Edibles are now legally available in Canada and chocolates, gummies, mints, candies, beverages, and baked goods can contain up to a maximum of 10mg of THC per package (with unlimited CBD).
Labelling is federally regulated by Health Canada, so there are certain things that must appear on packaging by law. Alongside health warning messages and dried cannabis equivalency information, you’ll find useful information about cannabinoid (CBD and/or THC) levels and the rest of the ingredients in each product.
What are edibles?
While it might sound obvious, ‘edibles’ are cannabis products that are designed to be eaten or drank. The official category name is ‘ingestible extracts’ and includes baked goods like cookies or brownies, gummies, and mints, as well as drinks such as pre-mixed beverages and drinks that can be diluted. Onset times vary between products -- drinks can be felt within five minutes but other edible products can take up to four hours for effects to be felt.
What must legal edibles list?
Ingredients are an essential part of any edible product labelling (infused or otherwise) and cannabis edibles must include a full list of every ingredient, including any potential allergens such as milk, soy, and gluten. Labels must also state if sulphites have been added.
Cannabis-specific nutrition fact tables (NFTs) include information such as calories from fat, carbs, and protein, as well as other details about calcium, potassium, iron, and sodium levels. Edibles cannot contain any nicotine, or added alcohol, minerals, or vitamins. There are limits on caffeine (mainly to allow for the naturally occurring caffeine found in chocolate and tea).
THC and CBD content will also be displayed on the packaging, as the total per package (up to the limit) and as the total per discrete unit (e.g per gummy in a packet of more than one).
Why are legal edibles important?
While dried flower can be visually examined, touched, and smelled to get an idea of quality, it’s impossible to know exactly what’s in a black market edible. Aside from not knowing what kind of cannabis is in the edible, it’s hard to know what extraction method was used and how clean the conditions were when the product was made.
Legal edibles are strictly regulated by Health Canada in terms of extraction methods, ingredients, and labelling -- they are also capped at 10mg of THC to prevent accidental overconsumption, which was happening with some black market edibles as consumers either had no idea how strong they were or didn’t wait long enough for effects to take place.
Black and grey market edibles have been linked to cases such as that of a 70-year-old New Brunswick man who had a heart attack after consuming a 90mg THC lollipop, and numerous stories about children being hospitalized after ingesting edibles, thinking they were candies. There have also been anecdotal reports of mould and other contaminants.
To avoid unpleasant situations like this, legal edibles do not contain more than 10mg of THC per package, and the child-proof packaging is designed to stop accidental ingestion. There is also a move to make them less appealing to kids in general (e.g no gummy bears) or bright packaging.
Do edibles expire?
Health Canada mandates that edibles must have a ‘durable life date’ (aka best before date) if the recommended window to consume the product is 90 days or less (it’s optional for products with more than 90 days of durable life). The label must include the words "Best before" in the format year-month-day, where the year is optional.
All edible products must be ‘shelf stable’, meaning that they don’t need to be refrigerated, although you might want to keep edibles in the fridge in hot weather (same as you would for any non-infused gummies or chocolate).
Will Tantalus Labs be launching edibles?
Tantalus is bringing some of your favourite strains to our edible products, celebrating the best of British Columbia. We’re planning on launching THC-infused gummies in 2020 using flavours of BC-grown goods such as citrus, berries, and other local fruits. Additionally, in partnership with Postmark Brewing and Craft Collective Beerworks, we’ll be launching a beverage product with a uniquely west coast appeal.