Recent and upcoming legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, due to its anti-spasmodic and anti-proliferative properties, has led to the growth of the industry globally. Increasing investment in R&D and clinical trials in the coming years will further lead to robust growth in the global medical cannabis market.
As per the latest research report by IMARC Group, titled “Global Medical Cannabis Market Report and Forecast 2019-2024”, the market reached a value of US$ 13.4 Billion in 2018. Medical cannabis is obtained from the Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica plants. It contains three major active compounds namely, Cannabidiol (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabinol (CBN). As compared to recreational cannabis, medical cannabis has a lower amount of THC and a higher count of CBD which provides therapeutic advantages to patients and aids in retaining anti-psychotic effects. This plant-based drug is gradually gaining acceptance in the pharmaceutical industry as it helps in improving the mood, immune function and vascular health. It is now used for curing anxiety, nausea, depression, chronic pain and side effects of multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD and Parkinson’s disease. It is prescribed in different forms like vapor, oral capsules, topical solutions, creams and balms.
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In comparison with other treatment alternatives, cannabis is safer and has less severe side effects. Owing to this, it is utilized in combination with other treatments to either combat side effects or to increase their effectiveness. For instance, it is used along with traditional opioid painkillers which enable patients to reduce the frequency and dosage of opioids gradually. Additionally, a steadily aging population is playing a vital role in spurring the demand for medical cannabis as geriatric patients are more likely to develop chronic diseases and require frequent physician visits. Apart from this, manufacturers are investing in R&D activities and clinical trials to develop safer forms of cannabis. Further legalization of medical marijuana is anticipated to drive the market growth globally. As a result of these factors, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 22.9% during 2019-2024, reaching a value of US$ 44.4 Billion by 2024.
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- There are three major species including Sativa, Indica and Hybrid. Currently, Indica cannabis accounts for the dominant share. It has a higher yield as compared to sativa with a higher content of CBD which is utilized in the treatment of insomnia and for relieving headache, body pain and migraine.
- On the basis of derivatives, the market has been divided into Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD) and others. Presently, CBD is extensively used for medical purposes as it comprises low levels of toxicity when compared to THC.
- Medical cannabis finds application in the treatment of cancer, arthritis, migraine, epilepsy and others. Amongst these, cancer represents the most popular application area of this drug, holding the largest market share.
- On the basis of end uses, the pharmaceutical industry represents the leading segment, accounting for the dominant share. It is followed by development centers and other end uses.
- The market has been segregated based on different routes of administration like vaporizers, smoking, topicals, oral solutions and capsules, and others. At present, oral solutions and capsules dominate the market.
- On the geographical front, Europe, Latin America, North America, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific are the major markets, wherein North America represents the leading region. It has been further categorized into Canada and the United States, whereas Europe is classified as Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
- On analyzing the competitive landscape of the industry, it has been found that GW Pharmaceuticals, Aurora Cannabis, Inc., Canopy Growth Corporation, Aphria Inc., MedReleaf Corporation, Cara Therapeutics, Inc., Insys Therapeutics, Inc., United Cannabis Corporation and CanniMed Therapeutics, Inc. are major players.
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