The global medical cannabis market is predicted to exceed $40 billion by 2028, according to a new market research study by The Insight Partners.

The worldwide medical pot industry has grown rapidly over the past two decades, and according to the new report, is currently valued at $11.7 billion. And now that more and more countries are finally beginning to accept the healing powers of pot, the market is predicted to grow even faster. Analysts are predicting that the global industry will continue to expand at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 19.2%, topping out at just over $40 billion by 2028.

For comparison, the world’s electric vehicle market is expected to grow at an 18.2% CAGR across a similar period. The video game industry is expected to grow at a 14.5% CAGR.

Out of all the varied applications for medical marijuana treatments, pain management is currently the most popular. In 2021, more people purchased medical cannabis products to treat chronic or acute pain than for any other illness. That ratio is expected to shift over the course of the decade, however, now that cannabis is becoming one of the most popular treatments for multiple sclerosis. The report predicts that the MS segment of the market will grow at a CAGR of 20.3%, eventually overtaking the pain management segment by 2028.

Although dried flower remains the most popular product in legal adult-use markets, cannabis extracts dominate the medical market. Extracts accounted for a larger share of the global medical cannabis sector than dried flower products last year, and the report predicts that the extract market will grow at a CAGR of 19.2% until 2028. And according to another recent report, the global weed extract market is expected to grow to $32.5 billion by 2030, up from around $9 billion today.

The Insight Partners also predict a shift from in-person sales to online deliveries. At present, retail dispensary sales account for the vast majority of all global medical marijuana purchases. The report predicts that the e-commerce sector of the market will eventually overtake dispensary sales and grow by 19.8% a year from 2022 to 2028, though.

North America currently dominates the global medical marijuana industry, accounting for the vast majority of all sales. And even though the US government continues to classify marijuana as a deadly Schedule I drug with no medical use, America’s medical pot market still outsells Canada, where weed is entirely legal. 

The US medical pot market may soon have a chance to expand to even greater heights. Congress has advanced numerous bills to legalize cannabis on a federal level, alongside dozens of more minor reforms. And although President Biden has reiterated his opposition to full legalization, he has recently suggested a plan to reschedule cannabis, which would remove impediments to cannabis research and potentially allow financial institutions to open accounts for medical pot businesses.

But even if Biden drops the ball on cannabis reform, the popularity of medical cannabis is still spreading across the rest of the globe. Most Western European countries have legalized medical pot already, and the UK has launched a limited medical pot program too. Several African and South American countries have recently legalized local cannabis production in a bid to boost their economies as well. 

And in Southeast Asia, where most countries still sentence people to death for cannabis crimes, weed is gaining a foothold. Thailand legalized medical marijuana at the end of 2018, and has thoroughly embraced cannabis since then, completely decriminalizing it at the start of this year.