author

Peter Kohut is Director of Drug Safety at Arriello and an experienced EU QPPV. He began his career in biochemical research, before entering the pharmaceutical industry, where he has worked in clinical trials and post-marketing safety roles.
 

peter.kohut@arriello.com
 
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