Canadians’ appetite for cannabis edibles drops as second wave of legalization draws near: study
It appears that Canadians are becoming somewhat bored with legal cannabis and the appetite for edibles appears to be waning, according to a new study.
By October, cannabis-infused edibles are expected to become legal for purchase in Canada as part of a rollout that follows the legalization of the drug a year earlier. When cannabis officially became legal on Oct. 17, 2018, the Maritimes saw major lineups and a supply chain that couldn’t keep up with demand.
But when a new study from Dalhousie University led by Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agrifood Analytics Lab, sought to determine if public opinion had changed about cannabis legalization, the findings were surprising for the research team.
According to the results, it appears the high times around legal weed are fizzling out as Charlebois says Canadians seem uninterested in cannabis, especially when it comes to the legalization of cannabis-infused edibles.
“What we are getting out of the survey is that people aren’t quite as excited or enthusiastic about cannabis in general,” he said.
“With edibles coming on stream in a few months’ time, demand for edibles or cannabis-infused food products have dropped.”
In 2017, before legalization, 46 per cent of respondents said they were interested in trying edibles, but in the new poll, that number had dropped to 36 per cent.
WATCH: Canadians are becoming less open to trying marijuana edibles — poll
The second part of the study was conducted in April and polled more than 1,050 Canadians over a span of four days. It indicated that 37 per cent of the population consumes cannabis in some form or another.
In Atlantic Canada, that number is slightly lower, suggesting that nearly 33 per cent of the population uses the drug.
However, when it comes to cannabis-infused food or drink, it seems Canadians have changed their views.
“By seeing cannabis on the street and with many people consuming cannabis freely, we thought people would say once cannabis edibles become legal, it would be an opportunity for anybody to try cannabis,” Charlebois said.
The study points out that 70 per cent of those who have consumed cannabis have already tried edibles, which Charlebois says are the safer form of consuming the drug versus smoking dried cannabis or vaping.
“The human body was never meant to inhale drugs so eating an edible is less harmful to your health,” he said.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says using edibles is a safer option than smoking but warns that the effects are different and edibles take longer to kick in.
Strang says that with the legalization of edibles, safe storage of the product is one of the main concerns for health-care providers.
“Whether they are making their own edible products today, which is legal, or once they become legal for sale and purchasing them, safe storage in the home and keeping them out of the reach of children is a critical issue,” said Strang.
The edibles study also found that the legalization of cannabis has done little to change or take away from the black market, as 60 per cent of respondents said they still buy cannabis from unauthorized dealers. Charlebois attributes this to the lower price point of pot purchased from unauthorized sources.
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