Cannabis, also known as “marijuana” colloquially, is an annual flowering plant
from the family Cannabaceae, which is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The plant has psychoactive (affecting the mind) properties and is usedfor industrial, recreational, and medical purposes.
The three most common species are Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
- Cannabis sativa grows in hotter climates with longer daylight and lots of sunshine; as such, it was originally seen in countries near the equator, such as Colombia, Mexico, and Thailand. Sativa has been described as having an energizing or uplifting effect when consumed, due to its primary psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- Cannabis indica originally hails from the environmentally hostile Hindu Kush mountains in Central Asia, and nowadays, it is generally found in countries 30 degrees north of the equator, such as in Afghanistan, Turkey, and Morocco. To protect itself from the harsh environment, Cannabis indica produces resin, a sticky organic substance very dense in cannabinoids, that makes indica psychoactively very powerful when consumed. Unlike sativa, indica has been said to have a muscle relaxing and sedating effect.
- Cannabis ruderalis that originated in Russia is not as common as Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa. One big difference between ruderalis and other species is that ruderalis plants are autoflowering; they automatically go into the flowering state as time passes (generally in 21-30 days) and continue to flower throughout the year till they die, while the other species require a change in the amount of sunlight they get in the day to enter the flowering phase. Ruderalis is less psychoactive in nature and thus it is not used for recreational purposes. Instead, Cannabis ruderalis wild strains are used to create hybrid species. Hybrids are crossbred varieties of cannabis having the genes of both indica and sativa. These hybrids are referred to as indica dominant, sativa dominant, or balanced, depending on the characteristics
- THC and CBD are the two main cannabinoids that are found to have medical importance. It has been observed that THC increases appetite and reduces nausea, and it also helps with muscle-control problems.
- CBD also decreases inflammation and pain and can reduce epileptic seizures; it can be used to treat addictions and mental illness
- Studies conducted by Bastyr University, in Washington, and University of Colorado in Aurora found that cannabis helps patients with Parkinson’s disease by reducing pain and tremors and improving sleep.
- Market research firm Evaluate Pharma expects epidiolex to be one of the 10 biggest new drugs launched in 2018, with sales of around $1 billion by 2022
- Cannabis derived drugs are increasingly being considered as a replacement for opiods becasue they are less-addicitve and possess no risk of overdose.
- Chronic pain was the largest segment of medical cannabis applications in 2015 and accounted for 39.6% of revenue. The highest growth in applications, however, is expected to come from the cancer segment, with a CAGR of 18.2% over 2015-2025
- According to New Frontier Data, the U.S. medical cannabis market, valued at $4.67 billion in 2016, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12%, to reach $13.22 billion by 2025.
- Cannabis is the most popular recreational drug in the US. The most prevalent and quickest method of cannabis consumption is through smoking. Vaporizing (vaping) is very similar to smoking, with the difference being that vaping heats the marijuana rather than burning it. Cannabis is also consumed through drinks, food, and sprays.
- Various reports have suggested that the younger generation is moving from alcohol to cannabis mainly owing to safety, cost, and health. Cost wise, the average cost of alcohol exceeds the overall cost of cannabis
- Currently, recreational cannabis is legal only in a few countries; however, with increasing liberalization, the recreational cannabis market is expected to grow in the long term. One of the main reasons for governments to legalize cannabis is that it can generate huge tax revenue
- Legal marijuana (recreational) sales are expected to reach $10.86 billion in 2025, growing at a CAGR of 21% from 2016 to 2025. Public support for legalized recreational marijuana continues to rise in the US. In a survey conducted by New Frontier Data, 63% of the respondents expressed that the federal government should legalize cannabis, and 86% agreed that cannabis has valid medical uses.
- Canada is the first G7 country to make cannabis legal for recreational purposes, and the legislation is expected to be in full effect on July 1, 2018. According to Deloitte Canada, the market size of illegal Canadian recreational cannabis is $4.9-8.7 billion, with a potential to increase to more than $22.6 billion with legalization
Risks in the Industry
- The governments and regulators in many of the jurisdictions that are exploring new cannabis laws have yet to fully establish the framework for how and where cannabis products can be sold.
- Cannabis companies must abide by all the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which they operate, which can vary from country to country. Should laws change, the company may be required to adjust its operations to comply with the law or risk having legal action taken against it. In some cases, this may mean ending its business.
- Government-mandated pricing and taxation on cannabis products may also pose a risk to the success of a cannabis company. Cannabis products, especially those intended for recreational use, should be priced below their black-market value in order to attract consumers. If the government prices cannabis products too high, or if black market dealers undercut prices of products available in stores, the companies growing and selling the products may not be able to sell enough product to make a profit.
- Canadian Licenses: Cultivation – Sell to: other licenced cultivators or processors, Processing – Sell to: Other licensed cultivators or processors, Sale to Public