By / May 13, 2024

Medical Cannabis Boom in the UK: Patients, Demand, and Consumption Reach Unprecedented Heights

The UK is the main driver of the European medical cannabis market growth, with sales higher than expected due to “unusually high” consumption volumes per patient.

By the end of 2024, for instance, 62,960 patients are expected to use medical cannabis in the UK, generating €240 million (£205 million) in sales. This means the average patient will spend €3,811 (£3,261) on medical cannabis per year, or €318 (£272) per month.

For comparison, in Germany, where the medical cannabis market and patient population are the largest in Europe, the average patient will spend €1,563 (£1,342) on medical cannabis per year, or €130 (£112) per month.

The average prices paid per gram of dried medical cannabis flower or per milliliter of oil are lower in the UK than in Germany, so the main factor contributing to this staggering 144% difference in spending is an even larger divergence in consumption volumes.

These findings were published in a new report by Prohibition Partners, a British data and cannabis intelligence firm.

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Why Such High Levels?

Lawrence Purkiss, a senior analyst at Prohibition Partners, commented on the potential reasons for high consumption rates in the UK compared to other European countries: “The comparatively high per-patient consumption rates in the UK are, at least in part, a consequence of the fact that the market is entirely private and self-paid. Financial incentives within the system are oriented towards high prescription volumes, unlike in Germany where at least 50% of patients have their medical cannabis costs reimbursed as part of public healthcare.”

Stephen Murphy, cofounder and CEO of Prohibition Partners, added: “The findings of the 9th edition of the European Cannabis Report highlight an intriguing trend: UK patients consume more than their counterparts in other European markets. Since the legalization of medical cannabis in 2018, private companies have sought to improve options and accessibility for patients. However, due to supply chain restrictions and costs, patients often opt for volume over frequency. This underscores the need to continue efforts to streamline regulations and improve financial accessibility to ensure patients’ needs are adequately met.”

Market and Patient Explosion in the UK

The total number of medical cannabis patients in the UK is also expected to skyrocket over the next four years. By 2028, the number of medical cannabis patients in the UK is expected to increase by 124% to about 141,000 patients (from about 63,000 at the end of 2024).

In comparison, in Germany, the growth rate is only 24%, with about 346,000 medical cannabis patients expected by 2028 (from about 278,000 at the end of 2024).

Together, Germany and the UK will account for 77% of all medical cannabis sales and patients in Europe by 2028 (Germany 50%, UK 27%).

Private Clinics, the Growth Engine

Although medical cannabis was legalized in the UK in November 2018 and is technically available by prescription through the National Health Service (NHS), patient access to medical cannabis in the UK is almost exclusively facilitated by private dispensaries.

These clinics are supplied by major medical cannabis distributors like Curaleaf Laboratories. Jonathan Hodgson, CEO of Curaleaf Laboratories, stated about the growth in sales and patient population in the UK: “The beginning of 2024 has already shown a tremendous level of growth, with a record number of British private dispensaries now providing medical cannabis treatment at lower consultation costs than ever before. More formulations and dosage forms have appeared on the market, such as lozenges and liquid vaporization cartridges, expanding the treatment options that specialists can prescribe to patients.”

These findings on medical cannabis were published in a new report – The European Cannabis Report: 9th Edition – by Prohibition Partners. A version of the report can be downloaded for free on the Prohibition Partners website.

About Prohibition Partners

Prohibition Partners is a data, media, and technology company operating in the legal cannabis industry and is based in the UK. It provides the industry with specialized information and data analytics.

For any additional comments, more information about the report, or data visualization, please contact Mike Hoban –

(Featured image by MART PRODUCTION via Pexels)

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