Medical Marijuana Market Overview
The global medical marijuana market is expected to witness considerable growth during the forecast period on account of the rise in the number of countries legalizing the consumption of the drug for medicinal purposes and its potential application in the treatment of several chronic diseases. Increasing awareness among healthcare providers and individuals regarding the benefits of medicinal marijuana will also support the market growth in the future. Moreover, growing investments (by both private and public organizations) in research associated with the use of marijuana for medical purposes are expected to continue driving the market growth.
Marijuana for medical purposes can be used in the form of buds, oils, and tinctures. Of these, the market for oil-based marijuana is expected to witness the fastest growth, globally, during the forecast period. Adequate dosage and proper route of administration of cannabinoids are the major areas of concern for healthcare providers. The health benefits of using cannabis oil or hemp oil over smoking marijuana have led to the increased demand for oil-based marijuana for medical applications, thereby contributing to its market growth.
On the basis of application, the medical marijuana market is categorized into chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, cancer, and others. Among these, chronic pain is the largest application area of medical marijuana and is expected to continue leading the market during the coming years. This can be attributed to the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases and rising awareness among patients and healthcare providers regarding the potential benefits of using marijuana for relieving chronic pain.
Based on route of administration, the medical marijuana market is categorized into inhalation, ingestion, and topical. Of these, inhalation was the largest category in the global market in 2017, owing to the wide availability of the product for consumption through smoking and vaping and its high bioavailability through inhalation.
Globally, North America was the largest revenue generator in the medical marijuana market in 2017, because of high investments in research and development activities to investigate the potential medical applications of cannabinoids. Moreover, Canada and some states of the U.S. are planning to legalize the usage of marijuana for medical as well as recreational purposes. For instance, by October 2018, Canada plans to legalize the drug use by adults. As per the current medical regime associated with cannabis, patients are allowed to access cannabis under the authorization of their healthcare providers. Thus, government initiatives to spread awareness about the medical application of marijuana and legalize its usage are expected to contribute to the market growth in the near future.
Medical Marijuana Market Dynamics
Some of the major factors contributing to the growth of the medical marijuana industry are the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, growing investments by public and private organizations to conduct research focusing on the medical applications of marijuana, and rising awareness among healthcare providers toward the usage of the drug.
Several research projects have been funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to explore the possible benefits of marijuana in different medical conditions. Furthermore, increasing consumption of cannabinoid-based drugs approved for certain disorders is promoting the market growth. For instance, nabiximols (Sativex), a mouth spray containing two cannabinoids of marijuana, that is, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), is used for treating muscle control problems caused by multiple sclerosis. Nabiximols is approved in the U.K., Canada, and several European countries, and studies are being conducted for the drug approval in the U.S. as well.
Medical Marijuana Market Competitive Landscape
Players, through the acquisition of other similar companies, are strengthening their position in the medical marijuana market. For instance, in October 2018, Wuhan General Group [China] Inc. (Wuhan) announced that it signed a letter of intent to acquire MJ MedTech Inc. (MedTech), a manufacturer of medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) products. Through this acquisition, Wuhan expects to gain from MedTech’s insights, market value, and advanced technology to establish its presence in the U.S., Canadian, and European markets and strengthen its position in the medical CBD product business.
Some of the other key players in the medical marijuana industry are Canopy Growth Corporation, Aurora Cannabis Inc., Medical Marijuana Inc., GW Pharmaceuticals PLC, Aphria Inc., CanniMed Ltd., Tilray Inc., and Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc.