While 2021 may have appeared to be a quiet year for cannabis stocks on the ASX but it’s been a busy year for the industry and 2022 is set to be even bigger.

The majority of cannabis stocks on the ASX are either still working on medicinal cannabis products or are at early stages of commercialisation leading to a lack of investor excitement.

The sector was boosted by the TGA’s declassification of certain CBD products, leading to speculation 2021 would be the year we could see products on pharmacy shelves.

But while that avenue will take some time to open up – with companies having to conduct clinical trials for such products before they are TGA-approved – the avenues that are open have contributed to a bumper year for the sector.

FreshLeaf Analytics revealed in its seventh market report last Friday that active patient numbers will come close to 90,000 and revenues from product sales will be $230 million by this year’s end.

In 2019, revenues were just at $30 million and patient numbers were below 25,000.

Graphs: Freshleaf Analytics

There are a total of 224 medicinal cannabis products on the market and the average patient spends $278 per month.

FreshLeaf also noted that there have been signs the stigma surrounding cannabis was beginning to dissipate.

For example, Australians now have some promise that CBD products could be accessed through pharmacies as well as a growth in approvals through the Special Access Scheme as well as Authorised Prescribers.


2022 set to be even bigger for Australia’s cannabis industry

FreshLeaf says the industry has a lot to anticipate in 2022.

“It is anticipated that patient access will continue to improve as the government implements the accepted recommendations made as a result of the Senate inquiry into barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis,” the report said.

“This includes possible changes to the SAS-B authorisation pathway, further reforms to the Authorised Prescriber scheme and possible changes to the Medicare Benefits Scheme for Primary care.”

FreshLeaf also predicted 2022 would see consolidation in the cannabis industry in the form of mergers and acquisitions.

It noted a trend had begun in 2021 with Cann Group (ASX:CAN) and Cronos (ASX:CAU) dealing with private companies Satipharm and CDA Health respectively while  Cannpal (ASX:CP1) was snapped up by Auscann (ASX:AC8).

FreshLeaf named Little Green Pharma (ASX:LGP) as one company capitalising on the export market.

Rounding out cannabis investors’ “must watch” list in 2022 were companies doing clinical research for CBD products in pharmacies as well as cannabis companies moving into psychedelics.

It noted the TGA was looking into certain psychedelic substances and a downgrade was possible before this year’s end.