When Colorado first launched adult-use (recreational) sales in 2014, the existing medical market opened up to a wave of new consumers, including those from the sizable illicit market as well as new consumers who previously had little or no experience with cannabis.
The popularity of CBD products has exploded in the U.S. in recent years, with sales in the U.S. cannabis dispensary channel alone rising from $8.4 million in May 2016 to $56.9 million in May 2020. And hemp-derived CBD products, containing less than 0.3% THC, are increasingly available via general retail channels, though CBD ingestibles are still officially off limits for sale in general retail channels in the U.S. and most other jurisdictions.
The legal cannabis market has exploded in recent years, with sales in the U.S. reaching an estimated $12.4 billion in 2019, forecast to rise to $31 billion by 2024. The market for cannabidiol (CBD) has also grown rapidly, with U.S. sales totaling $2.6 billion in 2019, on track to reach $18 billion by 2024. While THC and CBD are the most widely known and marketed compounds found in Cannabis sativa, a few of the other 113 currently identified cannabinoids show potential for therapeutic and recreational applications and have attracted the attention of both researchers and those in the industry.
Global legal cannabis spending is forecast to reach $47 billion in 2025, a number too big to ignore for many companies and industries. The U.S. will continue to be the largest global market, driven by more and more adult use markets opening.
As more U.S. states move towards legalization, cannabis consumers are taking advantage of the unique opportunity to address medical needs through the available products at their local dispensaries. Though medical cannabis is generally not covered by most U.S. insurance plans, trends indicate increased use of cannabis as an alternative to more traditional forms of medication. Here are BDS Analytics' Top 5 Insights into the impact of legal cannabis sales on the over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drug channels:
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--Updated August 2019--
When Colorado kicked-off legal adult-use cannabis sales in the United States in 2014, unbranded flower fully dominated the marketplace, capturing more than 60 percent of all sales. Concentrates, edibles and topicals were far behind.