US Medical Marijuana Market, Forecast to 2022
The medical marijuana market is growing in the United States despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved any medical marijuana products. These marijuana-based products have not yet passed through the rigorous tests and clinical trials required for medical drug approvals in the United States. At the Federal level, marijuana is still considered an illegal Schedule 1 drug. Individual states, however, have laws in place for the legal use of medical marijuana, and in some states, for the use of recreational marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD) products are also legally available in some US states as well as in many other countries. The market generates a lot of money, though much of that money is still considered a black market.
Many business segments are involved with the development of the medical marijuana market. Some businesses directly touch the plant product, such as growers, packers, transporters, and sellers. Other businesses operate in the medical marijuana industry but do not touch the plant product, including legal services, marketing and brand services, data and analytical services, insurance participants and hardware or software companies. The rules differ depending upon where a company stands related to the marijuana plant. This is a very different model than is in place for traditional pharmaceutical products.
The medical marijuana segment of the marijuana industry includes marijuana plant products, CBD products, and synthetically derived products targeting the cannabidiol receptors CB1 and CB2. There are several synthetic products currently on the markets in many countries other than the US. As a matter of fact, in Canada, not only is medical marijuana approved for use on the national level, its use is covered by Health Canada, the national government insurance plan.
In the US, medical marijuana use is increasing, as many more states have approved it for use in several diseases. In addition, hundreds of clinical trials are underway, testing products under the watchful eye of the FDA. It has been reported in states where medical marijuana is approved for use for the treatment of pain, there have reductions in the use of opioid drugs. This decrease in opioid use may prove to be a valuable mechanism to curb the current opioid epidemic in the US.
Legal uncertainty related to the use of medical marijuana has limited big pharma investments into this space; however in non-US locations, companies are more interested in pursuing this area of research and development. Billions of dollars are being generated through this market. It is a growing market drawing keen interest from physicians, investors and regulators. Physician education will be crucial, as these products gain approval, as cannabis was not a part of the medical curriculum of many currently practicing physicians.
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