Companies Look for New Ways to Make Cannabis Appealing for Non-Smokers

Smoking a joint is not something everyone finds appealing anymore. Health warnings and widespread knowledge about the ill-effects of smoking have made people more fearful of the consequences.

To combat this, Canadian entrepreneurs are bringing out new products that can use recreational cannabis in socially acceptable ways and without causing a cloud of smoke surrounding the user.

Some of the products being developed are high end vaping devices that are very discreet, while others are methods of adding cannabis to sweets, food and beverages.  There are already edible marijuana products available that are a massive hit with the younger crowd, especially baked goods like brownies.

Industry experts have already felt the shift from smoking to using other forms of using marijuana. Beverages are the most popular alternative to smoking, some experts have said. This is likely because the social stigma around smoking does not exist while drinking. Statistics Canada’s 2016 Community Health Survey noted that only 17 per cent of Canadians smoke, while around 77 per cent of Canadians drink alcohol.

After legalisation, the cannabis market is forecast to grow rapidly, and products that use it in forms other than smoking-related methods are set to soar.

According to an article in CBC, in large cannabis companies, scientists are developing cannabis-infused cocktails.

“We’re going to create a platform of products that will be great for a party and in demand globally,” says Canopy CEO Bruce Linton. “We think beverages are going to fit in. They are also socially acceptable, right?”

Marijuana has no calories, which makes it a good selling point to those who fear weight gain from alcohol.

Consumers are looking for beverages that could make them a bit giddy without the calories of a traditional alcoholic drink. Experts have forecast that marijuana could steal around 20 per cent of the alcohol market, and many companies that are in the alcohol business are looking to cash in on the cannabis trend.

According to Consulting firm Deloitte Canada, research on potential cannabis users reveals that millennials would be the prime users of cannabis beverages.

Deloitte’s cannabis industry specialist – Jennifer Lee said producers have been able to remove the chemical in marijuana that tends to give people “the munchies” — the urge to eat anything and everything in sight. She also believes appealing to non-smokers is critical, the CBC article said.

“The whole concept of smoking [marijuana] still carries a stigma,” she was quoted. “As the formats change, more and more mainstream customers will start to consume the products.”

Deloitte forecasts that “smokable” weed will be a $5-billion market in Canada. At the same time, related products and services, including beverages, edibles and vapes, will be worth much more than that figure and reach anywhere from $12 to $22 billion by the time the market is fully up and running.

“I think that the protection that comes through government channels, with more rigorous product testing, will give people comfort that they can try the product and not worry about where it came from and whether it’s legal or even tested,” says Lee.

Government regulations will also apply to label marijuana beverages with information about the potency of the drinks, likely to be measured in milligrams of THC, the main mind-altering ingredient found in the Cannabis plant, per serving.