Preparing medicine from marijuana plant.

Medicinal cannabis grows into a global industry

The medicinal cannabis industry is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of growth thanks to increased social acceptance and more open regulatory regimes. The global industry is expected to grow from US$8.28 billion in 2017 to $28.07 billion by 2024.


Cannabis provides patients with welcome relief

Woman hugging child Medicinal cannabis has been used to treat pain control, cancer and various disorders.

Medicinal cannabis has been shown to have a positive impact on patients with a wide variety of illnesses. It has been used to treat pain control, cancer, psychiatric disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. While in the past patients have used marijuana to relieve symptoms, there are now a plethora of new products entering the market that offer patients more products to choose from. For example, cannabis oil or cannabidiol (CBD) is now being used to treat anxiety, stress and epileptic seizures without making patients intoxicated.

 Companies across the world are conducting wide-scale research and development to identify new ways to leverage this wonder plant. Investments into new technologies – from cannabis delivery mechanisms to agtech – are expanding the impact of medicinal cannabis across the global economy. For example, in Israel Cannabics Pharmaceuticals is combining cannabis with artificial intelligence to develop cancer therapies that can be personalised to individual patients. While the Integrated Cannabis Company in Canada has developed a spray infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can be absorbed by patients quicker than tablets or powders.


Across the world, cannabis is becoming more acceptable

Many countries in the world are starting to open their doors to medicinal cannabis. Canada is the second country in the world (after Uruguay) to legalise marijuana. In addition, it allows cannabis products to be exported, tapping into the potential growth opportunities of medicinal cannabis. This has positioned Canada at the forefront of medicinal cannabis research and development. Over 70 companies are currently licensed to cultivate, produce and sell medical cannabis in Canada, a number that has doubled in the past year.

Several countries in Latin America are also moving to cash in on this growing industry including Mexico and Colombia. While many states across the US are loosening their regulatory regimes to allow medicinal cannabis to flourish.


Australia is quickly catching up

Medicinal cannabis plant The Australian medicinal cannabis market could be worth $1.2 billion by 2024.

In February 2016, the Australian government passed legislation that allows cannabis to be cultivated for medicinal purposes. While laws around who and how medicinal cannabis can be used differ across states, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) oversees regulation nationally. Currently quite restrictive, the TGA is moving to increase access to patients in the near future.

In Australia, seven people a day are approved to use medicinal cannabis. Currently worth $18 million, it is estimated that the Australian medicinal cannabis market could be worth $1.2 billion by 2024 and $3 billion by 2028. While the cost of medicinal marijuana is still relatively high in Australia, prices are dropping as more producers enter the market. These changes are paving the way for the medicinal cannabis industry to grow in line with its international counterparts.


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