The global medical cannabis market size was valued at USD 14,441.3 million in 2022. It is expected to reach USD 65,235.9 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 18.24% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, is a herbal medication made from Cannabis plants used to treat a particular symptom or condition, such as cancer, chronic pain, or mental disorders. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol are the two main cannabinoids extracted from this plant that have medicinal uses (CBD). Increased consumer awareness of the health benefits of cannabis and its expanding medical applications, including the treatment of cancer, chronic pain, depression, arthritis, diabetes, glaucoma, migraines, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Parkinson's disease drive the growth of medical cannabis market. In addition, unique product creation fueled by increased R&D activity drives market expansion.
In addition to industry leaders, numerous private and governmental organizations fund research and development of cannabinoids for medical applications. Cannabis has a wide range of medicinal properties that can treat many illnesses. The National Institute of Health (NIH) supported 330 projects and invested USD 140 million in cannabinoid research and development in 2017, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This period saw the expenditure of USD 36 million on 70 projects looking into the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and USD 15 million on 26 projects focusing on cannabinoid research (CBD). The overall size of the medical cannabis market is anticipated to increase during the forecast period due to rising nodal agency spending.
Globally, the population is affected by several chronic diseases, including glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, spasticity brought on by multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Because there is strong evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for many diseases, the demand for cannabis-based medications and the prevalence of these conditions is rising. Additionally, the use of medical cannabis is linked to advantages in disease prognosis. For instance, the US FDA has approved Solvay Pharmaceuticals' (Belgium) Dronabinol (Marinol), a gelatin capsule containing THC, to treat nausea and vomiting brought on by cancer chemotherapy. It is also approved for AIDS patients who are underweight and have a poor appetite. Similarly, the US company Eli Lilly and Company originally developed Cesamet (nabilone) to treat nausea and vomiting through cancer chemotherapy. According to a May 2019 study in the Lancet Oncology journal, the number of patients requiring chemotherapy annually will increase by 53% between 2018 and 2040.
In addition to cannabis' well-established medical benefits, there are adverse effects on health. Heavy or prolonged cannabis use has been linked to addiction, altered brain development, decreased life satisfaction, cognitive impairment, and poor educational outcomes, according to a 2017 study published in the Pharmacy and Therapeutics journal. The most common non-serious adverse event among those exposed to cannabinoids, according to the current study, was dizziness, which occurred 15.5% of the time. Chronic bronchitis and psychosis-related health disorders are also more likely to develop in cannabis users over the long term. It is clear from the available data that cannabis' adverse side effects can have a significant negative impact on the market's expansion.
Most Asian nations prohibit cannabis and the products that are made from it, but there are somewhere some laws that are changing. Some Asian countries are potential markets for CBD products despite the political and social challenges. For instance, the Public Health Ministry decided to reclassify cannabis and change its status from an entirely illegal substance in Thailand in November 2018. Although cannabinoids are being studied, marijuana use is still prohibited in Japan. Additionally, a Medical Cannabis Network article from October 2019 stated that Asia-Pacific is the most attractive market for laboratory proficiency testing due to the region's abundance of CBD oil manufacturers and research facilities. Zimbabwe became the second nation in Africa to legalize cannabis for medical and scientific purposes in April 2018. Like Lebanon, which legalized marijuana for medical use in 2020. By expanding the reach, the shifting legality in Asian and African nations presents a chance for different manufacturers.
The global medical cannabis market is segmented by product type, derivative, route of administration, application, and distribution channel.
Based on product type, the global medical cannabis market is bifurcated into solids, dissolvable/powders, oil, and ointments and creams.
The dissolvable/powders oil segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.88% during the forecast period. There is a growing market for cannabis products that are powdered or soluble due to the increasing number of patients being diagnosed with epilepsy, cancer, anorexia, glaucoma, and Alzheimer's disease. The product can be consumed more quickly if it is in powder form. Additionally, pharmaceutical companies are spending money on research and development to create powdered cannabis-based medications to treat respiratory conditions. Therapeutic Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) dry powder inhalers are being developed by businesses like Aerosol Research and Engineering Labs Inc. (ARE labs) to treat respiratory disorders. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and FDA granted the company a drug license to investigate the effects of combining Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) on the alveolar regions of the lungs.
Another form of a cannabis-derived product is cannabidiol oil. It is a variety of naturally occurring chemicals derived from cannabis plants. The drug is used medically to treat and prevent cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, neurodegenerative disorders, and anxiety. Cannabis oil aids in easing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and reduces the psychological effects of anxiety, insomnia, and stress (PTSD). Additionally, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases are all treated with cannabis oil. In the case of any neurodegenerative disorder, CBD oil application reduces inflammation. The oil also treats spinal cord injuries, chronic pain, and arthritis.
Based on derivatives, the global medical cannabis market is bifurcated into cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol.
The cannabidiol segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.14% during the forecast period. Cannabidiol, or marijuana or hemp, is divided into isolate, broad-spectrum, and full spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD is the complete flower extract; broad-spectrum is the flower extract without THC; the isolate contains just one compound. The medication treats illnesses like epilepsy, anxiety, pain, muscle disorders, Parkinson's, Crohn's, and seizure disorders. This derivative relieves the affected person's symptoms by reducing psychotic symptoms and muscle contraction, preventing the breakdown of brain chemicals, and raising blood levels.
The psychoactive component of cannabis is known as Delta-9-THC and is represented as THC. It is used medicinally to treat multiple sclerosis, lessen neurotic pain, and lessen the discomfort associated with overactive bladder disease. THC is also very effective in treating cancer and nausea. THC-based chemotherapy has shown promising results in cancer treatment and aims to reduce the ability of cancerous cells to spread. These can also be kept for a long time in the fat cells and are highly soluble in lipids. As THC is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, it takes some time for its therapeutic effects to manifest. Cesamet (Valeant Pharmaceuticals International) and Marinol (Banner Pharmacaps, Inc.) are some of the synthetic cannabinoid products on the market. They treat patients with nausea and vomiting brought on by chemotherapeutic drugs used in cancer therapy.
Based on the route of administration, the global medical cannabis market is bifurcated into inhalation, oral, and topical.
The inhalation segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.48% during the forecast period. The fastest-acting and most potent way to consume cannabis is by inhalation. Inhalation produces quick and effective results when used for medical purposes. The two most common methods for consuming cannabis are smoking and vaping. You can employ this technique in an emergency. This technique can provide relief to someone who is experiencing severe pain. Additionally, the market players have created cannabis powder forms that can be inhaled to treat respiratory issues.
Patients with cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and nausea are increasingly turning to the oral route of administration. The demand for the oral route of administration of cannabis has increased with the introduction of cannabis capsules and tablets. Cannabis taken orally lasts longer in the body and does not need to be taken as often as other medications. Orally ingested cannabis drugs cause the liver to convert THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more psychoactive than THC. Cannabinoids' ability to bind to fats slows their absorption in the gut and extends the time it takes for them to be metabolized to more than 30 minutes. Because of this, this method of administration takes more time than the alternatives but has a more prolonged effect on the body.
Based on the application, the global medical cannabis market is bifurcated into pain, neurological, and mental health management.
The pain management segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.26% during the forecast period. Cannabis medicine is becoming more and more popular as a result of its ability to reduce pain. Industry participants have introduced tablets, ointments, creams, and lotions for external use. The National Academies of Science claim that cannabis and cannabinoids effectively treat adult patients with chronic pain. Additionally, cannabis-based products are well known for treating the pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, neuropathic pain, and cancer. Neuropathic, cancer, and inflammatory pain are additional categories under which pain management is divided. Cannabis is used to treat inflammatory pain, and the effects are impressive. Cannabis reduces arthritis pain and inflammation and can treat other types of chronic pain, according to the European Journal of Pain.
Neurological disorders are frequently treated with cannabis-based products. The Americas Academy of Neurology (AAN) claims that cannabis is a highly effective and risk-free treatment for people with nervous system and brain diseases. Patients with neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Tourette syndrome, cervical dystonia, and epileptic seizures can receive treatment from it. However, a few adverse effects of cannabis therapy include nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, weakness, and spasticity.
Based on the distribution channel, the global medical cannabis market is bifurcated into hospital, retail, and online pharmacies.
The hospital pharmacy segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.43% during the forecast period. Many hospitals worldwide keep their internal pharmacies to assist patients and their families. The sales of medical cannabis products are being supported by the rise in both independent and chain hospitals. The American government strongly supports the medical use of cannabis. More than 37 states have made cannabis use for medical purposes legal. This is boosting the hospital pharmacy's sales of cannabis-related products. Government agencies monitor hospital pharmacies, which follow government regulations and provide medications at a reduced cost.
It is a facility where generic and specialty medications are prepared, distributed, stored, and sold. Due to their expanded care services, availability around the clock, and adoption of IoT technology to serialize the products, retail pharmacies are attracting more attention. Retail pharmacies also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI)-driven processes to enhance customer service, reduce operating expenses, and maximize stock availability. Additionally, retail pharmacies keep track of their customers' past purchases to help them with future purchases. These pharmacies keep the doctor's prescriptions of patients receiving specialized medications and treatments; this allows the store managers to keep track of their inventory and place the appropriate drug orders.
America Dominates the Global Market
By region, the global medical cannabis market is segmented into America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa.
America is the most significant revenue contributor and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.79% during the forecast period. By controlling the most critical portion of the global medical cannabis market in 2020, the Americas dominated it. This significant market share results from legalized medical marijuana in 37 US states and rising product adoption. The market in this region is expanding due to the presence of major manufacturers, the rising use of medical cannabis products, and an expanding number of businesses engaged in R&D activities. North America and Latin America are the two divisions of the Americas.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 52.81% during the forecast period. Europe dominates the global market for medical cannabis. As more European nations legalize cannabis for medical use, it has overtaken the Americas as the second-largest market. Furthermore, the region's significant manufacturing and research activities are anticipated to expand the market there. Multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety are among the illnesses whose prevalence is rising and are driving the market growth in Europe. The region's medical cannabis market is anticipated to grow faster due to the widespread use of medical cannabis products for pain management in European nations.
Asia-Pacific is anticipated to grow at a promising rate due to many cancer patients and government healthcare reform initiatives during the forecast period. It occupies the third-largest spot in the world's medical marijuana market. Most Asia-Pacific nations do not accept cannabis-based products in any way. However, some doctors are prescribing cannabis-based products because the number of epilepsy cases is rising. For instance, a recent national survey of 976 people with epilepsy in Australia found that 13% of the parents were managing their child's seizures with illegal cannabis extracts. China recently legalized the production of CBD products, including its extraction. The goods are not sold in China; instead, they are exported. The Yunnan provincial government and Public Security Bureau gave the first factory in China to extract industrial plants the go-ahead. It is the biggest nation in terms of size, population, number of businesses, and other variables. Chinese companies' entry into the medical cannabis market has increased the market's potential for growth and expansion.
The Middle East would show the least market growth due to some significant factors, such as inadequate regulations and lower adoption rates. Due to strict government policies, it is anticipated that the region will experience limited growth. Due to the adverse effects of cannabis and the illegal use of marijuana, the market is also expected to grow slowly. Few Arab nations in the Middle East have strict laws governing the use and handling of cannabis-related products. As a result, there needs to be more room for market expansion in these areas over the forecast period.
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