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Explosive Growth in Medical Cannabis

by Charles Wu

According to a recently released report by Hexa Research, the U.S. medical cannabis market is projected to reach $19.48 billion by 2024. The projected growth is driven by the increasing acceptance of medical advantages associated with cannabis, particularly for patients dealing with cancer, diabetes and chronic pain. Symptoms and conditions that may be treated with cannabis products include cancer, HIV, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis. Chronic pain accounted for 46 percent of the U.S. cannabis medical market share in 2017.

In 2015, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act permitted hemp cultivation, transport, distribution, delivery, and testing of medical cannabis at the state and local level. Since then, federal investment in medical marijuana research saw a significant shift and numerous institutions have been undertaking studies to explore its therapeutic potential. The growing demand for the herb is anticipated to add pressure on states and regulatory bodies for additional legalization efforts across the country. This is expected to lower entry barriers for new players over the next few years. The other industry trends include price wars, competition, integration of technology and innovative product development.

A major portion of the legal cannabis industry consists of Cannabidiol products. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis. The CBD market is growing rapidly in recent years due to CBD's medical benefits. Sean Murphy, the Founder and Publisher of Hemp Business Journal, said: "Hemp Business Journal estimates the total retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. to be at least $688 million for 2017. We estimate the hemp industry will grow to $1.8 billion in sales by 2020, led by hemp food, body care, and CBD-based products. The data demonstrates the hemp industry is growing quickly at 22% five year CAGR and being led by food and body care products, with Hemp CBD products showing a 53% AGR."

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