One year following recreational cannabis legalization across Canada, cannabis-containing edibles, extracts and topical products have become legal. However, these new products will not be on sale until at least mid-December as licensed cannabis producers can only now submit their edible and topical products to Health Canada for approval. These products will then be subject to an approval and procurement process, lasting approximately 60 to 90 days.
Cannabis edibles are products typically made using cannabis oils or dried cannabis flowers, and can serve as a good option for consumers who would like to avoid inhaling smoke from pipes or cannabis cigarettes. According to regulations published by Health Canada, the limit of THC per package is 10 milligrams (mg). In contrast, the THC limit is 1,000 mg (10 times higher) for cannabis extracts and topical products. According to a statement by Health Canada released to CBC News, the 10 mg limit for edibles was set to decrease risk of overconsumption, as well as lower the risk if accidentally consumed. Health Canada has also previously highlighted that the latency period after consuming cannabis edibles can vary from half an hour to four hours before the full effect is experienced.
The THC limit of 10 mg in edible products has already received some criticism for being too low. However, Simon Fraser University lecturer in nutrition and food science, Diana Bedoya, told CBC News that this regulation is reasonable. “It’s really hard to know the effects of these drugs on an individual,” she said. “You can add, but you can’t subtract.”
Due to the lengthy approval process, these new cannabis products could be available on the legal market starting in the middle of December, however, provinces will be able to regulate these products. Therefore, new products could be available in licensed cannabis retail stores, online, and at approved liquor stores, or not, depending on the provincial regulations.
Alanna Sokic, senior consultant for Global Public Affairs, told CTV News that the timeline of product release will be dependent upon the focus of individual companies and provinces. “I would say that B.C. and Quebec tend to take a more robust and certainly more aggressive public health approach to regulating industries such as cannabis,” she said.
Moreover, restrictions on locations where buying or ingesting edibles is allowed will be subject to strict regulations. Adine Fabiani-Carter, chief marketing officer of the cannabis company Tilray, told CTV News that these regulations could include not being able to buy cannabis beverages at a bar or eating a cannabis brownie in a public space. In addition, cannabis edible products such as candy, brownies, or other baked goods will be unavailable in Quebec.