Know the Pros and Cons of Cannabis Edibles

Deloitte says that the Canadian edibles market could reach 2.7 billion Canadian dollars per year. Cannabis 2.0 could help cannabis stocks recover.

Sushree Mohanty - Author

Nov. 20 2020, Updated 11:56 a.m. ET

Cannabis-infused edibles are now more popular than the traditional forms of marijuana. People have long been familiar with smoking marijuana. But now marijuana producers have come up with various options to consume cannabis. Let’s explore the different types of cannabis products as well as the pros and cons of consuming them.

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Smoking marijuana versus eating marijuana-infused products

Smoking marijuana has always been an option for those who want to consume it. However, people may soon have other ways of consuming cannabis, which includes food products infused with marijuana.

However, multiple side effects of vaping marijuana, including lung diseases, have been recently reported. Although marijuana vaping hasn’t been conclusively proven to be the reason for the illnesses, it has created some anxiety among marijuana users.

Alternatively, enthusiasts may look to edibles as a preferred option. There are some who believe the edibles format may be better than smoking. Research shows that since the body treats weed as a food product when ingested, the breakdown process is similar to any food item.

Some may even consider ingesting edibles to be a healthier choice than smoking. However, one of the downsides is that the effects of edibles may last longer compared to smoking cannabis.

The negative effects of smoking marijuana include exposing people to tar, carbon, and carcinogens. These effects are amplified when people source their products from the black market. For example, some of the recent cases of vape-related cases originated from illegal products. These products were found to include Vitamin E acetate, which causes various health problems.

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Infused edibles for medical patients

For recreational users, early edibles include brownies, cookies, gummies, chocolate bars, beverages, snacks, spreads, and macaroons. While the edible format will soon be available to recreational users, medical patients have accessed edibles in some form. For example, there are several types of medical cannabis products available in the market. Medical cannabis patients have a variety of oral options to consume cannabis, including tinctures, lozenges, oils, lollipops, and gum.

Do Canadians want to consume cannabis?

The market potential for edibles is projected to be huge. A Deloitte survey revealed that the Canadian edibles market could be worth 2.7 billion Canadian dollars annually. The study also showed that among current and likely marijuana users in Canada:

  • 48% are likely to use cannabis chocolates.
  • 49% would prefer to use brownies.
  • 50% would prefer to use cookies.
  • 48% are likely to use gummies.
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Which marijuana companies are offering cannabis edibles?

Recently, Canada legalized edibles, vapes, and concentrates. Many Canadian marijuana companies are in the process of producing a variety of products for the next phase.

During its earnings call for Q4 of fiscal 2019, HEXO Corp. (HEXO) announced that its edibles products would hit the stores within the first six months of 2020. HEXO is also launching a variety of cannabis-infused beverages through its partnership with Molson Coors.

Recently, Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) also announced the launch of 30 marijuana-infused products for the Cannabis 2.0 expansion. According to an October report by CTV New Ottawa, Mark Zekulin, the then-CEO of Canopy Growth, said that “offering cannabis drinks and chocolate bars is the next big thing in the recreational pot economy.” To learn more about Canopy’s next wave of products, take a look at Canopy Growth: A Cannabis 2.0 Update.

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Overall, the hope is that Cannabis 2.0 could help cannabis stocks recover the losses they suffered in 2019. How it could translate into earnings for top cannabis players is anyone’s guess. After all, investors are treading the cannabis sector with caution following several earnings misses and unfulfilled promises.

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What the research says about marijuana

Research has shown that the psychological effects of consuming cannabis are different from smoking. While there is still a lot of ongoing research, some regions of the world are viewing the early studies positively.

First, cooking or baking cannabis exposes it to a certain temperature. This process converts many of the inactive components of cannabis that have helped some patients with various health conditions. These conditions include autoimmune disorders, nervous system disorders, chronic pain, muscle inflammation and spasms, insomnia, and nausea.

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Last week, I discussed in Are Cannabis Edibles Coming to Maryland Soon? that Maryland is allowing edibles to be part of its medical marijuana program. Although Maryland doesn’t allow adult-use marijuana, the popularity of edibles is rising. Additionally, research is showing the benefits of edibles. As a result, the state chose to change its regulations.

On the other hand

In contrast with the pros, cannabis edibles also have many cons. Nick Jikomes, Leafly’s principal research scientist, discussed the effects of edibles in a July 2019 Vice article. With edibles, it can be difficult to get the dosage right, resulting in a larger-than-expected quantity. Because it usually takes 30–90 minutes for edibles to kick in, a person may not realize how much cannabis they have consumed.

In addition, the effect of edibles persists longer than when smoking marijuana. Moreover, there have been reports that edibles have caused symptoms like extreme sedation, paranoid delusions, hallucinations, and confusion.

According to Jikomes, “The issue isn’t that [weed is] metabolized differently, it’s that it’s gonna get metabolized to different degrees in different parts of the body, depending on the route of administration.”

Opposing views

Jay Denniston, an analytical chemist and the director of science at Dixie Elixers, disagrees. He says that the effects of cannabis depend on factors like the person’s metabolite and what other products the person has consumed during the day.

I feel this is why the US government wants more research and data before marijuana can be legalized federally. However, quality research requires funding, which is more likely when federal marijuana legalization happens.


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