Buying and investing in cryptocurrencies can be dangerous. There are thousands of different digital currencies, and choosing which one will be the next big thing is anyone's guess. Even a big name like Bitcoin might not be a surefire investment, especially as countries tighten rules around the industry (some have even banned cryptocurrencies entirely).
Instead of risking your money on digital currencies, you can put your money into safer growth opportunities. Telehealth and cannabis are examples of sectors that are rapidly rising in value. You might not see your money doubling or tripling in a short period, like you might with crypto, but in the long haul, they can make for better investments.
Cannabis is still in its infancy
Cannabis has similarities to crypto in the sense that it's a relatively new investment opportunity that's only recently been picking up steam. Even today, many top cannabis companies can't trade on a major U.S. exchange. Multi-state marijuana producers in the U.S. are in violation of federal laws as cannabis remains banned in the country. And thus, they have to trade over the counter.
Many, like Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF 4.06%), also trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange, a less popular exchange in Canada than the Toronto Stock Exchange, which also doesn't want businesses that are engaged in illicit activities.
Federal legalization of cannabis in the U.S. isn't imminent, and it could be years before anything happens on that front. But the federal government has effectively allowed cannabis producers (unofficially) to sell marijuana in states that have permitted its use. It creates a murky situation, but there's no reason at this point to suggest that will change.
And as more states have legalized marijuana, cannabis companies have been generating some fantastic numbers. Curaleaf expects its sales to potentially top $1.5 billion this year, up from $1.2 billion in 2021. Just a few years earlier, in 2019, the company reported only $221 million in sales.
And there is more growth ahead. Cannabis research company BDSA anticipates that the global industry will be worth $35 billion this year, and by 2026 that number will top $61 billion.
The growth opportunities are significant here, and with a business like Curaleaf that's growing and generating positive cash flow from its operations (totaling $57.4 million through the first three months of 2022), investors have a great way to tap into that growth.
And if you want some greater diversification, you can invest in a larger pool of cannabis stocks through an exchange-traded fund (ETF) like the AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF. But if cannabis is still a bit risky for you (the cannabis ETF has crashed 73% in the past year, and even Curaleaf is down 64% over concerns about a lack of marijuana reform), then there's an even safer option to consider: telehealth.
Telehealth looks incredibly underrated
In the past year, shares of the Global X Telemedicine & Digital Health ETF have fallen by 34%, performing worse than the S&P 500 during that time, which has fallen by 11%. It's proof that investors could be overlooking the sector right now, potentially dismissing its long-term opportunities. Unlike cannabis, this isn't a federally illicit industry.
Analysts expect big things from the segment. Grand View Research forecasts the global telehealth market to grow at a compound annual rate of 36.5% and hit a value of more than $787 billion by 2028. Fortune Business Insights is a bit less bullish, projecting that the market will be worth approximately $636 billion by that year. However, that projected compound annual growth is still impressive at more than 32%.
Telehealth has significant potential, and even top health insurer UnitedHealth Group has been moving toward pushing for the use of virtual visits to help keep costs down.
Through the Global X Telemedicine ETF, investors can gain access to some top stocks in the sector, including Teladoc Health, American Well, and Doximity.
Both of these options are better than crypto
A challenge with crypto is that it's highly speculative; determining what Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are worth is difficult because the industry as a whole is still a question mark. The recent volatility is a reminder of how quickly things can go south. It's akin to investing in an industry that's dependent on a commodity that can fluctuate incredibly quickly, and without much notice.
Although cannabis and telehealth stocks haven't been doing great of late, there's less risk in those industries overall, especially in the long run.