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Cannabis/Marijuana Market Size, Share and COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Flowers/Buds and Concentrates), By Application (Medical, Recreational (Edibles and Topicals), and Industrial Hemp), and Regional Forecast, 2021 – 2028

Report Format: PDF | Latest Update: Jan, 2022 | Published Date: Nov, 2021 | Report ID: FBI100219 | Status : Published

The global cannabis market size was USD 20.47 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with hemp witnessing a positive demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the market exhibited a stellar growth of 50.92% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 28.266 billion in 2021 to USD 197.74 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 32.04% in the 2021-2028 period. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to the market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Cannabis is a genus of a flowering plant, and its use dates back thousands of years, with consumption-based on recognized and accepted therapeutic and medicinal benefits. The social and spiritual utilization of it is also well-documented. C. sativa, indica, and ruderalis are three dominant species. Most varieties grown today are hybrids that exhibit features of two or more of these principal species.

Moreover, marijuana legalization is gaining momentum around the world. This momentum is driven primarily by the increasing recognition that the product may have a range of legitimate medicinal benefits and therapeutic applications. It is the most widely cultivated, trafficked, and consumed drug worldwide, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Increased Consumption of Medical and In-house Cannabis amid COVID-19 to Boost Market Growth

Behaviors related to marijuana use may not be severely disrupted during prolonged periods of social isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, leading to its persisted demand throughout the pandemic. Many states declared that the use of medical marijuana is permissible, and medical marijuana dispensaries are being declared as essential businesses. Others, such as California, Oregon, and Colorado states in the United States, have allowed dispensaries and recreational stores to remain open despite their stay-at-home orders. In Europe, as concerns about COVID-19 increased and countries began implementing lockdown measures, consumers stocked up their products. The value of products sold through Cannazon, a marketplace for hemp products, reached approximately $5.04 million between January and March 2020, representing a volume of 1.6 metric tonnes. A similar increase in sales was seen in the U.S., with consumers also stocking up in anticipation of government-mandated shelters. Thus, the rise in stockpiling and positive demand among consumers, coupled with an increase in regions recognizing the product as an essential product for recreation and medicine, is anticipated to further propel the market growth in the upcoming years. 


Enabling Policy and Regulatory Relaxation to Support the Cannabis Market Growth

The coronavirus pandemic provided opportunities to support the industry and relax regulations. In 2020, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act and presented it to the Senate, including the SAFE Banking Act. This law is designed to allow banks to offer services to marijuana companies in states where it is legal. More than fifty countries have regulated the cultivation, production, or sale of the product and its derivatives for medicinal purposes as of 2020. However, a growing number of jurisdictions have established legal frameworks for the non-medicinal use of adults, including social purposes, religious and cultural purposes. Furthermore, formalizing activities related to cultivation, production, and trade of the product in a (legally regulated) legal market will facilitate access to information and increased consumption among consumers, which is expected to provide opportunities for the market in the upcoming years. 


Product Innovation, Differentiation and Availability of Hemp-infused Edibles to Drive Market Growth

C. Sativa consumer product companies and retailers are rapidly evolving to meet the needs of the “mainstream” marijuana consumer. The consumers are no longer limited to smoking flowers with joints, pipes or bongs, but have their choice of an increasing variety of products, including concentrates, infused products, and topicals. COVID-19 related concerns drove consumers towards newly developed substitutes like edibles and other infused products. Consuming the product by inhalation allows THC to enter the lungs and enter the bloodstream rapidly, causing the user to experience the associated mind-altering effects much more quickly than ingesting an edible product. Advancements in scientific development and product innovation have begun to overcome the drawbacks of edibles like the inconsistent effect of marijuana after consumption. Newer forms of infusion products include topical or sublingual products designed to be absorbed under the tongue or through the skin.

Candies, chocolates, and beverages remain popular hemp-based edibles in the market. The onset of euphoric "high" effect by such edibles takes one to two hours, but the effect lasts longer than that resulting from inhaling smoke or vapor. Nonetheless, product innovation and packaging-related modification are expected to play a pivotal role in boosting the sales sentiments of edibles and are projected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period.

Rising Demand for Cannabis for Medical Applications to Augment Growth

Medical hemp has gained a lot of worldwide attention in recent years. The use and acceptance of medical C. Sativa continue to grow, as evident by an increasing number of countries and states permitting its use for specific medical indications. Countries such as Germany, Finland, Israel, and Canada have taken bold steps in allowing medical marijuana use, owing to its therapeutic benefits. Additionally, more than 25 states in the U.S. have changed their laws to legalize canabis for medical use. In California and Florida, the product has been successfully used by mainstream doctors to treat AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, and even cancer. The ongoing research and clinical trials for several marijuana-based medications are further expected to fuel the market’s growth in forthcoming years.


Regulations Related to Use of Hemp in Various Countries to Impede the Market Growth

Marijuana is nominally identified and authorized for medical use in certain areas of North America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and South America. But it is still prohibited in most Middle Eastern and Asian countries. In emerging countries like Japan, India, and Korea, the consumption, possession, purchase, or sale of the product is prohibited by the law and is treated as a criminal act. Thus, the legal landscape on the products in these regions is expected to hinder the market achieve its full growth potential. Furthermore, side effects like cognitive impairment associated with its use as a medicine are also expected to restrain growth.


By Type Analysis

Flower Bud to Remain the Most Consumed Product Type, with Concentrates Anticipated to Gain Traction in Foreseeable Future

Marijuana flower, or “bud,” is the most popular consumable product in the global marketplace. Typically a "bud" contains approximately 15% to 30% THC, about 0.1% to 1% CBD and nominal levels of other cannabinoids. Cannabinoids boiling temperatures are lower than the temperature at which flower burns; this is the concept utilized in vaporizers, which are gaining rapid popularity - sophisticated vaporizers are being developed to maintain temperatures that target the activation of specific cannabinoids.

Concentrates (primarily includes include CO2 oil, butane hash oil or “BHO,” shatter, wax, live resin, budder, kief, ice water hash, and rosin) are witnessing exponential growth in the global (legal) market, owing to the favorable demand dynamics, huge consumer base, and higher availability and penetration of marijuana products, especially among the western markets. Concentrates are also observing more significant consumer acceptance because of the general belief that vaporizing or ingesting concentrates are healthier consumption methods than smoking. Moreover, the level of THC that provides euphoric "high" in concentrates can exceed 80% in concentrates - such products have achieved diverse flavor profiles and formulations and offer enhanced convenience and discreet consumption experience.

By Application Analysis

Medical Marijuana to Emerge as the Leading Application Sector with Recent Wave of Legislation in the Developed Markets

Medicinal applications include the incorporation of cannabinoids or cannabinoid-like compounds in pharmaceutical products, as per market trends. Sativex, Marinol, and Cesamet are some of the well-known hemp-based drugs. Some of the documented and practiced applications of the product in the medical sector are for the treatment of chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, treatment-resistant epilepsy, and others. The health and wellness trend resonating in the global marketplace has facilitated the medical marijuana market growth and the utilization of Cannabidiol (CBD) in particular. A growing body of research indicates the potential benefits of CBD in treating various illnesses, including chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and cancer.

Topicals represent a minimal share of the product application - lotions, lubricants, creams, and others are generally infused with ingredients providing relief of muscle soreness, inflammation, headaches, and cramping.


North America Market to Hold Major Share, Attributed to the Widespread Use of Marijuana and infused Products

North American dominated the market in 2020 and was valued at USD 19.78 billion. Recreational legalization in the U.S. began in 2012, with Colorado and Washington becoming the first two states to legalize its recreational use. As of July 2019, eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for recreational purposes. In the U.S., all state medical hemp laws recognized it as a form of therapy or medicine for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, arthritis, chronic pain, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even cancer. Canada has recently emerged as a flag-bearer country by playing a leading role in global marijuana legalization. Furthermore, its growers in the U.S. have increased significantly, thereby fueling its consumption and uses. This is projected to increase its sales and opens up new revenue channels for companies in the region.

Europe is the second-largest market, owing to the growing use of medical cannabis and progressive legislation. In European countries, medical marijuana is effective in trials and is being used legally in medical settings to treat conditions ranging from cancer to appetite stimulants in patients with AIDS-related syndrome. Additionally, the product’s demand is expected to increase rapidly due to changes in government policy. In many countries, the relevant legislation is recent; the Greek government approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 2018, the same year as the U.K. Thus, the growing medicinal use of the product in countries is expected to boost the sales in the region.

South America is expected to witness substantial growth due to the rapidly changing government policies and legalization of recreational hemp in various countries like Uruguay and Chile, among others. Social movements in favor of legalization were some of the key factors that led to this perspective towards the product through policies and legislation. Furthermore, several new startups are embarking on research, development, and production of the product.


Partnership and Expansion by Leading Players to Significantly Aid Market Growth

The global market remains highly competitive and robustly dynamic - new partnerships and expansions are underway as the wave of legalization spreads gradually across the globe. Recreational consumption is also expected to attain multi-faceted patterns among younger consumers, taking higher risks for trying out different forms and versions of the product. Thus, the robustly expanding popularity of recreational utilization is creating a shift from flower/bud to more processed formats such as edibles, oils, and topical products, and this has been appropriately reciprocated by key players in the market. For instance, in August 2021, Tilary Inc., a global pioneer in the research, production, and distribution, announced the launch of medicinal hemp edibles in varieties of chocolates and soft chewing gums rich in THC and CBD. The new Tilray brand offers a wide range of medicinal marijuana products, including whole flowers, oils, vaporizers, and pre-rolls designed with the health and wellness of the patient.


  • Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Edmonton, Canada)

  • Tilary, Inc. (Nanaimo, Canada)

  • Canopy Growth Corporation (Ontario, Canada)

  • CannTrust Holdings Inc. (Vaughan, Canada)

  • VIVO Cannabis Inc. (Greater Napanee, Canada)

  • Cronos Group Inc. (Toronto, Canada)

  • Jazz Pharmaceuticals (Dublin, Ireland)

  • OrganiGram Holdings (Moncton, Canada)

  • Lexaria Corp. (Kelowna, Canada)

  • ABcann Medicinals, Inc. (Ontario Canada)


  • April 2021 - Canopy Growth Corporation and The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement on acquiring the latter company by the former. This acquisition will not only help the company expand its product portfolio but, at the same time, fortify its market presence.

  • March 2021 - Mexican lawmakers passed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis, a milestone for the country amid a war on drugs and could become the world's largest market. The measure would allow adults to smoke marijuana and grow a small number of plants at home with a permit. It also grants licenses for manufacturers to cultivate and sell the crop.


The report provides qualitative and quantitative insights on the market and a detailed analysis of market size and growth rate for all possible segments in the market. The market is segmented by type, application, and geography. Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the market dynamics and competitive landscape. Various key insights provided in the report are the overview of related markets, recent hemp industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory scenario in key countries, and key industry trends.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



Value (USD Billion)


By Type

  • Flowers/Buds

  • Concentrates

By Application

  • Medical

  • Recreational

    • Edibles

    • Topicals

  • Industrial Hemp


By Region

  • North America (By Type, Application, and By Country)

    • U.S. (by Type)

    • Canada (by Type)

    • Mexico (by Type)

  • Europe (By Type, Application, and By Country)

    • Italy (by Type)

    • France (by Type)

    • Germany (by Type)

    • Belgium (by Type)

    • Czech Republic (by Type)

    • Rest of Europe (by Type)

  • Asia Pacific (By Type, Application, and By Country)

    • Australia (by Type)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (by Type)

  • Rest of the World (By Type, Application, and By Country)

    • Brazil (by Type)

    • Zimbabwe (by Type)

    • Others in the Rest of the World (by Type)  


Frequently Asked Questions

What was the value of the global cannabis market in 2020?

Fortune Business Insights says that the value of the market was USD 20.47 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 197.74 billion by 2028.

At what CAGR is the market projected to grow during the forecast period (2021-2028)?

Growing at a CAGR of 32.04%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast duration (2021-2028).

Which is the leading segment based on type in the market?

The cannabis flower/bud segment is expected to be the leading segment based on type in the global market during the forecast period.

What is the key factor driving the market?

The robust popularity of recreational hemp is the key factor fueling the market growth.

Who are the top players in the market?

Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth Corporation, and Tilary Inc. are a few of the key players in the market.

Which region is expected to hold the highest market share in the world?

North America is expected to hold the highest cannabis market share in the global market in 2028.

Which application sector is expected to witness the fastest growth in the global market?

The edible segment of recreational marijuana is expected to grow at the fastest pace during the projection period.

What is the key market trend?

Enabling policy and regulatory relaxation around the globe is the key market trend of the market.

  • Global
  • 2020
  • 2017-2019
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