CBD – A properly Belgian Experience

The first page of results following a Google search of the words “CBD Belgium” barely contains any relevant entries – with a generic mass production CBD Oil the only remotely connected return to my search. This might mislead one into thinking that Belgium has been slow in changing its attitude on the cannabinoid and its possible applications. However, a closer empirical look on the level of the users revealsĀ  an entirely different landscape, with rather promising signs for the future.

CBD is one of the many cannabinoids potentially present in Cannabis Sativa L., or Hemp.

Initially differentiated from the notorious THC on account of its lack of psycho-active effects, it is now widely researched around the globe for its many medical or para-medical applications. Not necessarily valued for curative properties, CBD is most often perceived as an enhancer of quality of life in long-term conditions such as epilepsy, insomnia, intestinal disorders and others.

Belgium is an interesting case whereby there is a significant difference between top-down and bottom-up approaches to the issue. Whereas littleĀ is being done on an institutional or representational level, from a grassroots point of view CBD is experiencing a trending evolution in both perception and use. Talking with members and administrators of Medical Cannabis (Social) Clubs, one is surprised to discover the number of them that openly talk about their, invariantly positive, experience with CBD. Demographically the spread is also very interesting with a high of users being seniors, as well as an interesting mix of socio-economic background. From a Health Economics standpoint, the apparently random reach of CBD as a treatment across demographic and socio-economic frontiers is testimony of its efficacy (at least in terms of perception of a shared normative aspect).

Medical Cannabis Clubs & Grassroots Organisation

The most interesting aspect of the ‘grassroots’ developments is the de-facto organization of the community on very high ethical and methodological standards. The former is clearly visible by the internal organization of the social groups themselves – conscious of quality of CBD on offer as well as putting a lot of effort creating a spontaneous peer-to-peer assessment procedure. Members openly sharing their experiences (more or less efficient on particular conditions/uses etc.) offer a horizontal network of knowledge propagation. On the methodological front – a number of organizations have sought services of the HEMPLAB Institute for the elaboration of a quantitative health assessment procedure of their members.

Further to the above, there is a shift in perception originating from a small but growing number of health professional. Their shift is first and foremost characterized by their active seeking of information regarding CBD on an informal level. On a more advanced level there’s been registered requests for the official testing of CBD in clinical contexts*.

Cannabinoids – Possible Developments

The conclusion drawn by the observations made over the last 12 months, points towards a substantial shift in perception in the country. Although, the findings are difficult to quantify on an absolute level, what is particularly positive for the future is a real shift in attitude, that will undoubtedly result in substantial changes of policy and use. There is a definite turn towards an evidence-based approach to CBD, greatly distanced by the over-dramatized frenzy that has surrounded Hemp and its cannabinoids over the past decades.


*At time of publication, the author(s) is aware of two such efforts. For any further information please contact us.