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During the early 2010s, Colorado served as a role model for the potential success of cannabinoid commerce in the United States. Similarly, Europe now looks to the U.S. as an example of how to integrate cannabinoids into the daily lives of consumers.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that the European Cannabinoid marked hasn’t grown as rapidly as expected. Nevertheless, where there is growth, there are opportunities. Despite the delays, the European cannabinoid market is steadily expanding.
Where it began
The UK was among the first major European powers to embrace CBD. Following suit, Germany, considered the de facto leader of the European Economic Area (EEA), also approved the use of hemp-derived cannabinoids.
Subsequently, the entire EEA began accepting CBD products with less than 0.2% THC, with a few exceptions. However, some EEA countries, such as Norway and Sweden, prohibit CBD products that contain any detectable THC. The European market is complex, spanning diverse cultures and environments, and characterized by ever-changing national boundaries.
CBD remained in a gray area in Europe for several years after its acceptance in the U.S. in 2014. The UK witnessed the emergence of CBD products around 2016, though they were often sold outside existing regulations due to limited interest from law enforcement agencies. While the UK approved medical Cannabionids for certain conditions in 2018, comprehensive cannabinoid legislation is yet to be established.
The first nation to allow Cannabinoids
On the other hand, the EU has moved forward independently of the UK. Bulgaria became the first EU nation to officially allow general-market Cannabinoids commerce in 2019, followed swiftly by other EU countries. The current situation does not represent a definitive ruling on CBD in Europe. It’s likely that the European Commission considers CBD too complex to fully regulate or ban.
Acceptance and openness
Individual member states are managing the current situation adequately, but significant changes may occur once the U.S. takes a decisive stance. Data from Prohibition Partners, a cannabis market analyst, indicates that Europeans are cautiously exploring the CBD market. While Europeans haven’t fully incorporated CBD into their daily routines like Americans, there is evidence of increasing acceptance and openness to trying CBD. To encourage Europeans to use CBD more frequently, it is crucial to highlight its benefits, emphasize its superiority over competing products, and stress its affordability. Normalizing CBD in Europe requires making it a familiar and reliable product that aligns with European values.
A friendly and respectful approach is key
Understanding and respecting the European market is essential. Europeans have a strong sense of cultural pride and may not appreciate being lectured by those from newer societies. When promoting CBD to Europeans, a friendly and respectful approach is key. It’s worth noting that cannabis has historical roots in Eurasia, and Europeans have been cultivating and using cannabis extracts for millennia. Reminding Europeans of this heritage can help them feel a sense of ownership and connection to CBD.
In conclusion, while CBD is gaining ground in Europe, it still has room to grow. By addressing cultural nuances and effectively marketing the benefits, the European CBD market can expand further, bringing it closer to the level of adoption seen in the United States.