Legal Marijuana Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Legal Marijuana Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Medical Cannabis, Recreational Cannabis), By Product Type, By Medical Application (Cancer, Mental Disorders), And Segment Forecasts, 2019 - 2025

  • Published Date: May, 2019
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2018
  • Report ID: GVR-2-68038-152-8
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2014 - 2017
  • Number of Pages: 100

Industry insights

The global legal marijuana market size was estimated at USD 13.8 billion in 2018 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 23.9% by 2025. Growing legalization in various countries is primarily driving the market. Furthermore, rising adoption of cannabis as a medical product for treating conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, arthritis, and neurological disorders is also expected to fuel revenue growth in the forthcoming years.

Increasing disease burden of chronic pain and growing need for effective pain management remedies on the global scale is expected to amplify the demand for legal cannabis. Similarly, high prevalence of cancer is expected to be one of the factors driving the demand. For instance, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of deaths in the world and was responsible for about 8.8 million deaths in 2015. In addition, growing disease burden of chronic pain and increasing demand for pain management therapies and significant side effect associated with opioid usage are expected to drive the demand for medical cannabis, which has proved to be a potent product for chronic pain management.

U.S. legal marijuana Market

Legalization of medical marijuana and decriminalization in some countries has led to a significant decrease in the black market, as people are resorting to legally purchasing cannabis for medical as well as recreational use. Moreover, government earnings through taxation is further viewed as an opportunity for countries to earn high revenues. For instance, the total tax revenue collected for the state of California in the U.S., was USD 345.2 million in 2018. Revenue generated from these taxes encourages the local governments to fund several development programs for education and infrastructure.

According to Cannabiz Media, legal marijuana business is further creating jobs and opportunities with around 9,397 licenses in U.S. including cultivators, manufacturers, dispensaries, and deliverers and labs. Owing to these factors, legalization of cannabis has led to an increase in its demand in these countries and eventually eroding the black market.

Marijuana Type Insights

Medical marijuana held the leading market share of 70.3% in 2018. Medical marijuana is strictly categorized as a medicine prescribed by a physician and its distribution is regulated by the government programs and therefore is necessary for the suppliers to maintain a mandated quality control on the products. Over the years, medical application of cannabis has witnessed tremendous expansion as the amount of scientific literature supporting its benefits in the treatment of various diseases is growing. In recent years, several countries have legalized medical marijuana, however, its prescription depends on physician’s choice and patient’s demand. As the number of countries legalizing medical cannabis and its applications is increasing, the legal marijuana market is expected to witness robust growth in the forthcoming years.

By 2025, recreational marijuana is expected to emerge as the fastest growing segment with a CAGR of 36.4% between 2019 and 2025. Recreational cannabis is defined as any use of marijuana apart from medical purpose. Recreational use can range from it being a psychoactive drug to food ingredient. In many countries that have legalized medical marijuana, its recreational use remains illegal. Few countries like Canada, Uruguay, Colombia, and some states in U.S. have legalized recreational cannabis. Through legalization of recreational marijuana, governments are trying to eradicate the black market and focusing on gaining substantial amount of tax revenues that are levied on sale of these products.

Legalization of recreational marijuana has propelled the demand from both recreational and medical users. In countries like Canada and U.S. where recreational marijuana has been legalized, the markets have witnessed a dynamic shift from patients opting to use recreational marijuana instead of medical. This can be attributed to the easy availability, wide variety and low price. In countries where reimbursement for medical marijuana is not substantial, this shift in trend is much evidential. Nonetheless, strict regulations and restrictions on the use of cannabis for recreational purposes is restraining the market growth. Yet, launch of medical marijuana program and cultivation and distribution of the product by government of various economies is expected to boost the growth in near future.

Product Type Insights

Based on the product type, cannabis is classified into buds, oils, and tinctures. Buds led the market in 2018 valuing at USD 7.3 billion. While oils are anticipated to witness the fastest CAGR of 20.5%, over the forecast period. Cannabis comprises a number of active compounds, especially Description Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), which can be used for the treatment of various diseases. Although it is possible to isolate and extract one type of cannabinoid from the whole plant, several physicians believe that these cannabinoids work together to get the desired effect for treatment. Physicians call it the “entourage effect” and therefore, believe in prescribing the whole bud or extracts containing all compounds. As a result, demand for the whole bud remains high.

Dried buds are generally used for smoking. Smoking marijuana has applications for a variety of medicinal purposes such as treatment of glaucoma and nausea. It can be used to alleviate chronic pain and to reduce growth of cancer as well to stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, smoking is much more economical than oral products or tinctures, and hence most people prefer smoking it. In addition, the onset of action of smoking marijuana is rapid and is thus preferred.

However, there are some adverse effects of smoking cannabis, which include production of phlegm, chronic cough, and respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and chronic bronchitis. In addition, smoking is socially stigmatized and is not preferable for children. These factors are expected to impede the growth of buds over the forecast period. Cannabis oils are used for the treatment of cancer and nausea, and can also be used to improve sleep and to alleviate stress and anxiety. The legality of the cannabis oils compared to buds differs from country to country. The demand for cannabis oil is increasing owing to social stigma regarding smoking of marijuana. Moreover, doctors are not comfortable with their patients smoking as it has potential harmful components such as particles, tar, and other chemicals.

Marijuana tinctures are made by dissolving the drug in alcohol and are intended to be consumed sublingually. Tinctures have a rapid onset of action compared to oils. The onset of action of oils and other forms of cannabis medications is around 45 min, while tinctures show effect in around 15 min. Due to advantages of tinctures, the demand for the same is expected to increase over the forecast period. The tinctures segment was valued at USD 2.4 billion in 2018 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 28.7% during the forecast period. Overall, the cannabis extracts are anticipated to gain momentum and emerge as the most lucrative segments in near future.

Medical Application Insights

Based on medical application areas, the market is broadly categorized into chronic pain, mental disorders, cancer, and others. The largest application segment is chronic pain, which held a market share of 44.0% in 2018, due increased requirement of pain management across the globe. As per the survey data published by the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in 2012, it was observed that most American adults have experienced pain at some level i.e., acute or chronic. The analysis suggests that approximately over 25 million adults experience chronic pain extending for more than 90 days consistently prior, and nearly 40 million adults reported some form of pain, which indicates a monumental opportunity in chronic pain space.

Global legal marijuana Market

Mental disorders segment is expected to emerge as the fastest growing segment by the end of the forecast period. According to the WHO, about 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy, making it a major health concern. Furthermore, depression, which is one of the most common disorders, affected about 322 million in 2015, worldwide. Also, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 18.1 % of the total U.S. population suffer from anxiety disorders every year. The high prevalence of various mental disorders across the globe is anticipated to drive the demand for medical marijuana.

The other applications includes several health conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, nausea, HIV/AIDS, muscular dystrophy, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), kidney failure, and migraines. The other applications account for a significant market share, as millions of people suffer from at least one of these conditions. It is difficult to track the accurate number of users per application as the prescription records might indicate only one application, but the patient might use it for multiple conditions off label in fully legal markets.

Regional Insights

The regional landscape of the medical cananbis market comprises North America, Europe, and RoW (RoW). Owing to the presence of a large cusotmer pool and legalization of medical marijuana in U.S. and Cananda, the demand from North America is expected to remain the highest. However, the legalization in European countires, accompanied by stringent rules and regulations regarding the sale and cultvation, may limite the overall growth in Europe and in turn for the global market. North America accounted for the largest reveunue share in 2018. Currently 33 states in U.S. and District of Colombia have legalized cannabis in U.S. making it the largest market in the world. Moreover, emergence of New York legal cannabis market will provide further growth opportunities for stakeholders in the country.

An estimated 57% of the adults in America are in favor of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. A decade ago, only 32.0% favored legalization and 60.0% opposed its use. Hence, the increasing support among Americans would fuel the growth during the forecast period. Similarly, Canada’s early legalization at federal level for both medicinal and recreational use has provided the country to gain first mover advantage in the global market. Canadian companies currently hold the leverage in global cannabis market.

Other promising markets for Cannabis are Australia, Germany, Poland, Colombia, Uruguay and Israel. Israel is currently at the foreront of providing technology and knowledge transfer to the other world markets. Its vast knowledge in the agri space has helped the country develop new technolgies for producing higher yeilds and new strains. Latin American countries like Uruguay and Colombia are working towards becoming the future suppliers in the global market and as U.S. remains federally closed for export, these countries may seize these opportunity in near future. As the newer markets such as U.K.,and Thailand create their legal structure for cannabis, the revenue is expected rise significantly. Moreover, countries like South Africa and New Zealand are discussing legalization of medical marijuana and may emerge as viable markets in the forthcoming years.

Legal Marijuana Market Share Insights

The competition amongst the existing players is very high as very few companies have the technology, financial resources, and legal clearance to venture into large-scale manufacturing of medicinal cannabis. Moreover, the research funding for the industry also plays a vital role in encouraging more startups to launch innovative products. Some prominent players include Canopy Growth Corporation; Aphria, Inc.; Aurora Cannabis; Maricann Group, Inc.; Tilray; The Cronos Group; Organigram Holding, Inc.; ABcann Medicinals, Inc.; GW Pharmaceuticals, plc.; and Lexaria Corp. The growing demand is expected to favor the entry of several new players in the future.

Report Scope



Base year for estimation


Actual estimates/Historical data

2014 - 2017

Forecast period

2019 - 2025

Market representation

Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2019 to 2025

Country scope

U.S., Canada, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Israel, Australia, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Croatia, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Uruguay, Chile

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5-analyst working days)

If you need specific information, which is not currently within the scope of the report, we will provide it to you as a part of customization

Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research, Inc. has segmented the global legal marijuana market report on the basis of marijuana type, product type, medical application, and region:

  • Cannabis Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Medical

    • Recreational

  • Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Buds

    • Oils

    • Tinctures

  • Medical Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Chronic Pain

    • Mental Disorders

    • Cancer

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • U.S.

    • Canada

    • Germany

    • Italy

    • Netherlands

    • Croatia

    • Poland

    • Czech Republic

    • Switzerland

    • Australia

    • Uruguay

    • Colombia

    • Mexico

    • Chile

    • Argentina

    • Israel

Key questions answered by the report
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