Medicinal cannabis sales will double in 2021, driven by a rapid growth in patient numbers and Authorised Prescribers (APs), according to the latest report from FreshLeaf Analytics.

Based on data collected from 45 suppliers and 1,000 CA Clinics patients in January and February 2021, the company’s H1 2021 Patient, Product and Pricing Analysis predicts sales will increase from A$100m to $200m, with active patient numbers up from 30,000 to 75,000 by the end of the year.

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As a measure of the accelerated growth, year-to-date sales revenue has already surpassed that for the whole of 2019. The forecast excludes Schedule 3 low-dose CBD products as FreshLeaf does not expect any products to become available in 2021.

While SAS-B approvals topped 8,000 in February and remain the primary access point for patients, there has been a significant increase in APs after a long period of stagnation with FreshLeaf estimating the channel now accounts for almost 20% of active patients.

Product numbers almost doubled to 190 in the last 12 months, but FreshLeaf said they remain highly commoditised, leaving physicians with little ability to differentiate between them beyond formulation and price.

Product growth in the last six months has primarily come from oils (up from 89 to 123) and wafers, which tripled in size to become the fourth largest product category at 3.7% behind oils (64.7%), flower (16.8%) and capsules (8.9%).

As previously reported by Cannabiz, chews were the only new product format introduced to the market since FreshLeaf’s last report in September 2020.

FreshLeaf MD Cassandra Hunt said the lack of new formats was partly a product of the market reaching maturity, but also a sign that delivery methods common in recreational markets are not yet crossing over into the medicinal space.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...