Medical Marijuana Stocks to Watch in 2017
The medical marijuana business is set to explode. The drug has seen a global easing of restrictions, with many countries warming to the idea that cannabis can be used for more than just a good time. As such, identifying the best medical marijuana stocks for 2017 has never been more important.
When it comes to medical marijuana stocks to buy now, the average investor is faced with a number of tempting options. After all, the biomedical field is one that can often experience spurts of rapid growth and strong gains.
As an industry that is at the mercy of government legislation, testing results, and global integration of its products, there are many opportunities for big swings to occur in the market beyond an earnings report.
This makes biomedical stocks inherently a little more risky, but also leaves them more open for massive single-day gains. The medical marijuana business is no exception.
Which brings us to the lay of the land concerning the top marijuana stocks. Understanding the political and legislative climate surrounding medical marijuana is key to making sound investment choices.
And the trends are positive for medical marijuana stocks for 2017.
Following the U.S. elections, the total number of states that have legalized medical marijuana has been brought up to 29. The majority of the U.S., a country often considered more stringent and puritan in relation to its drug laws, have now decided that the drug is a suitable treatment for various ailments.
The Canadian government has even gone so far as to reportedly put a date on when it plans to fully legalize the drug: July 1, 2018. (Source: “Liberals to announce marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018,” CBC News, March 26, 2017.)
Other countries are following suit, with many allowing medical marijuana to be used as a perfectly acceptable treatment for a variety of ailments from issues deriving from cancer treatment to glaucoma.
The fact is that cannabis is experiencing a cultural moment in which it seems that the inevitable result is the legalization of all medical marijuana. With that in mind, the long-term future for the drug looks bright indeed.
But that’s only in the long term. Short-term investors, day-traders, or even those looking at the top medical marijuana stocks to watch as long-term holdings may all face difficulties in the early goings-on of the green revolution.
The future is certainly ripe with opportunity for the herb to become one of the fastest growing products on the market. There is the appropriate amount of hype, a demand vacuum that has up until this point been filled by criminals and a strong and dedicated user base around marijuana.
But the most important question that weed stock enthusiasts ought to be asking themselves is: how amenable are politicians to the growing push for medical marijuana legislation?
If investors believe that medical pot is not going to face any major political obstacles in the U.S. under President Donald Trump, they should jump in on medic marijuana stocks. If on the other hand, they’re concerned that politics could delay or even roll back some of the strides that medical marijuana has made then, naturally, it would be best to stay away.
While I believe that medical marijuana will be legal one day across the whole U.S., ultimately I don’t see that happening under this administration, at least not at the federal level. That, by no means, proves that pot stocks are not strong investments; it just means that it may take more time for you to see your investment come to fruition.
With all that in mind, let’s get to the top medical marijuana stocks list.
Medical Marijuana Stocks List
|Best Medical Marijuana Stocks to Watch in 2017||Stock Ticker|
|Cara Therapeutics Inc||NASDAQ:CARA|
|Insys Therapeutics Inc||NASDAQ:INSY|
|GW Pharmaceuticals PLC-ADR||NASDAQ:GWPH|
1. Cara Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:CARA)
If you’re looking for exponential growth numbers, few stocks perform as well as Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CARA). Shares of CARA stock have jumped a jaw-dropping 80% since the beginning of the year. Over the last 12 months, that number improves to 187%. It’s been a great time to be an investor in Cara.
But will the good times continue to roll? At the moment, it’s looking like that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
With two major cannabis-based drug candidates, “CR845” for acute pain and “CR701” for neuropathic and inflammatory pain, entering the final stages of testing, and there’s a good chance that these medicines are on their way to the market in the near future, barring any unforeseen delays.
In fact, as information trickles out concerning the treatments, this is a great time for investors to jump in on the stock. If Cara shows positive results from the trials, then expect the already-fast-growing stock to get another shot in the arm.
As mentioned above, the approval process and the unpredictability of what the results will be is a time of uncertainty for biotech investors. But it is a high-risk, high-reward situation that those looking to get into the medical marijuana game will have to be willing to bear.
Beyond that, CARA stock’s already powerful growth over the past year demonstrates that there is definitely money to be made investing in the top medical marijuana stocks for 2017.
2. Insys Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:INSY)
When it comes to Insys Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:INSY), you’re not only getting a strong company relative to other medial marijuana companies, you’re getting one of the fastest-growing companies, period.
Insys’s treatment “Syndros” is the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. As such, the company is operating at the moment without competition in that area, which is great for the company’s bottom line.
INSY stock jumped 10% since the beginning of 2017, and the stock in general is looking to make up for a poor 2016, during which it underperformed.
On the Fortune list of the 100 fastest-growing companies, Insys ranks fourth overall. The marijuana business is a definitive part of that potential. (Source: “Fortune 100,” Fortune, last accessed March 28, 2017.)
Insys had a run of good news, with Syndros being classified as a Schedule II drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The designation essentially means that Syndros is expected to have a beneficial effects, but carries with it a “high potential for abuse.” This category includes other popular drugs like “Vicodin” and “Adderall.”
Insys has been in a fight over the classification of Syndros for years, having previously petitioned to have the drug reclassified as a Schedule IV drug, meaning it carries a low risk for abuse. This petition not only failed, but served to delay the drug’s target action date. (Source: “Insys cannabinoid drug Syndros given Schedule II status,” BioPharmaDive, March 24, 2017.)
Still, Schedule II status is a decent result, and an improvement from marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug. Of course, many people have taken issue with the DEA’s treatment of weed, as lumping it in with objectively more harmful drugs like heroin and methamphetamine has long been a sticking point between pot advocates and the government.
I’d expect that, as marijuana continues its push for legality and into the mainstream, we will see the DEA change its stance on the classification, but I doubt that will take place under this administration.
Syndros is still expected to bring in at least $200.0 million in peak annual sales, and the building momentum behind the drug should be enough to propel INSY stock.
3. GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH)
GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH) has a long history in the medical marijuana field. Having researched cannabis-based treatments since 1990, there’s a strong pedigree there that should make investors feel comfortable with the company. And with a promising new drug entering late-stage trials, there’s a good chance that GWPH stock is in for another boost.
“Epidiolex,” which treats epileptic seizures, is seeking to gain approval from the FDA. A positive outcome would send GWPH stock flying. (Source: “Top 4 Medicinal Marijuana Stocks to Watch for 2017 (ABBV, GWPH),” Investopedia, February 27, 2017.)
GW stock has already jumped by 8.43% since the beginning of 2017, and by nearly 50% over the past 12 months. The company has a number of exciting treatments coming down the pipe and should expect to see strong, steady growth throughout the year.
Medical Marijuana Stocks for 2017
Now you have your best medical marijuana stocks for 2017, which I believe will all see big gains as the year progresses.
A final wildcard worth mentioning is the uneven administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, at least when it comes to marijuana.
While former president Barack Obama held a laissez-faire stance on cannabis and instead let the states exercise autonomy when dealing with marijuana, federal law and the rule of preemption (which means federal law supersedes state law) would allow the Trump administration to make life more difficult for marijuana producers.
“Marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws. So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide,” said U.S Attorney Jeff Sessions in a conference last month. (Source: “Trump and his attorney general are freaking out the $7 billion pot industry,” CNBC, March 14, 2017.)
Sessions added: “It’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it. And I’m not in favor of legalization of marijuana. I think it’s a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize.”
Trump, on the other hand, expressed a different opinion on the campaign trail. “I think it’s up to the states,” said Trump in an interview with a Denver television station back in August 2016, in response to a question about marijuana sales. “I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.” (Source: “Brandon Rittiman’s Trump interview transcript,” 9NEWS, August 3, 2016.)
How the Trump administration ends up enforcing its laws will have a grand impact on the industry at large.
So there’s uncertainty in the market, but there’s also room for investors to make a killing.
New Frontier Data, a technology-driven analytics company specializing in the cannabis industry, said that the legal marijuana market was worth an estimated $6.6 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $24.0 billion by 2025. (Source: “Legal Cannabis Sales Projected to Grow,” PR Newswire, March 15, 2017.
With such room for strong growth, above list represents the best medical marijuana stocks to buy now.