The global medical sphere has increasingly come to recognize marijuana for its medicinal qualities, making the medical marijuana market one of the fastest growing industries of recent times. The World Health Organization agrees with the legalization of medical marijuana citing that some of the derivatives of marijuana have potential health benefits and therapeutic value for seizures. Besides, cannabinoids can soothe symptoms of nausea in the advanced stages of illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.
U.S. Medical Marijuana Market, By Application, 2013 – 2024 (USD Billion)
Cannabinoids have also been found to be advantageous for the treatment of glaucoma, and asthma besides being an appetite stimulant, antidepressant, anti-spasmodic and anticonvulsant. With such recommendations from world renowned health organizations, marijuana is increasingly being legalized for medicinal use across the globe adding immense traction to the medical marijuana market that is predicted to record a momentous CAGR of 36% over 2018-2024.
U.S. medical marijuana market was valued at $3,549.0 million in 2017 and is projected to grow multi-folds over the ensuing years owing to increasing medical marijuana applications. As of 2018, medical marijuana has been legalized in 31 states in the country as marijuana has found an expansive role in the treatment of medical conditions such as neurology, HIV/AIDS, cancer, seizures, nausea and muscle spasms. Public opinion has also added impetus to the legalization of medical marijuana use as marijuana is considered a mild form of intoxicant. However the large penalties that the U.S. penal system lays on the trade of marijuana is adding to the black-market money that has been syphoned to organize violent crimes. Penalty of marijuana has also led to the explosive growth of American incarcerated population and the general American public has come to view it as a misuse of taxpayer’s money.
Support for legalization of marijuana in U.S. rose from 12% in 1969 to 31% in 2000 to 64% in 2017. Polls in the U.S. have demonstrated that more than the freedom of using marijuana, the citizens want to legalize and decriminalize the use of the substance as a major section of the population considers it to be safer than alcohol and believes that the government has failed to deal with a drug crisis that is more dangerous than benign marijuana. Recently a legislation has been filed to legalize the use of medical marijuana by military veterans to let government doctors assist them in accessing the drug. The legislation is being filed on the basis that marijuana is a far less harmful alternative when compared to other opioids used for pain management. Such legislations if passed will further strengthen the pain management medical marijuana market that has been estimated to have accounted for USD 5,481.1 million in 2017.
As the North American medical marijuana markets mature and become saturated with similar legalization of marijuana for medical use having been registered in Canada as well, Europe will attract the attention of pioneering companies who are looking to break away from the licensing and competition of North America and establish a profitable medical marijuana market for themselves. With a population of nearly 740 million, Europe exceeds the population of Canada and USA combined and experts opine that the population factor in tandem with government-subsidized healthcare facilities will help Europe become one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the world. Countries across Europe have begun to show a more tolerant attitude towards marijuana. While the attitude towards the drug remains varied across the continent, most governments have undertaken a progressive approach which began in 2003 with the legalization of medical marijuana in Netherlands. At present 22 countries in Europe have legalized medical marijuana while six member states of EU have announced a similar move in the first half of 2018.
An instance of the prominence of medical marijuana market in Europe can be cited through Germany which legalized cannabis for medical use in early 2017 and where the medical marijuana industry is projected to register a 49.5% CAGR over 2018-2024. With a population of nearly 80 million and a healthcare insurance system where full coverage is offered for cannabis patients, Germany is expected to emerge as Europe’s most important medical marijuana market. The position of the country as an economic leader and at the top of the business rung will bode well for the growth of the medical marijuana market on a global level.
Incidentally, a tender is being conducted around the country to issue the first cannabis cultivation licenses and it calls for 10,400 kg of medical marijuana to be cultivated domestically over four years. Such a strong outlook has encouraged notable Canadian medical marijuana companies like Aurora Cannabis, Cronos Group and Canopy Growth to flock to the lucrative medical marijuana market of Germany.
Marijuana is lately also finding greater acceptance as an ingredient in lotions, creams, gels, and ointments. Driven by the rising popularity of the drug across a slew of medical applications, the global medical marijuana market is expected to take a major leap from being a $7 billion market in 2017 to a $55 billion market in 2024.