Medicinal cannabis may finally be entering the mainstream thanks to the TGA down-scheduling CBD, growing acceptance among Australian doctors and support from the global tech giants, according to industry consultancy FreshLeaf Analytics.

In an upbeat H2 2021 report due for release tomorrow (Friday October 15), FreshLeaf will claim down-scheduling repositions cannabis as a ‘medicine of the masses’, while the increase in Authorised Prescribers indicates the GP community is getting the message at last.

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Meanwhile, tech behemoths such as Amazon and Apple are taking a stewardship role internationally with the former publicly calling for law reform in the US, while Apple is now allowing in-app sales of cannabis in US states where it is legal.

Industry commentators believe that endorsements from such household — and generally well-regarded — brands will only accelerate acceptance of cannabis both recreationally and as a medicine.

Yet frontline access to cannabis medicine is where the immediate short-term difference is being made, with FreshLeaf citing the increase in Authorised Prescribers as evidence of more widespread acceptance of legal medicinal cannabis among patients and healthcare professionals. The number of active patients is forecast to hit 100,000 by the end of the year. 

The rise in numbers is reflected in the financial performance of the sector in Australia, with FreshLeaf increasing its 2021 revenue projection from A$200m to $230m and sales tipped to reach $400m in 2022.

The growing popularity of flower, the move by some cannabis companies into the adjacent psychedelics sectors, and the first over-the-counter CBD products coming on stream are further reasons for optimism in 2022.

According to data released by the TGA, there are now 430 Authorised Prescribers, a three-fold increase on the same month last year and double that of six months ago.

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...