Portugal, known for its picturesque landscapes and rich history, is also becoming a leader in the export of medical cannabis. The country has already exported more than 5.4 tons of the product in the first half of 2023, with Germany, Poland, and Australia being the main customers.
Despite the impressive export numbers, the local market is still in its infancy in terms of cannabis sales in pharmacies.
Read more about the exports of cannabis from Portugal and find the most important cannabis news of the day with the Hemp.im mobile app.2
Portuguese cannabis exports in numbers
In just a few months of 2023, Portugal shipped 1,678 kilograms to Germany, 1,589 kilograms to Poland, and 955 kilograms of medical cannabis to Australia, indicates the latest report published by the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Institute Infarmed. The latest figures are for the first half of 2023.
These figures show the dynamic growth of Portugal’s medical cannabis sector, which appears to be just beginning to reach its full potential. However, despite impressive exports, only 7.86 kilos of cannabis were sold in pharmacies on the Portuguese domestic market, showing that medical cannabis is still rarely prescribed in the country.
Portugal’s licensing process
Portugal’s Infarmed Pharmaceutical Institute has issued 76 new authorizations for cannabis-related activities this year, covering cultivation, production, import, export, and distribution. Also significant is the fact that the institute is currently processing 265 applications in the post-decisional phase or undergoing compliance assessment, demonstrating the growing interest of companies in Portugal’s medical cannabis market.
The future of medical cannabis in Portugal
Analyzing the current development of the market, it is likely that Portugal will become an even bigger player on the international stage in the coming years. Significant investments in the medical cannabis sector and the growing number of licenses and authorizations portend further expansion.
Obstacles and challenges
Despite optimistic export figures, many challenges remain in the Portuguese domestic market. The number of prescribed packages in pharmacies remains low, and product availability is limited to a single dried cannabis flower with 18% THC. This shows that there is a significant gap between market potential and reality.
Why is Poland importing cannabis?
Despite significant amounts of imported medical cannabis, Poland does not have its own licensed cultivation of the resource.
This serious omission in national health policy leads to a situation in which patients have to pay higher costs to purchase medical cannabis, as all products are imported. Domestic production of medical cannabis would significantly reduce prices for patients and make treatment more accessible.
Potential Benefits of Local Cultivation in Poland
Establishing domestic cultivation of medical cannabis in Poland could bring significant economic and health benefits. Reducing purchase costs for patients is just one of many potential advantages. Poland joining the ranks of countries producing medical cannabis would also promote the development of scientific research into its therapeutic use, which could contribute to the development of new, more effective treatments.
In light of the above, it seems necessary to rethink the national medical cannabis strategy. The potential benefits to public health and the economy are too great to ignore.
Education and development
The growth of the medical cannabis market largely depends on the education of both patients and doctors. Greater awareness of the benefits and uses of cannabis can increase interest among doctors and increase prescriptions.
Portugal, with its strategic location and favorable climate, has everything it needs to develop a thriving and profitable medical cannabis sector. With the right regulations and support, the country can not only make a significant contribution to the global market but also offer its citizens better access to cannabis-based therapies. Time will tell how this green business landscape will unfold.