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Japan’s Cannabis Market Expanded Sixfold Between 2019-2023

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Japan’s emerging cannabis industry expanded sixfold during four years spanning from 2019 to 2023 according to a new report by Euromonitor International. Japan’s emerging legal cannabis industry currently largely revolves around the buying and selling of CBD products.

In December 2023, Japan’s government lifted a long-time ban on cannabis-derived medications. The approved measure legalized imported, regulated cannabis-derived medical products in Japan.

One such cannabis-derived medication, Epidiolex, has been found to help people who suffer from severe epilepsy. A study conducted in 2019 found that “6.9 per 1000 individuals have epilepsy in the general Japanese population, and that the prevalence of epilepsy increases with age, probably because of elderly onset cerebrovascular diseases.”

The new report by Euromonitor International regarding Japan’s emerging cannabis industry was insightful. Per excerpts from The Japan Times:

Japan’s cannabis market expanded sixfold over four years to ¥24 billion ($154 million) in 2023, a trend that is expected to accelerate with the amendment in December of cannabis laws, market research firm Euromonitor International said in a recent report.

The growing sales of products using CBD (cannabidiol), a compound found in marijuana, are attributed to the rising demand for products that offer relaxation, sleep and stress relief, the firm said, estimating the current number of CBD users in Japan at 588,000.

“The year 2023 marked a pivotal moment for cannabis in Japan, signaling a potential turning point for the country’s CBD market. Recent legal reforms have opened doors for further CBD establishment and development, with the sector gaining attention as a high-growth industry. The increasing utilization of CBD across various sectors, including health, beauty, beverages, and edibles, is expected to reshape societal perceptions of CBD and cannabis.” Euromonitor stated about its new report.

Back in December, the same month that Japan’s government lifted its ban on cannabis-derived medications, the nation’s Health Ministry banned products containing one or more specific synthetic cannabinoids. Six synthetic cannabinoids total were listed in the new ban.

A March 2023 analysis by Comprehensive Research Report found that the global CBD market is projected to reach $59.43 billion by 2030. The researchers estimated that the global CBD market was worth $18.43 billion in 2022.