Review: Cannabis Europa 2019

Scientists, businesses and politicians backing the legalisation and regulation of medical and recreational cannabis took the stage of Southbank Centre this week, with Tilray, Supreme, and Clever Leaves among the companies launching CBD-based products and services in Europe

Modern Medicine | Health Tech panel chaired by Saul Kaye - iCAN and starring Pamela Hadfield - HelloMD; Everett Knight - Valens Gustavo Escobar - Clever Leaves; Tom Powell - Jacana

Cannabis Europa 2019 didn't disappoint in its second year running. Organised by Hanway Associates, the two-day conference saw 1,200 guests—scientists and politicians—and over 80 journalists discussing the latest in the regulatory front for medicinal cannabis products. Held at the Southbank Centre in London on 24-25 June, the event comprised 18 talks starring 80 speakers covering a gamut of topics: culture and society, business and investment, policy and politics, and science and health.

"I enjoyed making the case for legalising cannabis and for regulating it in a rational way; moving away from a ludicrous criminal market we have at the moment," said Sir Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk and Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, to the event organisers.

Norfolk MP, Sir Norman Lamb

For Lamb, European politicians have to catch up with the "overwhelming support" the legalisation of the medicinal and recreational cannabis have among the public.

Navdeep Dhaliwal, CEO of Toronto-based Supreme Cannabis, not only agrees with Lamb in the growing support for the plant and its associated products, he believes the industry's inherent complexity requires education and a platform to foster developments.

"The rapidly evolving CBD markets in the UK and Europe present compelling investment opportunities given the promising environments for new health and wellness companies to establish differentiated brands and capture meaningful market share," Dhaliwal said commenting on the launch of Supreme Heights, a cannabis investment platform to be based in London.

Supreme Heights is set to target opportunities in the UK and Europe's CBD health and wellness space through strategic investments. The business initiative will provide support services to differentiated high-growth health and wellness businesses with focused brands and premium CBD offerings.

Supreme CEO Navdeep Dhaliwal

Headquartered in London, Supreme Heights will be headed by Patrick Morton as CEO. Morton has more than a decade of capital markets’ experience. He is the co-founder of Cannabis Invest UK, the nation's cannabis investor conference. Morton has spent the past three years building a network of local and global cannabis and CBD companies, developing relationships with the UK and Europe's institutional and high-net-worth investors and fuelling discussion and action around global cannabis investment opportunities.

Cannabis industry insight

US and Canadian companies are ahead of the curve in the cannabis industry. Their activities in markets where both recreational and medical legislation is up and running have given them the know-how to overcome the red tape of regulators and trade. Attending the conference, Cannada's Tilray and Supreme, and Bogota-based Clever Leaves took to the stage to share insights into the cannabis business. They also leverage the buzz surrounding the event to launch new products and services to Europe.

Tilray, the Canadian pharmaceutical cannabis company, said that it imported medical cannabis oral solutions in bulk into the UK from its Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-certified facility in Canada. This export allows Tilray to provide authorised UK patients in need with a locally maintained supply of medical cannabis oral solutions.

Catherine Jacobson
Tilray's VP Regulatory & Medical Affairs

A global company, Tilray specialises in medical cannabis cultivation, production and research, offering a range of GMP-certified cannabinoid products to patients, pharmacies and researchers across the globe.

Six Tilray's medical cannabis products are approved for medical use in the UK and can be made available to patients with medical cannabis prescriptions obtained through private practice or the NHS. Last September, Tilray imported its 2:100 medical cannabis oil for a pediatric patient in need in the UK. The product was supplied via a government-approved special access programme following the UK Home Secretary’s historic announcement that declared prescriptions of cannabis-derived medicines legal for patients with an exceptional clinical need.

At Cannabis Europa, Catherine Jacobson, Tilray's VP Regulatory & Medical Affairs, commented on the regulatory hurdles for manufacturers of medical cannabis products. She said: "Any company that has a solid product, that can convince regulators that the product is consistent, reliable, and free of contamination—it's a safe and reliable product—can navigate the regulatory [journey] fairly easily."

On the heels of the Cannabis Europa talks, Tilray said it anticipates supplying a variety of cannabidiol (CBD)-dominant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-dominant, and balanced oral solutions for patients looking to use medicines derived from cannabis.

CBD for wellbeing

Colombian company Clever Leaves introduced to the UK market its ESENIA, a CBD brand for women. The range made its debut at Cannabis Europa with ESENIA ESSENTIAL, which is said to be the only hemp-based wellbeing Colombian product for women to be commercialised in the UK.

A CBD-based spray product, ESENIA ESSENTIAL imparts a feeling of relaxation and calm. Its dosage begins with a sublingual spray every eight hours for 15 seconds. Progressively, the number of sprays, under the tongue, increases every 8 hours until reaching the expected results.

Alvaro Sanchez, Global Head of Consumer Products at Clever Leaves commented: "This achievement ratifies the huge steps that the Colombian industry is taking and is proof of our compliance to the demands and high standards of the European market."

Clever Leaves claims to be the first and only company to have exported cannabis for research to Canada, and that talks are underway to export to Germany.

Europe's role in the international cannabis market is in its infancy, yet these launches and the discussion Cannabis Europa has started herald a promising outlook.

Companies