Cannabis for therapeutic uses: is this a new market?
The use of Cannabis for therapeutic purposes is quite old; it may have started centuries before Christ, but it has been in the last 40 years that numerous clinical studies have been conducted generating evidence, and in the United States, the first approval occurred in 2018, where the product Epidiolex, made with cannabidiol, was approved by the FDA with indication for 2 types of epilepsy.
As the studies progress and the experience with the product increases, more possibilities for indication arise, being used today for the treatment of chronic conditions, such as cancer, arthritis; and neurological conditions, such as anxiety, depression, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. This broad scope of application is expected to bode well for product demand, and the high prevalence of cancer is considered a major driver of product demand.
In the world
The global size of the legal market for Cannabis and its derivatives reached $ 17.7 billion in 2019 is expected to reach $ 73.6 billion by 2027, according to a new report published by Grand View Research, Inc. An expansion is expected at an 18.1% CAGR over the predicted period, and the growing legalization of Cannabis for medical and adult use is expected to promote growth. Based on the type of use, the medical segment held the main share of revenue of 71.0% in 2019, and based on the type of product, the legal segment of plant-shaped marijuana represented the largest market share in terms of revenue and was valued at $ 9.1 billion in 2019.
In Brazil it is still very recent, but there is already an established market for cannabidiol products. It is very difficult to measure, this market is composed of imports made by patients. With the new registrations of new products, experts in the area estimate a total initial market that goes from R$ 2 billion and can quickly reach R$ 5 billion according to the most optimistic.
Today we have only one cannabidiol-based product on the market with indication for multiple sclerosis, and several others in the process of development or registration. The new products should come with varied indications, the possibility of 40 therapeutic indications is estimated, and perhaps for this reason and for the estimated values, for some, this would be a new market and not a segment, as there is still no pharmaceutical product with as many possible indications. The consumption of the product in the form of a plant could also be the indicator of a new market.
In Brazil the planting of Cannabis was not authorized, which means that any related activity will be considered a criminal activity, therefore the legal market for Cannabis in the form of plant will be non-existent. For companies operating in the sector, it will be a powerful competitor outside the legal market, but they will face the challenge of scaling the clandestine market that may impact the sale of their products in some way.
In December, Anvisa defined the rules for the registration and use of the product, with great care and restrictions that became effective as of 03/10/2020, (http://www.inovatie.net.br/cannabis-o-que-can-and-what-can-not-in-the-new-regulation/) can make it difficult to differentiate between products and even the prescription by doctors, especially in unapproved indications.
In general, unlike some countries, cannabidiol in Brazil will follow the same rules as the pharmaceutical prescription market in regulation, distribution, control, with the physician as the great demand generator. This may impact the speed of market growth, but it will not take away the shine and promises of this new therapy.