Medical Cannabis: $500B Industry by 2025

Originally posted on June 7, 2015 in LinkedIn (moved bc audience)

3 reasons medical cannabis will be a $500B industry in the next decade:

1. SAFE & EFFECTIVE

  • A safer alternative to pharmaceutical pain killers. 1 in 5 become addicted to OxyContin — a risk too many are taking. Legal medical cannabis states have seen a drop in pharmaceutical deaths by 25%. Cannabis is non-lethal and less addictive than caffeine. Medical cannabis not only reduces general pain, but also has properties that aid in digestion, anxiety, stress, diet, and many more ailments. The Cannabis Pharmacy by Michael Backes is a very comprehensive book of medical cannabis treatments.
  • No chance of overdosing — 0 deaths vs 112 deaths DAILY from pharmaceuticals. Why are so many taking this risk? They lack safe alternatives. Since cannabis use has minimal side-effects, I see no reason why it can’t be used to treat a multitude of ailments. It is well-known as a generic pain reliever, but did you know that cannabis is the only immediate cure for migraine headache ailments (severe pain, nausea, blurred vision, …)? Cannabis has been proven to treat epilepsy ailments (learn about the Stanley Brother’s Charlotte’s Web), shrink cancer tumors, slow Alzheimer’s, stimulate appetite, and aid in the relief of many other ailments (ADD, ALS, MS, PTSD, …)
  • Doctors regularly prescribed cannabis until the US government intervened in the 1940’s. The medical field objected and fought against prohibiting. People have been using cannabis to cure many ailments since 10,000 b.c. with no deaths. Why did the US government ban this harmless plant? Corporate and personal greed. Luckily, technology spreads the truth and many are learning about it’s safety. Acceptance is growing very quickly and perceptions of cannabis are finally changing. If interested in learning about the history of the US pharmaceutical industry, read this paper on the initial growth.

2. COST

  • Cannabis is a cheap plant and therefore can produce cheap medicines. This is a major reason for the US government’s classification of cannabis as a schedule 1 drug (as harmful as heroin & more harmful than opium, codeine and hydrocodone). To any knowledgeable person, does this make sense? Of course not, but we do nothing. Instead of allowing a huge industry to blossom into a full-fledged economy, the US government spends billions of $ upholding their rules while millions die as we are forced to take riskier (and less effective) pharmaceutical drugs. The US pharmaceutical industry may top $1 trillion in 2015 revenues.
  • A formal cost-benefit-analysis can be performed, but since cannabis has very little downside all reports will show this to be a great investment. If you want proof, follow the money. As a trader, I looked for trends — I still do and I have seen a huge stream of $ flow into the cannabis industry (check out Peter Thiel’s bet).
  • Barriers of entry to any industry have come crashing down and the cannabis industry already starts low. This is fantastic news for many small businesses because opportunities are everywhere. The burgeoning cannabis industry in Colorado has propelled many other businesses (real estate, insurance, technology, food …) and jobs are flourishing. A current update can be found here. Is this not what this country needs now? Yes and more. More comes from excluding the prohibiting costs humanity has incurred: drug cartel deaths, gang crimes, police harassment, incarceration costs, lost wage earners, parent-less families, …

3. TECHNOLOGY

  • Technology allows for the management of data which the cannabis industry needs to gain supporters. One argument against medical cannabis is the variation of proper strain elements. This is similar to a generic drug’s required consistency of having at least 80% of the active ingredient of the branded drug. Testing devices are now available to detect all components — percentage of THC, CBC, CBD, CBG, …
  • With medical cannabis being legal in over 70% of the populated world, technology can lead to discovery — across the globe. Israel is one of the leading nations in medical cannabis research. Most of this information is available for others in the industry to continue building. The more information collected and researched, the faster patients suffering from many ailments can find effective medical cannabis.
  • As technology makes simple data collection possible, it allows for this information to spread. What sets medical cannabis apart from other medicines is the fact that all the information coming out is positive. Since most look at negatives (kind of like the nightly news), let’s look at current pain medication. OxyContin leads to 1 in 5 becoming addicted. When OxyContin becomes too difficult to obtain, those addicted move on to heroin (reason why heroin has become a major epidemic). Technology creates transparency and that leads to discovering the truth.

If cannabis can be effective in treating certain ailments, proven to have little side-effect risk, and is inexpensive, why not allow medical cannabis a chance? Let’s stop the endless search for negatives and begin to study the many positives cannabis provides. What if cannabis is the cure for obesity, cancer, …?

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