Europe’s CBD market is surging, thanks to new rulings which legalize the sale of cannabis and hemp-based products without or with sufficiently low concentrations of THC. While the laws are not yet uniform, countries like Italy and Switzerland and moving ahead into the local and global market for this increasingly popular product and its derivatives. Who will emerge Europe’s leader?
The economic boom generated by CBD products across Europe and the world is undeniable. The demand for such products is ever-increasing and comes from various fields: pharmacology, cosmetics, nutrition.
The leading market nevertheless remains CBD cannabis, which offers high levels of cannabinoids with absolutely no residual presence of THC.
Most of these products can be found in the CBD shops that are cropping up all over Europe, which offer quality hemp that is totally free of THC but at the same time very rich in cannabinoids.
Europe and the blooming Hemp Market
The cultivation of hemp for commercial or research purposes is allowed in more than forty-seven countries and among the main hemp producers are important countries such as the United States, China, Canada, France, and Chile.
It follows that the reality of hemp is absolutely concrete and constantly changing. It is revealed that figures do not lie, or at least that they are the best solution when describing a reality.
Suffice it to say that, on a global scale, 65,000 hectares of land are used for this type of cultivation in North America. In Europe, there are already more than 50,000 hectares planted with hemp. This makes a total of more than 175,000 hectares worldwide.
As a result, the hemp industry, still on a global scale, has exceeded 3 billion and 350 million in 2018, and in 2020, 5.5 billion. Forecasts for 2025 speak of a 25 billion euro scenario.
CBD in Europe after the Game-Changing Legalization
In the European Union, hemp production is particularly developed in France, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Romania. Almost 50% of the total European crop is produced in France alone.
Many European countries have for years harbored laws strongly opposed to hemp cultivation. Although France and Finland, among others, have never abandoned hemp as fabric, fiber, and building material.
As we know, hemp crops are also the source of all those CBD-based products that are currently attracting so much attention around the world.
The CBD component is now in demand, as mentioned, in cosmetics, drinks, medicines, oils, and food products.
All these products are not in violation of Europe’s regulations because they are rich in cannabidiol, CBD, but absolutely low in THC, which is the molecule that creates the psychoactive effect.
In Europe, this market has exceeded 475 million euros and reached 32% of the global CBD oil market.
European Laws on CBD and Cannabis are Hardly Uniform However
EU laws accept the production, marketing, and industrial use of all products derived from cannabis or hemp, as long as the THC content does not exceed 0.2%.
Unfortunately, even in this context, EU laws are not very common; they often conflict with national standards, generating a lot of short circuits.
Here is a list of standards in the main European countries:
In Switzerland, in particular, not a part of the EU, the possession, consumption, and sale of CBD are allowed even with the presence of fairly high THC levels (1%).
In Germany, however, legislation is still in flux and currently, the prescription of cannabis (with the presence of THC) as an analgesic is widely accepted, but only for seriously ill patients. And, severity is becoming a particularly questionable concept: THC-free CBD products, like elsewhere in Europe, such as hemp oil, are sold in shops without prescription.
In Denmark, hemp products are only legal if the THC content is less than 0.2%, in accordance with European legislation.
Although France is Europe’s largest producer (and one of the world’s largest producers) of hemp, its laws on the subject are rather convoluted. Only hemp fibers and seeds can be traded and used industrially. As a result, it is impossible to extract CBD in the country and France buys CBD from other countries in Europe, notably Switzerland.
This little French dilemma, which also conflicts with European regulations, means that in French shops there are CBD-based products (with the European THC limit below 0.2%) that are sold freely. But on the labels, it is not allowed to declare the health benefits that the product itself gives.
Italy among Europes leaders in CBD
In Italy, there are now more than a thousand dedicated shops, vending machines, etc., within a sector that, alone, generates more than 40 million euros per year. In Italy, Europe’s new legislation has opened its doors to the production of food, cosmetics, biodegradable raw materials, and innovative semi-finished products like biomass.
In the peninsula, there is an effort to return to the ancient splendor that made Italy one of the largest hemp producers in Europe, and the world in the early ’40s of the 20ᵉ century.
The consumption of legal CBD is constantly increasing among Italians who love the effectiveness and speed with which this molecule releases its relaxing, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects. The psychoactive element is therefore completely eliminated, or almost, and light hemp makes a great contribution to the treatment of painful and often disabling pathologies.
The help that CBD offers in the resolution of psychological problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as in the resolution of eating disorders, is also highly appreciated.
(Featured image by Roberto Valdivia via Unsplash)
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