Cannabis edibles will be legal for sale in Canada later this year, and the news media is breathless with anticipation.
Marijuana-infused food will «radically transform food and drink in the new year,» declares the National Post. «The market is enormous,» according to a recent Maclean’s headline. «It is just a matter of time before the edible market will represent the majority of the cannabis market in Canada,» proclaims Dalhousie University food professor Sylvain Charlebois in a recent article.
Canadian demand for commercial-grade, cannabis-infused food will be significant, no doubt.
But market data from four U.S. states shows consumer spending on cannabis edibles has been completely eclipsed by spending on another product category that will also become legal in Canada in 2019: concentrated forms of cannabis such as hash, shatter, budder or wax, and — above all — vape pen cartridges loaded with cannabis oil.
cannabis vape pens and their accompanying pre-filled oil cartridges. These devices are to the old-fashioned joint what e-cigarettes are to cigarettes: discreet, user-friendly gadgets that turn small amounts of cannabis oil into an inhalable vapour, less stinky than smoke and easier to inhale.
The remaining US$446 million was spent on other marijuana concentrates such as shatter, wax and hash oil. These are often used for «dabbing,» a more involved form of consumption that uses specialized equipment to deliver an especially potent hit of cannabis extract. (Dabbing is a relatively recent phenomenon, but cannabis concentrates are far from new — hashish is another cannabis concentrate that might be more familiar to older users.)
«All evidence from (Canada’s) friends in the south would indicate that concentrates, and especially vape (pens), will be a bigger market than edibles,» says Greg Shoenfeld, vice-president of operations with BDS Analytics.
That’s music to the ears of Rosy Mondin, CEO of Burnaby, B.C.-based Quadron Cannatech Corp., which manufactures extraction devices used to make concentrated cannabis oil and is developing cannabis vape pen hardware for the future Canadian market.