When looking back on 2016, it is hard to imagine a world where continued cannabis legalization, soaring cannabis approval ratings, and increased demand for cannabis research were not the norm.
This year, the U.S. added four new recreational use states and a half dozen new medical marijuana states, bringing the total count to twenty-eight medical marijuana states and eight recreational states. States like Colorado broke cannabis sales records and generated millions in state and local tax revenue, which was used to fund cannabis research and to house and feed the state’s homeless populations. Cannabis also helped create thousands of jobs this past year, and estimates see the cannabis industry adding 300,000 jobs in the next few years.
Even though 2016 was a banner year for the cannabis industry, all indications point to even greater growth in the coming year. Medical Marijuana, Inc. is poised to further secure its place as a proven industry leader in 2017.
1. Additional Research into the Effects of Cannabis
Although the DEA failed to reschedule cannabis this year, the agency has taken uncharacteristic steps to make research on cannabis easier for scientists across the U.S. Mixed into the DEA’s announcement about declining to reschedule cannabis was a section discussing an easing of restrictions on cannabis research.
These changes include allowing additional cultivation sites for research grade cannabis. Currently, only the University of Mississippi can grow research cannabis. However, under new directives, additional sites, possibly even private businesses, can be authorized by the DEA to grow cannabis for research purposes. This will dramatically increase the quality and decrease the delivery time of research grade cannabis in the U.S., streamlining the current process.
In recent years, the DEA has also waived certain regulatory requirements for researchers conducting FDA-approved clinical trials on CBD, allowing these scientists to modify or expand the scope of their human studies more easily.
Although the DEA’s classification of cannabis in Schedule I severely limits who can undertake cannabis research and under what conditions, expanded access to the cannabis needed for research is sure to boost the number of new studies seeking authorization.
More research into the cannabis plant and cannabinoids will help us to understand how they interact with our natural endocannabinoid systems. This increased research will open the door to the foundational studies, as well as the more advanced stage clinical trials, that will result in cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals.
Medical Marijuana, Inc. has two investment companies in its portfolio currently looking to create pharmaceutical treatments using cannabinoids – AXIM® Biotechnologies and Kannalife™ Sciences.
AXIM® Biotechnologies, a Medical Marijuana, Inc. investment company named one of Fox Business’s Top 5 Biotech Stocks of 2016, just recently received the funding needed to pursue multiple clinical trials on cannabinoid derived drugs, including testing treatments for indications like multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis and eczema.
Another of Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s investment companies, Kannalife™ Sciences is also working to develop novel new treatments derived from cannabinoids. Using their licenses on the government’s patent 6,630,507, Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, Kannalife™ Sciences is developing new cannabinoid-based medications for a pair of degenerative brain conditions, hepatic encephalopathy and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
2. The Growing Popularity of Cannabis in the U.S.
More than 33 million (1 in 8) adults in the United States currently use marijuana, according to a new Gallup poll. That works out to about 13 percent of Americans being current marijuana users, up from 7 percent in 2013, and marks a nearly 100 percent jump in cannabis use over the past three years.
Support for the legalization of recreational marijuana in the United States is at an all-time high, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center. According to the survey of 1,201 participants, 57 percent of U.S. adults believe marijuana should be made legal, compared to 37 percent who are opposed to legalization.
Cannabis use among adults aged 50 and older jumped up by more than two-thirds between 2006 and 2013, according to a new study by researchers from New York University Langone Medical Center.
Between 2006 and 2013, marijuana use among adults aged 50 and older was found to have increased by 71 percent. Most of the gain came from those between the ages of 50 to 64, but reported use also increased for adults aged 65 and over. The prevalence of use was found to be higher among men than women over all years.
In regards to medical marijuana, a 2016 Quinnipiac poll found that American voters are in even stronger support of legal access to cannabis for therapeutic purposes. Overall, 89 percent of voters responded in favor of allowing medical marijuana.
3. Further Legalization in the States
This rising support for cannabis across the U.S. is likely to lead to additional states legalizing either recreational or medical use of marijuana in the coming year. Ohio and Pennsylvania both legalized medical marijuana earlier this past year, bringing medical cannabis to more than half of U.S. citizens. Then, on election day, four more states, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota, passed medical cannabis measures. Four additional states, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine, passed recreational marijuana laws.
Following the 2016 election, just six states remain in the U.S. with no form of cannabis legalization on the books. Although 2017 isn’t an election year, state legislatures across the U.S. may be considering legalization measures with an eye towards potential tax revenue, further increasing access to cannabis in the U.S.
4. The Expansion of Medical Cannabis Internationally
Following success in South America with our local distribution branch, HempMeds® Brasil, in 2014 and 2015, Medical Marijuana, Inc. set its sights towards further international expansion by capitalizing on the emerging Latin American hemp oil market. We started 2016 with the creation of HempMeds® Mexico, established to service a growing number of patients in Mexico looking to access CBD oil products.
Our THC-free RSHO-X™ became the first cannabis-based product ever imported into Mexico when it was approved by Cofepris, the Mexican health authority. Beyond providing top quality CBD products to customers in the country, HempMeds® Mexico also acts to educate health professionals and regulators and as assist customers navigate the approval process to gain import authorization for our products.
As the year comes to a close, HempMeds® continues to eye potential new markets in Latin America to get our CBD oil products into the hands of those who need it the most.
5. Increased Demand for CBD
As CBD continues to grow in popularity, demand for this highly sought after cannabinoid has soared.
A recent Forbes article exploring the CBD market lauded the industry’s potential over the next few years. The CBD hemp oil market is expected to grow to $450 million by 2020, seeing a 700 percent increase from 2016. This growth is tied to an increasing curiosity over CBD products. According to the article, a licensed cultivator in Southern California revealed that 38 percent of people polled said they wanted to learn more about CBD oil.
This increasing demand is fortuitous for Medical Marijuana, Inc., as our global CBD pipeline allows us to place our top-quality CBD hemp oil products into the hands of customers around the world at competitive prices.
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