Despite the fact that edibles are unlikely to play a role in Canada’s cannabis framework anytime soon, a new study suggests that nearly half of Canadians are interested in trying THC-infused treats once cannabis becomes legal next summer.

“Curiosity seems to be driving consumers to want to try a food product, an edible, and the number one choice is bakery goods,” said lead author Dr. Sylvain Charlebois of Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Management.

Charlebois and Dr. Simon Somogyi surveyed 1,087 people and found that 46 percent of Canadians would try cannabis edibles including baked goods, oils and spices if they were to become commercially available.

Thirty-nine percent said they would be willing to try edibles in a restaurant setting, while only 20 percent said they feel knowledgeable enough to make them at home.  

“I think there’s a huge void around public education with marijuana,” said Charlebois.

“As a group of researchers, we’re very concerned that we’re just not having this discussion right now around edibles.”

As it stands, the federal government’s Cannabis Act doesn’t include the legalization of cannabis edibles – only dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis plants, cannabis seeds and cannabis oil.  

“It’s clear that the government has its head in the sand ... Pretending that edibles don’t exist is somewhat misguided because they do exist,” said Charlebois.

“Health Canada actually recommends ingesting marijuana instead of smoking it for medicinal use."

“It’s healthier! So, if people are tempted to try marijuana but they don’t want to damage their lungs, the edible solution becomes a very attractive one.”

The same survey also found that 68 percent of Canadians support recreational cannabis legalization, and that by and large, they do not think edibles would replace alcohol for them.

“Our point is, regardless if C-45 will allow it or not, people will actually try [edibles] one way or the other,” Charlebois said. “I think we need to legalize edibles and make sure we have the proper regulatory framework to support it.”

Not legalizing edibles could very well mean the black market will continue to thrive, said Charlebois. Not only that, but a lack of edible dosage and packaging regulations could mean children will remain at risk of ingesting them.

“For parents out there, if you don’t have the proper regulatory framework, Halloween will become much more scarier than it is now,” Charlebois said. “Going through bags of candies, you never know what you can find… Like cannabis-infused gummy bears? Are you serious? That’s what they were finding in Colorado before they banned them.”

h/t CTV News