Green Medicine: Pot’s Evolving Medical Uses
When putting marijuana use into historical context, I often invoke the drug-fueled 1960s. But that’s just a blip in time. The human consumption of marijuana has been chronicled for several millennia. For example, the health benefits of cannabis are enthusiastically described in Chinese medical literature that dates back to 2700 BC.
In the 21st century, the use of marijuana as “green medicine” continues to evolve. So, too, do the investment opportunities in medical marijuana. More about that in a minute.
In the U.S., the legal environment for marijuana is bringing weed into the consumer and medical mainstream. An increasing number of states are lifting restrictions on pot and bills are pending in Congress to do the same. Public opinion polls show that Americans increasingly embrace marijuana, especially for medical purposes. In the medical realm, the uses of cannabis are undergoing rapid changes.
In a new report released May 2, research firm New Frontier Data defined medical marijuana consumers as those who characterize their cannabis use as either “only” or “primarily” medical. These self-identified medical consumers are distributed across regulated medical and adult-use markets, as well as illicit markets.
Based on New Frontier’s national survey, as of this year 42% of respondents identify as medical cannabis consumers, an increase of 7% since 2018.
Medical consumers report using cannabis at higher rates than do adult consumers: Two-fifths (41%) of medical consumers are daily consumers (a rate 11% higher than for adult-use consumers), while another 26% are weekly consumers.
Accordingly, medical consumers tend to spend at higher rates than do adult-use consumers, with 30% of the former, compared to 22% of the latter, spending an average above $100+ per purchase.
There also are differences in product preferences between medical and adult-use consumers. The following chart breaks down the survey in greater detail:
The New Frontier report states:
“With the expansion of both adult-use and medical markets across the U.S., as well as increased levels of product differentiation, it is reasonable to expect consumers to further refine their preferences both for desired effects as well as modes of delivery. Additionally, as cannabis is used for health-oriented purposes which fall outside of traditional understandings of medical applications, an increase may be anticipated among wellness cannabis consumers who represent a merging of both adult-use and medical practices.”
Want to make money from the trends that I’ve just described? The marijuana industry is hugely profitable but it’s also volatile. You need to be selective in the stocks that you pick.
Cannabis-based medicines present some of the most intriguing plays in the entire biotechnology sector. For conditions ranging from epilepsy to multiple sclerosis, to glaucoma, to even cancer, compounds derived from the plant are achieving remarkable results when conventional therapies can’t.
The dilemma with marijuana plays is trying to determine which ones become lasting businesses. Cannabis companies feature similar traits to pharmaceutical firms, in that they must constantly innovate and improve on their products to maintain competitiveness.
Be forewarned, the marijuana industry is pervaded by dubious penny stocks with shaky balance sheets. Many marijuana companies are burning through their limited cash and they’re destined to go belly up.
Undoubtedly, the movement for marijuana law reform has gained such momentum that it would be hard to stop. Sooner or later, pot is likely to be 100% legal in the U.S. for medical and recreational use. Early investors in the right canna-businesses will make fortunes.
We’ve already conducted considerable due diligence into finding the best marijuana investments available. For our latest report on cannabis stocks, click here.
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