Open wide: Cannabis edibles in Canada are just around the corner

Sweet, savoury, even healthy—get ready for the world of legal edibles in Canada.

When Canada decided to stall the legalization of edibles and infused beverages for a whole year after the opening of the adult-use market, people were disappointed, to say the least. But their patience is about to pay off: this year’s holiday season will see the first round of edible cannabis products hit the shelves.

Canadian edibles: An alternative way to consume cannabis

The launch of the edibles market is part of what’s being called the second wave of cannabis legalization in Canada, which also includes concentrates, vapes, and topicals. It’s set to open the door to a number of new adult consumers that may have had their reservations about current consumption methods.

The truth is, not everyone wants to smoke cannabis. As new ingestion methods are designed and innovated on, people who may not be inclined to inhale a joint are discovering cannabis can meet their needs and preferences in new ways. With legalization 2.0, we’ll continue to see different methods of delivery become mainstream in the cannabis marketplace.

This is where edibles come into play. The sheer variety of upcoming products means that there is something for virtually every taste and lifestyle. More than any other cannabis product category, edibles can appeal to consumers from a taste-driven perspective, providing an enticing alternative to a joint or oral spray. 

Where we might see limitations, however, is in their visual appearance. Under Canadian regulations, edibles can’t be aesthetically appealing or enticing to children. The government has left it in the hands of companies to be innovative within those restrictions—so who knows what we’ll see on the shelves come December 2019?

It’s way more than just brownies

Licensed producers are capturing their corner in the baked goods market by introducing unique offerings or high-end treats that can’t be easily replicated at home. But they also know that it’s important to stick with the classics—we’ll soon see the likes of cakes, cookies, doughnuts, fudge, and many more sweet delights infused with just a little something extra.

And it doesn’t stop there. Sweet-toothed cannabis lovers will have a wealth of options in the candy aisle as well. Gummies, hard candies, chocolates, taffies, and sours will be available—as long as they abide by regulations when it comes to appearance and the 10mg THC maximum per package. Still, they’ll be a great option to bring along and pass around at parties or to gift your friends.

If you’re someone who prefers a little salt at snack time, there’ll be plenty of options for you too. Cannabis coated nuts, infused beef and pork jerky, and salty pretzels are just a few of the products sitting at the other end of the flavour spectrum.

Staying healthy won’t be a problem

Considering that edibles are likely to appeal to consumers who are looking for a healthier alternative to smoking, it seems a little ironic that most edible cannabis categories fall under the ‘junk food’ umbrella. But with a growing health and wellness sector that’s developing a massive health-conscious following, there’s no shortage of consumer demand for low-sugar, low-calorie, and low-sodium options in the edibles space. That said, Canadian regulations have indicated that edibles cannot have added vitamins or minerals and brands won’t be able to make health-related claims—leaving the products to speak for themselves.

In L.A., we’re already seeing infused gummies and baked goods marketed as vegan, organic, and dairy-, sugar- and gluten-free. And once fully incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, low-cal cannabis treats could serve as relaxing post-workout treats that keep both the lungs and waistline happy. Companies trying to stand out in what will be a $4.1 billion industry by 2022 in Canada and the US alone understand the need to creatively appeal to wellness-conscious consumers.

Drink up!

Often ignored in the cannabis edibles discussion, cannabis-infused beverages promise to make up a huge part of the market. So far, cannabis is being added to iced tea, soda, sports drinks, coffee, and even non-alcoholic beer and wine—and manufacturers are working hard to make sure that consumers still get the taste they expect when consuming these beverages.

Part of the appeal of these refreshing cannabis-infused drinks is that they offer an easy alternative for consuming cannabis and these products can seamlessly slide into social spaces traditionally dominated by alcohol. More young adults are cutting back on alcohol intake than ever before, and cannabis beverages provide an option to enjoy weekend drinks with friends, saving you the Sunday morning hangover.

Canada’s legal cannabis edibles are just around the corner. Soon, you’ll be able to go to your local cannabis store and get a taste of what these cannabis companies have been cooking up.

Want to learn more about cannabis and how the industry in Canada is changing? Read more of our industry insights here.

Photos: SageElyse / Shutterstock, Oksana Mizina / Shutterstock