New cannabis regulations, which will allow for the legal sale of cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals in Canada, will soon take effect. With an estimated annual market valued at C$2.7 billion (C$1.6 billion for edible cannabis products alone) cannabis-related businesses are looking at a considerable growth opportunity.
As with any industry still in its infancy, producers and retailers of new cannabis products (“Cannabis 2.0”) can expect delays and frustrations; however, if they can navigate the new landscape and capitalize on the early advantages they already enjoy, Canadian cannabis producers and retailers could become leaders in the global cannabis market.
Cannabis 2.0 report
So, what do Canada’s current and likely cannabis consumers expect from Cannabis 2.0 and what products are they most interested in?
To answer these questions and more, accounting and professional services giant Deloitte conducted an online survey of 2,000 Canadian adults about their current and intended use of edibles containing cannabis; cannabis concentrates; cannabis-infused beverages; and cannabis topical ointments or creams, tinctures and capsules.
The survey was conducted in early 2019 and the results, along with insights gleaned from in-person interviews with individuals closely connected to the burgeoning cannabis industry, were published in the report Nurturing new growth - Canada gets ready for Cannabis 2.0.
There are a number of reasons why cannabis edibles are expected to capture such a huge majority of the market share for new cannabis products. Edibles are expected to make cannabis more accessible to a wider group of Canadians, including “cannabis-curious” consumers and experimenters, and older consumer groups who are expected to gravitate towards more familiar products like baked goods, confectionery, beverages and teas.
Microdosing — which is the practice of taking small amounts of cannabis in order to reap the medical benefits of THC while avoiding the psychoactive effects that can interfere with daily life — is another reason why edibles, which typically contain lower doses of THC, are seen as ideal for these consumer groups (referred to as “likely cannabis users” in the report).
Edibles may also be more desirable for likely cannabis users because:
- they’re easy to use
- they require no equipment or other paraphernalia
- they can be consumed discreetly
According to the report, current edible consumers are more likely to buy pre-made cannabis edibles rather than make their own, mainly because of the convenience.
Most popular cannabis edibles in Canada
Canadian cannabis consumers are eager to try many forms of cannabis edibles, from mints to savoury prepared meals. However, based on the survey, the most preferred types of edible cannabis among cannabis users are:
View all edible cannabis products included in the survey.
Regional consumer preferences tend to mirror nationwide figures, with some notable differences. View regional cannabis edible preferences among users.
Food safety and edible cannabis products
Cannabis edibles are considered cannabis under the law and will be strictly regulated under the Cannabis Act and its regulations. These regulations also address public health and safety risks, including food-borne illness and cross-contamination.
Find out more about regulations and restrictions on edible cannabis products.
More information about how to prevent food-borne illness and cross-contamination can be found on the CIFS blog.