Cannabis edibles are hot news in Canada this month. They may be regarded as ‘old school,’ but new amendments under the Cannabis Act came into effect on October 17, 2019 – a year after recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada - allowing the production and sale of cannabis edibles in stores and online. This update to the cannabis Canada laws has resulted in much hype among politicians, retailers and consumers.
News surrounding cannabis Canada policies has been closely monitoring the legalization, roll-out, production and sale of cannabis edibles. From mid-December, licensed retailers across the country will be able to sell edibles in stores and online. The delay from legalization to shelves is due to the required 60-day notice companies must provide to Health Canada of their intent to sell cannabis edibles.
What are the new products coming to the market and what do they look like?
But it is not that simple. Restaurants, for example, will not be allowed to serve food containing cannabis, and cannabis Canada rules stipulate that cannabis edibles can't be seen as ‘appealing to young persons’ in order to keep them out of the hands of children.
Although recreational cannabis has only been legal in Canada for a year, the reality is that people have been smoking it for much longer. Edibles, on the other hand, have not been as prevalent - even among longtime cannabis users. Legalization will now present new choices to many people - and so awareness and education are vital - for retailers and consumers alike.
Cannabis Canada News - What you need to know:
- The experience of consuming cannabis, in the form of edibles, differs significantly from smoking or vaporizing it.
- The level of the active cannabis ingredient, THC, in edibles, can take from 30 – 90 minutes to reach the bloodstream and the brain, and so it takes a while to experience the euphoria (‘high’); whereas the effects from smoking or vaporizing cannabis are almost immediate.
- Health Canada recommends “Start low, go slow” and look for products that contain 2.5 mg of THC or less to start
- Because the effects are delayed, there is the danger that individuals may consume more cannabis than intended before the effects of the earlier dose are felt. (WARNING! Overconsumption can result in very unpleasant experiences – panic, paranoia, cognitive and motor impairment, sedation, anxiety, cardiac stress and vomiting - via The Globe and Mail.
- The impairment from cannabis-infused edibles generally lasts longer (from 12-24 hours) than when cannabis is smoked or vaporized (around 4-6 hours).
- Clinically, the absorption of THC into the digestive system is slow and unpredictable and will vary among individuals. These personalized effects are impacted by the amount of food already in the digestive system, a person's weight and metabolism, the type of food present in the digestive system, and how an individual's liver breaks down food.
Why this is important:
Due to variation in the absorption, duration and delayed effects of cannabis edibles, awareness and responsible usage are paramount. This has significant and particular importance for those who intend to drive, those responsible for the care of children, as well as for employees in safety-sensitive workplaces who have ingested cannabis, as the impairment of cognitive and motor abilities is likely to be affected for a longer period of time.
Despite the imminent legalization of cannabis edibles in Canada, caution is advised when it comes to experimentation.
As the second wave of cannabis Canada legalization hits the streets and stores this winter with the addition of cannabis-infused edibles for recreational use, there is likely to be quite a stir. As the new laws develop, they may be confusing to some, and so retailers and consumers need to be informed and educated as to how the sale and use of cannabis edibles could impact them.
RCU is an awareness platform providing education on regional laws and evolving policies, prioritizing safety regarding cannabis usage, as well as empowering consumers to make responsible and informed cannabis choices – at home, in the workplace, and on the road.
Visit RCU’s campaign, DontBeSorry.ca, to stay informed and updated on the evolving cannabis laws and impaired driving penalties across Canada.