To say that marijuana stocks have been hot this year would be an understatement.
They’ve been on fire, with names like Hemp (HEMP), Cannabis Science (CBIS), and Medical Marijuana (MJNA) up 559%, 255% and 119%, respectively … and that’s after the big February pullback. As of Feb. 5, CBIS stock and HEMP stock were up twice as much as they are now.
Even with the dip, though, there’s still no denying this group is the market’s big story for 2014.
The question is, which of the rallies from the market’s most prolific marijuana stocks was built to last?
GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH)
YTD Gain for GWPH: 91%
Whenever a discussion of marijuana stocks materializes, GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) isn’t one of the names brought up.
But maybe it should be.
The value of GWPH stock has doubled this year alone on the heels of one and only product — Sativax. Sativex is a cannabinoid-based medicine that treats spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients, approved in several countries (though not yet in the United States).
The drug could be approved to do much more than that, however. Sativex also has shown great promise as a therapy for cancer pain, and GW Pharmaceuticals is developing other cannabinoids to treat epilepsy, type 2 diabetes and more.
The advantage GWPH might have over other marijuana stocks is that it’s an established, clearly legitimate company, with $47.6 million in sales for the past four quarters to show for it.
Medical Marijuana (MJNA)
YTD Gain for MJNA: 112%
Medical Marijuana (MJNA) — the owner of a handful of related cannabis companies including CanChew (cannabis gum) and PhytoSphere Systems (cannabinoid supplier) — might not be the biggest name among marijuana stocks, but it’s still playing the of poster child for the industry.
Indeed, its HempMedsPX subsidiary has been a publicity machine of late, sponsoring a couple of key industry associations, being featured on a San Diego news program, and unveiling a new CBD-rich hemp oil at the Natural Products Expo last weekend.
Moreover, it wasn’t that long ago that Medical Marijuana launched the industry’s first armored transportation service, and inked a deal with a home-based business organization that is allegedly going to yield an order for more than $1 million worth of hemp oil product.
Point being, MJNA has talked the talk of late. Let’s now just hope it can walk the walk. It’s going to take a lot more than $1 million worth of hemp oil sales to justify the market cap of $310 million.
Cannabis Science (CBIS)
YTD Gain for CBIS: 258%
While most of the stocks that have gone hog-wild during the recent wave of marijuana mania, Cannabis Science (CBIS) — like GW Pharmaceuticals — is intensely focused on turning cannabinoids into prescription medications. Specifically, Cannabis Science is taking aim at HIV/AIDS and cancer, with two separate studies, both of which are in pre-clinical stages right now.
Ergo, CBIS stock could be grouped with biotech stocks just as easily at could be lumped in with marijuana stocks.
Whatever the categorization, though, the 270% gain Cannabis Science shares have doled out this year makes it one of the market’s very best.
Hemp, Inc. (HEMP)
YTD Gain for HEMP: 513%
While Hemp, Inc. (HEMP) scores zero points for moniker-creativity, the company’s name is certainly a fitting one.
Much like Medical Marijuana, Hemp is actually a collection of companies … Marijuana Inc., the website MarijuanaInc.TV, Herbagenix and Eco-Harmony to be specific. But, be careful when comparing HEMP stock to other marijuana stocks, because it’s been made clear that the company’s goal is to advance the potential of hemp, as opposed to cannabis.
Cannabis has medical and recreational uses, while hemp — the strongest natural organic fiber known to man — can be used to make everything from medicine to food to paper to building materials, and more.
All the same, HEMP has been treated like most other marijuana stocks, and has been just as rewarding. Year-to-date, HEMP stock is up more than 500%.
Tranzbyte Corporation (ERBB)
YTD Gain for ERBB: 1,255%
While names like Medical Marijuana and Cannabis Science are working to develop hemp-based and cannabinoid-based products, Tranzbyte Corporation (ERBB) is tapping into the marijuana craze from a slightly different angle … its mission is to develop fledgling companies and product ideas, then once those businesses are up and running, Tranzbyte will spin them off into their own publicly traded companies to current owners of ERBB stock.
Whatever the business model is, one has to give the company credit for creativity. Tranzbyte recently announced its ZaZZZ line of recreational marijuana vending machines that will be placed in marijuana dispensaries.
Good idea or not, investors love what Tranzbyte Corporation is doing. ERBB stock has gained well more than 1,000% since the end of 2013, making it top dog among all the marijuana stocks for the year so far.
As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.