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Pharmacies vs. Dispensaries: The Future of Cannabinoids as Medicine

Part of the Cannabis Intelligence Briefing Series

Published February 2019

Released by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, the Pharmacies vs. Dispensaries: The Future of Cannabinoids as Medicine report details the many ways in which the cannabis industry could potentially disrupt the pharmaceutical industry. The report explains that the pharmaceutical industry stands to be changed by the popularization of cannabis in two ways: the emergence of cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drugs, and the possible competition between pharmacies and dispensaries as customers begin to trust cannabis to alleviate health issues. 

The report indicates that cannabinoid pharmaceutical sales are unlikely to take off in the near term, as only five cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals are in third-stage trials, and therefore have a chance of getting through the FDA approval process and onto the market before 2022. Hence sales of all cannabis-based pharmaceuticals are forecast to amount to less than 20% of the $31.6-billion legal cannabis market by 2022.

Other key factors analyzed in the report include:

  • 41% of respondents to BDS Analytics’ consumer surveys report a reduction in use of OTC medications when using medical cannabis, while 39% report a reduction in use of prescription medications.
  • Relaxation and pain relief are some of the top reasons for consumers turning to cannabis. Both anxiety and pain prescriptions are in the top 20 prescribed drugs, meaning the battle has already been joined between pharmacies and dispensaries.
  • The growth in revenue from cannabinoid pharmaceuticals will accelerate in the second half of the decade ahead as more drugs are approved and fully commercialized.
  • Approximately 770 clinical trials around cannabis, which include the use of cannabinoids for treatment of dozens of disorders and diseases, were registered with the US federal government as “in process” as of January 2019.
  • According to statistics tracked through the government’s Medicaid programs, in states with legal medical marijuana programs, opioid drug use is reported to have decreased up to 30%.


The 57-page report is available for $297 or as part of the Cannabis Intelligence Briefing Series subscription service from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics for $1,975.



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