Australia’s medical marijuana industry is showing strong growth, according to an industry-leading biannual report.

The Freshleaf Analytics report, released this morning, says that patient numbers have grown 15-fold over the past two and a half years, and there’s been a significant increase in authorised subscribers after a long period of stagnation. There are now 179 physicians authorised to prescribe medical cannabis, up from under 50 from 2017 through early 2020.

Medicinal cannabis revenue is expected to more than double this year, from around $100 million last year, with year-to-date sales already exceeding 2019’s full-year revenue.

“There’s good news for patients too, with the price of medicine continuing to fall,” says FreshLeaf managing director Cassandra Hunt.

“Price drops can be observed across almost all product formulations,” the report says.

But the illegal market is still more than 10 times larger than the legal market, says Tim Drury, chief executive of Southern Cannabis Holdings.

“We still have a long way to go before we can consider that Australia has the right ecosystem for helping patients.”

Those patient numbers are up significantly, though, from only 3,000 in the third quarter of 2018 to 45,000 at the close of the first quarter 2021. Freshleaf estimates they’ll hit 75,000 by the end of the year.

There are more than 190 different cannabis products that Australian physicians can prescribe, including new chewable tablets.

Losing ground

That’s good news for ASX cannabis companies, which have had a tough fortnight.

Of the 37 companies in the space, just nine had gained ground and 22 had lost it. The other six were flat.

The biggest gainer was IDT Australia (ASX:IDT), which was up 140 per cent to 44.5c in period from March 17 to March 31.

The huge gains have come after the pharmaceutical manufacturer issued a brief announcement on March 19 saying that the Department of Health had asked IDT to assess its ability to make a coronavirus vaccine.

Dotz Nano (ASX:DTZ) was up 30.8 per cent for the fortnight, to 34c, after obtaining CE Mark authorisation for its saliva-based coronavirus test.

Neurotech International (ASX:NTI) had the third-best fortnight, advancing 15.2 per cent to 7.6c.

Code Name Price 2W % Ret YTD % return 1Y % Ret Market Cap
AGH Althea Group 49.5 -9.2 13.8 83.3 $32,426,358
APH AP Hemp 43 -5.5 26.5 760.0 $128,563,035
AC8 Auscann Grp 14 -6.7 -28.2 -26.3 $61,676,595
BDA Bod Australia 47 -13.8 -4.1 141.0 $48,679,003
BOT Botanix Pharma 9.8 -14.8 -21.6 326.1 $97,314,207
CGB Cann Global Limited 0.8 0.0 14.3 14.3 $41,114,042
CAN Cann Group 54 -7.7 -8.5 -21.7 $145,868,339
CP1 Cannpal Animal 17 0.0 0.0 107.3 $15,831,250
CPH Creso Pharma 20 5.3 11.1 239.0 $200,169,833
CAU Cronos Australia 12 -14.3 -7.7 37.9 $5,835,000
DTZ Dotz Nano 34 30.8 41.7 655.6 $131,733,832
EOF Ecofibre 120 -14.3 -37.0 -33.3 $30,135,488
ECS ECS Botanics Holding 4.9 -7.5 25.6 96.0 $23,058,851
EXL Elixinol Global 18 -10.0 2.9 -29.3 $176,954,540
EN1 Engage:Bdr 0.55 10.0 -8.3 -65.6 $56,643,013
EPN Epsilon Healthcare 20 -13.0 -14.9 -7.0 $13,467,143
ESE Esense-Lab 1.8 0.0 0.0 260.0 $39,043,675
EVE EVE Investments 0.6 0.0 -33.3 50.0 $9,180,684
IDT IDT Australia 44.5 140.5 140.5 287.0 $117,717,435
IHL Incannex Healthcare 20.5 -2.4 32.3 469.4 $211,697,912
LSH Lifespot Health 11.5 -4.2 49.4 119.4 $19,373,700
LGP Little Green Pharma 70 2.2 23.9 133.3 $93,267,938
LV1 Live Verdure 26 10.6 36.8 $10,006,813
MDC Medlab Clinical 24 -18.6 0.0 26.3 $26,444,708
MXC Mgc Pharmaceuticals 6.2 -13.9 148.0 264.7 $80,373,637
MMJ MMJ Group Hlds 11.5 0.0 -8.0 51.3 $145,885,799
MRG Murray River Grp 26.5 -8.6 -47.0 -55.8 $13,013,967
NTI Neurotech Intl 7.6 15.2 68.9 1420.0 $48,573,195
PAL Palla Pharma 49.5 -2.9 -35.7 -5.4 $78,527,884
RNO Rhinomed 12.5 4.2 -21.9 71.2 $30,457,096
ROO Roots Sustainable 1.9 -5.0 -9.5 58.3 $10,255,895
RGI Roto-Gro Intl 5.4 0.0 -14.3 8.0 $14,443,382
SCU Stemcell United 2.2 -18.5 15.8 144.4 $21,008,016
SUD Suda Pharmaceuticals 4.6 7.0 15.0 10.8 $17,694,175
WOA Wide Open Agricultur 69.5 -12.0 -21.9 456.0 $64,416,320
YPB YPB Group 0.35 -12.5 75.0 75.0 $19,967,282
ZLD Zelira Therapeutics 6 -11.8 -34.8 76.5 $72,609,701