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The Business of Marijuana: Find Statistics and Industry Data

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Global Marijuana Industry Trends

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves and flowers of Cannabis Sativa. Use of marijuana has been illegal in most countries since the late 1930s because of its psychological and physical effects. Possession and consumption of marijuana in limited quantities has been decriminalized in some countries across the globe. Legal consumption of marijuana can either be in the form of medicine or for leisure purposes (as a recreational substance).

Chemically marijuana is composed of over 400 chemicals. Of these over 60 compounds are unique to the cannabis plant; these are called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the key psychoactive cannabinoid. Cannabinoids act like neurotransmitters that transmit chemical messages between nerve cells. Neurotransmitters affect brain areas involved in pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination and sensory and time perception. Thus marijuana has the potential to disrupt normal brain functions.

The global marijuana market is expandingas an increasing number of countries are legalizing the drug’s use.

Key vendors in the cannabis market include Medical Marijuana, Greengro, MedMen, Terra Tech andGW Pharmaceuticals.

Key Segments

By use the legal marijuana market can be broadly segmented as medical and recreational.

Medical marijuana refers to the use of cannabis and its components as medical therapy to treat diseases or to reduce disease symptoms. Marijuana has the potential to cure or provide relief from certain ailments without any harmful effects. The two main cannabinoids from marijuana weed that are of medical interest are THC and cannabidiol (CBD).THC-based medications are mainly used for increasing appetite, reducing nausea and for muscle control problems.CBD does not affect the mind or behavior. It is generally used to reduce pain and inflammation, to control epileptic seizures, and to treat mental illness and addictions.

Recreational consumption of marijuana produces psychoactive and physiological effects, which leads to its use as a recreational substance. THC is the main mind-altering chemical responsible for its intoxicating recreational effects. Recreational forms of marijuana are most widely available as hand-rolled cigarettes or pipes. 

Regional Market Shares

Major regions for the marijuana industry include the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Americas is the largest legal marijuana market globally.

  • The North American legal cannabis market is estimated to reach about $20 billion in the near future, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of about 30%. Legalization of medical marijuana is the key driving factor for the marijuana market, especially in the USA and Canada. Currently, the possession of marijuana is illegal at the federal level in the USA but is legal at the state level in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska and some others. The unstable regulatory framework and highly fragmented supply chain are considered key challenges for the market in this region in the future.
  • In South America, medical marijuana is legal only in some countries. Possession of marijuana is legal in Uruguay. Its possession is legal in Colombia too but only in small quantities. Cultivation of marijuana has been legal in Chile since 2015.

European countries have shown stable or declining levels of cannabis use, but it is reportedly increasing in Eastern Europe. France, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania are the largest markets in Europe. Indoor cultivation of marijuana has become very attractive to cannabis growers across Europe. Currently, about ten European countries import medical cannabis from the Netherlands.

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