The world's leading medical marijuana company, Canopy Growth (CGC -2.77%), just unveiled its fourth-quarter financials, and the performance reaffirms its status as the top dog in this emerging industry. The results are particularly important because they include the first six weeks of sales from Canada's new recreational marijuana market. Before you buy shares in this top cannabis company, here's what you should know.

1. Still the big kahuna

When top competitor Aurora Cannabis (ACB -1.13%) reported quarterly results earlier this week, it said it nabbed recreational market share of 20% and that recreational sales represented 21.6 million Canadian dollars of its CA$54 million in net sales. Canopy Growth crushed those figures.

Marijuana buds sitting next to a stack of $100 bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

Its CA$83 million in revenue was 54% higher than Aurora Cannabis' haul. In the past, Canopy Growth has estimated its medical market share exceeds 30% and it appears it's executing even better in the recreational market. Using Aurora Cannabis 20% recreational market share figure and its CA$21.6 in recreational sales, we can estimate total recreational sales were somewhere around $108 million. Canopy Growth's recreational sales were CA$57.7 million, so by that back-of-napkin math, it nabbed a whopping 53.4% of the estimated adult-use market last quarter.

Check out the latest Canopy Growth earnings call transcript.

2. Product mix is improving

In the same quarter last year, Canopy Growth sold 2,330 kilograms of marijuana. In Q4, it sold 10,102 kilograms -- a 335% increase.

Importantly, a lot of the marijuana it sold was as high-margin products. Specifically, oils and soft gels accounted for 33% revenue in the period, up from 23% last year. In the medical marijuana market, these products represented 42% of revenue. They accounted for 30% of recreational market revenue.

Increasing revenue from oils and soft gels, plus the potential to sell vapes, beverages, and edibles in Canada at some point, should help improve gross margin. After adjustments for non-cultivating subsidiaries and excise taxes it absorbed, gross margin was 40% last quarter. That's low relative to peers, but Canopy Growth believes that as new facilities ramp to scale and value-added products launch, margin will trend up over time. By comparison, Aurora Cannabis' gross margin was 54% last quarter.

Marijuana buds in front of an American flag.

Image source: Getty Images.

3. Its U.S. strategy remains on track

In January, Canopy Growth announced it had obtained a license to process hemp products in New York state. It plans to invest up to $150 million to become an anchor tenant in a hemp-focused industrial park at a location to be determined. In its earnings conference call, the company told investors that it has identified the site for this industrial park and negotiations are ongoing. 

Management isn't tipping its hand on what could be the first hemp-derived products to launch in New York, but they did suggest that health and wellness products for pets and humans are being targeted, and that if everything goes as planned, the first of these products could be available in New York by the end of 2019 or the first quarter of 2020.

As far as plans to expand into other U.S. states, CEO Bruce Linton said on the conference call with investors it will be "sooner than later," but he also added, "It will depend on politics."