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With the “cannabis revolution” in full effect, we look at some of the biggest trends taking part in the medical cannabis community.


1.     Market growth/ patient growth


The medical marijuana market is still expanding rapidly throughout the world. After the high-speed growth of 2017, which saw countries in South America, Africa, Europe, and many US States and Australia legalize medical marijuana, the rest of 2018 is expected to see continued growth.


With the American president assuring the protection of US states with legalized marijuana from federal prosecution, the growing consensus in the United States of medical marijuana’s benefits, and the massive amounts of cash flowing into government pockets from its sale, the remaining 21 states will surely be implementing or considering implementation soon.


Elsewhere, in Europe, the European Union’s powerhouse, Germany, has seen massive demand for its medical cannabis program, as has Italy. This tied in with the newly elected liberal president, Emmanuel Macron, is leading many to think that the next major market to join the club could be France.


Central and South America have seen massive market growth in the past year, but still have a lot of room left for further development. Uruguay has legalized all forms of marijuana consumption, with Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru legalizing some form of medical cannabis. But the continents largest population, Brazil, has yet to determine a course of action, leaving a large demographic of potential medical marijuana patients in the dark.

 

2.     Research


Because of the growing number of countries and states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, there is also a major push to research the benefits, uses, and risks of cannabis as a medication. Many regions, such as Quebec and Denmark, have conditioned the legalization of medical cannabis on simultaneous research initiatives.


Quebec has created the Quebec cannabis Registry which will be used to compile, and store clinical data collected from its medical marijuana patients to determine the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis. Denmark has followed a similar path, initiating a four-year trial of cannabis oil to anyone in the county prescribed it for a variety of illnesses.  


Elsewhere, Pennsylvania is determined to lead the United States in medical marijuana. The state has recently installed a program to allow medical schools throughout its borders to get involved with the research of medical cannabis. So far, eight schools including the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, have been awarded the license to begin research.


What’s even more promising is that the government lead initiatives into the research of medical cannabis around the world do not include the privately funded exploration of the drug. Other organizations are deploying resources into research, such as Australia’s University of Sydney and Canada’s McMaster University, in conjunction with licensed growers and philanthropic financiers looking for better understanding of the cannabises uses.


In a complete reversal of the near blackout of cannabis research that has plagued the world in the last century, the next years show a significant amount of promise in coming up with legitimate, well-executed, studies on medical cannabis.


3.     Variety of ingestion options


In any industry, popularity spurs innovation. The case has been no different in the cannabis sector, as countries around the world warm up to the idea of cannabis, whether recreationally or medically.


Without the stigma or worry of using the drug in the shadows of the law, cannabis consumers are now openly able to try new things and companies have capitalized.


No longer is rolling a joint or using a bong the only way for patients to take their medication or recreational users to enjoy their cannabis. The growing popularity of edibles, vaporizes, topical creams,  and other marijuana products have been well documented.


In fact, according to the Specialty Food Association, marijuana edibles sit eighth on its 2018 list of top food trends in America. Elsewhere, a 2016 study by Eaze showcased that the percentage of people who used vaporizers to intake their marijuana grew almost 400% year over year.


Topicals and skin patches have also made their way into the mainstream, with companies such as Colorado’s “Mary Medicinals” excelling in the market attracting those who want the relief without the hassle.


There truly hasn’t been any other time in history where cannabis patients and users have had so many options. Even with the vast array of choices in today’s market, it is likely that the options will only continue to grow as markets experiment with new techniques.



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