Four key learnings from Cannabis Europa Paris
On Friday 8th February, Cannabis Europa Paris brought together leading voices on medical cannabis from the worlds of politics, pharmaceuticals and industry to discuss developments in France and across Europe.
We would like to thank all the generous sponsors; Aurora, Canaccord Genuity, Zenabis, Bedrocan, Shimadzu, EMMAC Life Sciences, Valens, Dragonfly CBD, Phytoplant Research, Be Cann, Grow Biotech and MGC Pharma, for making this historic event possible.
We are also incredibly grateful to all the wonderful speakers who brought their expertise to the table, as well as everyone who attended in order to take part in the conversation.
For those who were unable to attend, here are a few of the take-home messages from the event.
1.Political Cannabis Reform is Brewing in France.
After the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM) recommended legalising medical cannabis in December 2018, attendees spoke about the pressure mounting politicians to change the law.
(Pierre-Yves Geoffard and Dr. William Lowenstein)
Despite revisions to cannabis laws last year – the first since 1970 – patients are being penalised in France. As a result, they are self-medicating or crossing borders to be treated in more liberal climates. This is unsustainable and most politicians and French citizens know this.
Dr William Lowenstein, from SOS Addictions, said on the Political Substance panel: “The ANSM’s decision is good, it is going to be the official way to move forward on therapeutic cannabis. However, if the range of conditions is limited to several neurological conditions and terminal illnesses, I don’t think we can follow the success of the Canadian example.”
Political discussions are ongoing and mostly behind closed doors, but a proposal is expected in parliament over the coming months. However, civil unrest and the current political climate in France may delay discussion in the short term.
2. High Demand for a European Resolution
The European cannabis market is growing at an exponential rate and big cannabis players from overseas are looking for local partners and entrepreneurs. However, cannabis companies are being limited by local regulation and cross-border trade laws. Europe is undoubtedly a key expansion market for the big LP’s but the lack of a singular market may be a stumbling block to growth.
(Fleta Solomon, Little Green Pharma)
A resolution in the EU Parliament could provide a major impetus for European governments to change their legislation. For cannabis companies, it would provide a clear singular set of rules to adhere to.
Tjalling Erkelens, CEO of Bedrocan added: “We need harmonisation – the process could go quickly in the next few years. The EU and the European Medicines Agency are working on this. The main issue is, how will regulators provide access?”
(Stephen Murphy, ECH)
(Tjalling Erkelens, Bedrocan)
3. The Nature of Cannabis: A Complex Chemical Structure
Cannabis is unlike any other pharmaceutical drug, containing more active ingredients than the majority of authorised medicines on the market. But the 113 cannabinoids have been under-researched despite the numerous therapeutic qualities they have exhibited.
There is a lack of longitudinal data from clinical trials of cannabis, due to its history as a controlled drug but anecdotal evidence of medical cannabis is pushing legislation forward and giving increasing numbers of patients access by legal means.
Pierre-Yves Geoffard from The Paris School of Economics said: “Integrating patients is instrumental for a therapy that enhances well being and quality of life. We need patients because when it comes to cannabis we don’t use the indicator of mortality but the quality of life. No way a politician can push this without grassroots, public organisation.”
The fact that cannabis is so diverse in its chemical makeup, and that patients are sometimes able to self-cultivate or self-medicate, means that medical cannabis use is hard to monitor and regulate.
There is also a lack of education of physicians on the subject. In fact, patients are often educating their doctors on the medicinal properties of cannabis, which is something unprecedented in the pharmaceutical world.
(Rosemary Mazanet, Rikke Jacobsen, Catherine Jacobson)
The pharmaceutical world is beginning to harness the therapeutic value of medical cannabis. European patients are expecting a more regulated and formulated product than their North American counterparts, and due to the complex web of regulations around product quality and manufacturing processes, medical cannabis companies will have to adapt to new set of standards as the European market develops.
4. A Market in the Making
Cannabis Europa has proven there is an intellectual appetite for the European cannabis industry. Speakers, sponsors and attendees have created an atmosphere conducive to political and social change. But this is just the beginning.
In 2019, our inaugural European Cannabis Week will feature political, science, health, investment, cultural and networking events, all focused on the emerging cannabis market. Spearheaded by our flagship conference, Cannabis Europa London on June 24th and 25th, the event will bring together the brightest minds in the industry to find solutions to uniquely European issues.
More information on European Cannabis Week is coming soon but tickets for Cannabis Europa London are now live. Book early to avoid disappointment.
This April, Prohibition Partners Managing Director Daragh Anglim will be speaking at Manetch’s Cannabis Business France conference in Paris. Buy your tickets here and use promo code prohibitionpartners for 30% off your ticket price