On October 17, 2019, pot-infused edibles, extracts and topicals were made legal nation-wide with the exception of a few provinces who chose to delay the legalization of these products until further testing could be done. On December 17th, they were officially legal for purchase by select retailers, but a lack of inventory pushed back the selling of these items to January 6th. Now, these products are for purchase and have filled stores in what is being called “Cannabis 2.0.” During the first day of legal procurement, Canadians proved that there was a market for these products as inventory sold out within a few hours.
The Market for Edibles
Edibles have been a popular way to consume cannabis and gain the psychoactive effects of THC for years. From pot brownies to cookies, people have been infusing baked goods and crafting their own creations for personal use. The black market has also capitalized on this preferred method of consuming the drug, despite a lack of regulation on the products and the amount of THC they contain.
With the release of Cannabis 2.0, many are wondering if the distribution of black market drugs will lessen. Due to the initial price of edibles, extracts, and topicals, however, there are questions on whether or not that will be the case. While legal distributors have attempted to price their products competitively, there is still a market for the products and at a cheaper cost. Additionally, there are regulations on the amount of product that can be purchased, which is believed to be reason enough for individuals to purchase from illegal sources.
Black market products pose a risk to individuals, however, as a lack of regulation on the amount of THC included in the edibles is unclear. Additional ingredients also pose a threat, as a teenager in the United States found out, after vaping caused double lung failure.
Understand Their Impact
The release of legal edibles in Canada has caused some to wonder what their effect may be on an individual’s health and wellness. Smoking cannabis brings it’s own concerns to the forefront, but the impact that edibles have on the body must be considered separately. When cannabis is consumed, specifically THC, it takes the body longer to process the drug. It has been estimated that it can take up to four hours to feel the full effect of the drug after it has been ingested. The issue is that consumers are looking to experience the effects of the drug right away, causing them to consume more than the recommended dosage. As a result, experts are predicting that cannabis-related emergency room visits will increase due to overdoses.
Dr. Lawrence Loh, a professor at the University of Toronto, explains the signs that someone has overdosed on the drug. “There are psychotic reactions so people may lose touch with reality, sometimes in the form of hallucinations or delusions and also anxiety or panic attacks along with decreased judgment.”
Additionally, ingesting cannabis can cause THC to remain in a person’s system for longer periods of time, causing them to experience the psychoactive effects of the drug for longer than they may want, or realize. It has been estimated that the impact of THC can be experienced for up to twenty-four hours after initial consumption.
How Should Businesses React?
The legalization of pot in Canada has caused employers to implement randomized drug and alcohol testing. With edibles now available on the market, businesses may need to integrate additional testing to ensure employees are fit to work and are not consuming these products while on the job site. Furthermore, as the effects of the drug can remain in the system for longer, educating employees about the impact it can have on their overall performance in the workplace should be top of mind.
If you are considering providing Reasonable Suspicion Training to your managers or are looking to be trained yourself, give us a call. We can walk you through the process and help ensure that safety within the workplace remains a priority for your team.