Over the past few years, the legalisation of medical cannabis has gained momentum around the world. Europe, once seen as a laggard in this area, has also been witnessing some significant developments in the legalisation of medical cannabis. While many European countries have traditionally viewed cannabis as a dangerous drug and its use was strictly prohibited, things are now changing.
One of the most significant developments in Europe in recent years was the European Parliament’s 2019 resolution calling on EU member states to prioritise medical cannabis research and to increase patient access to medical cannabis. This resolution marked a significant shift in the EU’s stance towards medical cannabis and reflected a growing recognition of its potential benefits.
Since then, several European countries have taken steps to legalise medical cannabis or make it more accessible to patients who need it. In 2021, Germany, Europe’s largest economy, passed a law that would allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients for a wider range of conditions, including chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and appetite loss. The law built on 2017 legislation, making it easier for patients to access medical cannabis, as they no longer need prior authorization from health insurance companies. Furthermore, Germany’s government is currently in the process of introducing the legalisation of recreational cannabis across the country.
Similarly, in the UK, the government recently announced that it will review its current policy on medical cannabis. The review will examine the evidence for the medical benefits of cannabis and will consider whether changes should be made to make it easier for patients to access medical cannabis. This move follows the high-profile case of Billy Caldwell, a young boy with epilepsy, whose mother campaigned for the legalization of medical cannabis after it was found to be effective in reducing his seizures.
Other European countries, including Italy, France, and Spain, have also made changes to their laws to make it easier for patients to access medical cannabis. In Italy, medical cannabis has been legal since 2013, and the government recently increased the amount of cannabis that can be grown for medical use. In France, medical cannabis has also been legal since 2013, but access has been limited. However, the government has recently announced that it will conduct a two-year trial to assess the effectiveness of medical cannabis for a range of conditions, including chronic pain, epilepsy, and chemotherapy-induced nausea.
While progress has been made in the legalization of medical cannabis in Europe, there is still a long way to go. Many countries still have strict laws on cannabis use, and access to medical cannabis remains limited in many places. However, the recent developments in Europe suggest that attitudes towards cannabis are changing, and there is growing recognition of its potential medical benefits.
In conclusion, the recent updates on medical cannabis legalization in Europe demonstrate a shift towards more lenient policies. The ongoing efforts to make medical cannabis more accessible to patients are encouraging, and further research will undoubtedly continue to explore the potential benefits of cannabis for a wide range of conditions.