Medical Cannabis Market is the future of pharma industry Market Analysis

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Increasing approval of medicinal cannabis products and growing research and development activities in the medical cannabis market are expected to support the growth of the market. For instance, in March 2017, German parliament signed a law allowing the medicinal use of the cannabis plant by allowing the healthcare professionals to prescribe the medicinal cannabis products to the patients suffering from severe health issues such as chronic pain, vomiting, and nausea. Moreover, excessive cannabis consumption is known to induce tachycardia and can increase the risk of heart attack, notably for users with existing heart disease or arrhythmias and thus it is restraining growth of the market.

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According to the U.S., marijuana was the most widely used drug globally in 2014 with around 183 million users. Such a large user base makes it highly lucrative taxable opportunity, which is influencing various governments worldwide to initiate studies regarding legalization of the drug for medicinal use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is conducting research on cannabis (marijuana) to treat numerous diseases and conditions such as autoimmune disease, pain, inflammation, seizures, mental disorders, and substance abuse disorders. Regulatory compliance is a key factor that influences cost, quality, and safety of cannabis (marijuana) medicines, as well as the capacity for the manufacturers in the medical cannabis market to be responsive, scalable, and innovative.

According to the Medical Marijuana, Inc., an estimated size of the legal marijuana industry in the U.S. was US$ 7.1 billion in 2016 with increase of 25% Y-o-Y. In 2016, 28 states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medicinal purpose with some more gearing up for votes on the recreational use of marijuana. California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts states in November 2016, voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The accelerated pace of legalization of cannabis (marijuana) in the U.S. has attracted the attention of global investors in the medical cannabis market. However, lack of formulation of a comprehensive law pertaining to medical marijuana in some states inhibits patient access to the drug.

Expansion of medicinal cannabis product by various manufacturers is a prominent factor fueling market growth

Medicinal cannabis manufacturers in the U.S. are actively focusing on expansion of their medicinal cannabis product business. For instance, in July 2016, Insys Therapeutics, Inc. received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for dronabinol oral solution- Syndros, an orally administered liquid formulation of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid dronabinol. The Syndros is indicated to be used in the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss among patients suffering from AIDS and those suffering from cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Moreover, in January 2018, Apria, Inc. entered into a distribution agreement with Cannabis Wheaton, to supply 60,000 kilograms of the cannabis products between January 2018 and February 2022. The agreement allows Aphria to expand its brand through Cannabis Wheaton’s strong distribution network in Canada.

Potential medical cannabis markets other than the U.S. include Canada, Israel, Australia, and Spain. Mexico is also in process to consider the legalization of cannabis. For instance, in February 2016, Medical Marijuana, Inc. launched the HempMeds Mexico- a CBD hemp oil product in the Mexico. With the launch of HempMeds Mexico, company is intended to expand its cannabis business in the Latin America, by establishing the labs, manufacturing, sales and distribution facilities in the Mexico, in coming years.  Other economies are expected to consider legalization of the drug, once conclusive evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of cannabis are obtained through extensive research. Czech Republic, in 2013, legalized medical marijuana for patients suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, chemotherapy induced side effects, and other severe disease indications. Moreover, the law allows patients with marijuana prescription to purchase the medicinal marijuana from pharmacies. However, cultivation of marijuana in not allowed in the country, and thereby suppliers need to import medicinal cannabis from other economies. This implies that there is a huge potential for growth of the medicinal cannabis industry in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

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In Middle East, among other GCC economies, only Israel has approved the medical cannabis product. Furthermore, in Africa region, Lesotho and Malawi (South Africa) government has granted the license for medicinal marijuana in 2017. For instance, In June 2017, Verve Dynamics, a Cape Town-based alternative medicines company received license from the Government of Lesotho to cultivate the cannabidiol (CBD) medicinal cannabis. Verve Dynamics intends to cultivate and produce medicinal cannabis products and export these product in South Africa.

Some of the key players operating in the global medical cannabis market include BOL Pharma, Tilray, Medreleaf Corporation, Aurora Cannabis, Inc., Canopy Growth Corporation, Insys Therapeutics, Inc., Aphria, Inc., MGC Pharmaceuticals Limited, GW Pharmaceuticals, plc, and Medical Marijuana Inc.

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