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Medical Marijuana Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Application (Pain Disorders, Cancer, and Others), By Type (Flowers, Concentrates, Edibles and Others), By Distribution Channel (Dispensaries, Online Channel, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2019-2026

Last Updated: April 29, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102609



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The global medical marijuana market size was valued at USD 6,338.1 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 26,920.4 million by 2026, exhibiting a CAGR of 20.4% during the forecast period.

Medical marijuana, also referred to as medical cannabis, is the extract of marijuana plant used for treating symptoms or illness or various health conditions. The use of marijuana as medicinal drugs has not been rigorously tested due to governmental restrictions and production issues. This resulted in inadequate clinical research to define the efficacy and safety of using marijuana to treat various conditions. However, several states in North America has decriminalized the usage of cannabis for both medical as well as recreational applications. Moreover, several other countries across the globe are following the footsteps of North America in legalizing cannabis. Hence, the growing trend of decriminalizing cannabis will significantly drive medical marijuana market across the forecast period.


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Increasing Demand for Decriminalization of Marijuana to Fuel the Market Growth

The rising demand for the legalization of medical cannabis across several states in the U.S. has strongly supported the growth of the legal market during the forecast period. Initially, the use of cannabis was prohibited as it was included in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 which effectively banned its usage and sales. The transition from being used as an illicit drug to an efficient therapeutics is majorly attributed to the growing number of clinical trials pertaining to its associated medical benefits. With the increasing number of research on the medicinal values of the plant, California became the first state to approve the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996. Following this, several other states voted for the legalization of cannabis for medical as well as for recreational purposes. Hence, the aforementioned factors will significantly contribute to high market revenue across the forecast period. 


Increasing Application of Cannabis for a Myriad of Medical Conditions will Strongly Support Revenue Growth

The marijuana plant was used medically for centuries across the globe until the early 1900s, when it was legal. The medical benefits associated with the plant are anticipated to boost product demand, thus augmenting market growth. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound present in the cannabis plant that is not psychoactive. CBD is considered to have several medicainal benefits. For instance, epidiolex is a CBD oil extract that is currently undergoing clinical trials for epilepsy. Additionally, nabiximols is a specific plant extract that is approved in Europe for the treatment of spasticity, multiple sclerosis, overactive bladder, neuropathic pain, and other conditions. In a recent survey, it was discovered that the most common conditions people use medical cannabis are for pain management, anxiety, depression, muscle spasticity, and few others. Hence, increasing benefits associated with medical marijuana coupled with growing number of research trials to identify more medical applications will considerably stimulate market growth during 2019 – 2026.

Growing Number of Clinical Research Trials will Hold Lucrative Growth Opportunities for the Market to Flourish in the Future

Therapeutics containing cannabinoids are used for treating certain rare forms of neurological disorders, vomiting and nausea associated with chemotherapy, loss of weight and appetite associated with HIV/AIDS and several others. Increasing initiatives pertaining to the clinical trials of this marijuana will significantly drive the market growth. For instance, several National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) funded studies are exploring the mechanism of substances in marijuana, including terpenes and minor cannabinoids. The aim of such trails is to support the evidence concerning marijuana components and find whether they have potential roles in pain management. NCCIH is also conducting other research activities on medical cannabis that includes research on the effects of edible cannabis and its constituents on inflammation, chronic low-back pain and research to evaluate the relationship between cannabis smoking and type 2 diabetes.


Side Effects Associated with the Intake of Cannabis Might Restrict Market Growth

Despite the increasing applications of legal medical marijuana for several health conditions, the side effects associated with the intake of marijuana might hinder market up to a certain extent. Side effects such as dizziness, hallucinations, low blood pressure, and few others are anticipated to restrict the growth of the key market. Also, dearth of awareness among the population pertaining to several associated benefits of marijuana is another crucial factor limiting market expansion.


By Application Analysis

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Increasing Applications of Marijuana in Pain Disorders Dominated the Global Market

Based on application, the legal medical cannabis market is segmented into pain disorders, cancer and others, which includes neurological and psychiatric conditions. The pain management segment is anticipated to dominate this market, owing to increasing incidence of pain related conditions, such as migraine, cancer pain and others. For instance, in 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that an estimated 50 million Americans, or just over 20 percent, have some form of chronic pain. People suffering from chronic pain tend to adopt high dosage of painkiller for instant relief. However, increasing intake of painkillers may result in multiple side effects. Hence, the medical community initiated the usage of cannabis as an alternative for pain management, thereby augmenting the medical marijuana market growth.

The others segment is projected to register a significant CAGR during the forecast period. This segment includes neurological conditions, psychiatric illness, and few others. High growth rate is attributable to the increasing prevalence of neurological and psychiatric disorders across the globe. Increasing incidence of depression and other mental health issues will strongly support the growth of this market in the near future. For instance, a 2014 study published by the Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health highlighted a decrease in anxiety rate and better sleep while using cannabis as a therapy. Also, the growing number of research trails aiming to enhance the effects of marijuana in several health conditions are few of the factors is projected to fuel its demand during the forecast period.

By Type Analysis

Clinically Proven Effectiveness of Marijuana Flower in Medical Applications to Aid Dominance of the Segment

By type segment, the market is classified as flowers, edibles, concentrates, and others. The flowers segment is anticipated to hold a considerable market share across the forecast period. The cannabis flower refers to the smokable part of the female cannabis plant. The cannabis flower is extremely rich in natural nutrients and medicines. One of the primary reasons to opt for cannabis flower is that it is unprocessed, through which the patients with severe chronic conditions will not only experience the beneficial cannabinoids but also the terpenes and other beneficial plant molecules as well. However, marijuana flowers are mostly prescribed for patients that require lower dosage of cannabis. For instance, the flower is beneficial for conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety disorders or other mental health conditions that require lower dosage in dried flower. Also, the flower is comparatively cost effective than other medical marijuana forms such as edibles or concentrates. Hence, the aforementioned factors will strongly help the market witness a positive growth for the flower segment.

Concentrates are more or less condensed extracts of the essential oils in the cannabis plant. The concentrates segment is estimated to witness substantial growth across the analysis period, owing to increasing demand among the population for marijuana concentrates to treat severe disorders such as cancer, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. The regulatory scenario for medical marijuana differs from state to state in the U.S. Hence, few states in the U.S. has denied the use of cannabis for cancer treatment. However the increasing research activities pertaining to measure the efficiency of cannabis in the treatment of cancer have influenced several states in the U.S. to legalize cannabis. The concentrates of marijuana are more efficient for those who need intensive therapies that require higher dosage. Hence, increasing incidence of cancer and other chronic neurological ailments across the globe will considerably augment the growth of the segment during 2019 – 2026. 

By Distribution Channel Analysis  

Increasing Approvals for Licensed Dispensaries to Boost Sales of Medical Marijuana

In terms of distribution channel, the medical marijuana market is segmented into dispensaries, online portals and others. The dispensaries segment held substantial market share in the year 2018 and is estimated to witness favorable growth across the forecast period. High demand for this marijuana, coupled with the increasing number of dispensaries distributing cannabis infused medical products will strongly stimulate the market expansion. Rapid growth in the number of authorized dispensaries to sell the product is the major growth driving factor. For instance, in February 2020, the state Department of Health announced that it has issued the cultivation permits to three new medical dispensaries in New Jersey (U.S.). Hence, the aforementioned factors are anticipated to boost product demand, thereby augmenting the growth of the segment. 

The online distribution segment is expected to witness tremendous growth during the forecast period. High growth rate is primarily attributable to the increasing demand for cannabis plant as a therapeutics for several acute disease ailments. Moreover, the increasing number of online platforms offering cannabis extracts, edibles and flowers are anticipated to support the segmental growth. Several sellers are launching their online websites to increase the sales of cannabis. For instance, in February 2020, Verda Innovations, a medical cannabis based company in the U.S. announced the launch of its legal cannabis e-commerce and delivery platform in Canada and U.S. Launch of such online platforms is considered to be one of the major factors augmenting growth.


North America Medical Marijuana Market Size, 2015-2026 (USD Billion)

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Based on regions the market is classified into North America, Europe, Latin America and the rest of the world. The market in North America is poised to hold maximum medical marijuana market share across the forecast period. The market in North America stood at USD 5,994.9 million in 2018 and with a stable growth rate the market size is estimated to reach USD 24,578.3 million by 2026. The region held lion’s share owing to the U.S. being the most prominent country for cannabis market. Moreover, increasing number of legalizations pertaining to the usage of cannabis plant for medical as well as recreational purposes in more than 30 states of the U.S. have significantly contributed to the growing revenue of the region. Furthermore, presence of several major players in the region is another significant factor augmenting legal medical cannabis market growth. Additionally, the increasing number of private and public funding for research activities in terms of medical significance of the cannabis plant will further propel market growth.

Additionally, Europe is the second largest region cultivating cannabis for medical conditions and adult use. The marijuana industry in Europe is expected to witness lucrative growth across the forecast period due to increasing legalizations coupled with rising investments by several major companies. Top key players operating in the United States are focusing on geographical expansion strategies to penetrate the market in Europe and thereby boosting regional growth.

Also, Latin America and the Rest of the world are estimated to witness lucrative CAGR during the forecast period. High growth rate is attributable to the increasing prevalence of chronic ailments such as cancer, neurological disorders, acute pain diseases, and psychiatric disorders. Moreover, countries such as Mexico and Australia are one of the few countries with maximum cannabis expenditure. Also, growing awareness among the population pertaining to several associated medical benefits is another important factor stimulating market expansion across the globe. 


Growing Legalizations Pertaining to Medical Marijuana in Several Countries to Propel Revenue Growth of the Companies

The rapid development of marijuana for medical purpose and its expanding benefits over the therapeutic application has influenced several companies to invest in the medical cannabis industry. While cannabis production and cultivation are the most crucial part of the marijuana ecosystem, high market revenue comes significantly from pharmacological organizations. The market is at its growing phase, owing to increasing legalizations across several countries, thereby encouraging various companies to invest in the market.

Few of the notable players operating in this market are Canopy Growth Corporation, Aurora Cannabis, Aphria Inc., CannTrust Holdings, GW Pharmaceuticals, MedReleaf Corp. and few others. These companies have major dominance in North America followed by Europe. The companies are primarily focused on geographic expansions with the aim to penetrate into the untapped markets.  



  • July 2021 – Jushi Holdings Inc announced the acquisition of OhiGrow LLC. OhiGrow is a licensed cultivator of medical cannabis in Ohio. The company will supply biomass with an aim to manufacture medical marijuana products.

  • June 2021 – Canopy Growth Corporation announced the completion of acquisition of Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. The addition of 7ACRES and 7ACRES Craft Collective of the Supreme, have enhanced Canopy’s market position and contributed in increasing its production capacity.

  • June 2021 – Columbia Care Inc, one of the largest cultivator, manufacturer and provider of medical cannabis announced the acquisition of Green Leaf Medical LLC. Green Leaf Medical LLC is a cannabis multi-state operator having a leading market position in mid-Atlantic region.

  • March 2021 – Greenrose Acquisition Corp announced the acquisition of four cannabis companies that includes Shango Holdings Inc, Futureworks LLC, Theraplant LLC, and True Harvest LLC with an aim to increase cashflow and increase the company position in the market.


An Infographic Representation of Medical Marijuana Market

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The global market research report provides a detailed medical marijuana market analysis and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and major applications of the product. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market such as the overview of legalization and usage of marijuana for medical purposes. Additionally, data pertaining to various private and public funding in terms of research activities will be included along with medical marijuana market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the aforementioned factors, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the growth of the market over the recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD million)


By Application

  • Pain Disorders

  • Cancer

  • Others

By Type

  • Flowers

  • Concentrates

  • Edibles

  • Others

By Distribution Channel

  • Dispensaries

  • Online channel

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (the U.S. and Canada)

  • Europe (Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, and the Rest of Europe)

  • Latin America (Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and the Rest of Latin America)

  • The Rest of the World (Row)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 6,338.1 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 26,920.4 million by 2026.

In 2018, the market value stood at USD 6,338.1 million.

Growing at a CAGR of 20.4%, the market will exhibit a steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2026).

Medical marijuana flowers segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

Increasing number of marijuana legalizations in various countries of the world, is propelling the demand for medical cannabis.

Aurora Cannabis is one of the leading players in the global market.

North America dominated the market in 2018.

Growing R&D and clinical trials by market players is opening new opportunities for this market to flourish in the future.

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