U.S. medical marijuana market to record double digit CAGR over 2018-2024, global industry trends to be driven by a favorable regulatory landscape

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U.S. medical marijuana market has recorded rapid traction ever since medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, a move that gathered immense public and state support leading to the eventual medical marijuana legalization in 31 states of the U.S. Marijuana received medical approval as it was found that certain medicines derived from cannabis can have significant potential in alleviating nausea during the treatment of cancer and AIDS, pain relief, anxiety, insomnia and several other ailments. Medical marijuana is also noted to have less negative and addictive effects on patients, thus making it a more preferred option than several other opioids, making stronger public support stronger for the expansion of the U.S. medical marijuana market.

North East Medical Marijuana Market, By Application, 2013 – 2024 (USD Million)
North East Medical Marijuana Market, By Application, 2013 – 2024 (USD Million)

A recent study looking into the effects of medical marijuana versus opioids found that the rate of opioid prescription has significantly gone down in U.S. states where medical marijuana has been legalized. Authors of the study pointed out that substantial evidence has been gathered to conclude decisively that marijuana can relieve pain in patients with lower risk of addiction and almost no risk of overdose. Against the background of the fact that the U.S. at present is battling with an opioid epidemic, the potential for marijuana policies to curb opioids addiction is receiving increased consideration consequently adding impetus to U.S. medical marijuana market. Studies found that in the states that legalized medical marijuana, opioid prescription on an average dropped by 5.9% annually. It was also found that older Americans are most likely to use medical marijuana, notably a group most afflicted by pain conditions that can be alleviated by marijuana.

It is anticipated that the U.S. medical marijuana market will receive added boost from lawmakers noting such trends. Recently a bill has been passed a House committee that will make it imperative for the U.S. Department of Justice to expand sanctions to cannabis growers in order to provide high quality marijuana for research purposes. At present medical marijuana has not received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and researchers blame the poor quality of cannabis they have to deal with to produce their drugs. Experts are of the opinion that better quality medical marijuana is inevitable for researching the safety, efficacy and medical application of the drug. The Medical Cannabis Research Act is therefore put into place to allow medical marijuana researchers to overcome the fear of legal action and to help in expanding the scope of the drug. The act is in turn expected to expand growth avenues for U.S. medical marijuana market.

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The Medical Cannabis Research Act is expected to lead to better and more widespread research regarding the potential of marijuana as a medical substance. At present marijuana’s medical abilities are limited to pain relief and treating stiffness in muscle resulting from multiple sclerosis. But if subsequent research is able to convince the federal government to acknowledge the medicinal value of marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Administration will have to reclassify marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule II substance leading to further relaxation of restrictions which will be another significant step forward for the U.S. medical marijuana market.

Recently the Drug Enforcement Administration made a demonstration of its decision to stand by its goal to improve resources for the U.S. medical marijuana market when the Canadian cannabis producer Tilray was approved to import marijuana to the United States for medical research. Before this marijuana could be sourced for research exclusively from the University of Mississippi, which is authorized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Studies have shown that legalization of marijuana as a pain reliving drug can reduce the cost and dependence on opioid pain drugs. States that have legalized medical marijuana have already saved $7.46 million in annual Medicaid spending for the federal government besides saving $6.54 million in savings for the states. Experts estimate that such encouraging trends will inspire other states as well as the federal government to eventually legalize marijuana. This inconsequence, would have a commendable impact on U.S. medical marijuana market, that is expected to double in size over 2018-2024 and cross $8 billion by 2024.

Author NameParoma Bhattacharya


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