Among the different types of cannabis products available today, the infused product marketplace has experienced tremendous growth. Cannabis-infused foods, known commonly as “edibles,” have garnered their share of the spotlight as more products become available on dispensary shelves in the form of baked goods, drinks, and other foods.
Edibles are popular among recreational cannabis consumers, but medical cannabis patients can benefit from edibles, too. Medical patients cannabis often favor edibles for their ability to provide longer lasting relief to chronic symptoms. They also provide an alternative method of intake for patients who prefer not to — or cannot — smoke or vaporize cannabis.
As the size of the infused product marketplace continues to grow, it’s become increasingly important to gather data about consumer perceptions of edibles and their patterns of use. In response to the lack of academic research on the growing edibles market, a recently released study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence examined data gathered from Twitter to find out what consumers are saying online about their experiences with edible cannabis.
In the study, researchers collected and analyzed over 100,000 tweets related to edibles from a three-month period. They found that states where medical or recreational cannabis is legal have more Twitter activity associated with edibles. Unsurprisingly, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington had the highest proportion of unique Twitter users posting about edibles.
However, perhaps more interesting was what Twitter users had to say about edibles. Analyzing data from Twitter revealed that most edible consumers had largely positive experiences. 56.8% of tweets described favorable feelings or positive experiences with edibles, while only 13.2% of tweets indicted negative experiences (the remaining tweets conveyed a neutral sentiment, or were media stories or advertisements). Consumers who tweeted positively about edibles emphasized common themes; many posted about how consuming edibles allowed for a better night’s rest.
When tweets conveyed negative experiences, consumers often posted about issues related to over-consumption. Consumers cited inconsistency of THC and delayed effects as two concerns. After analyzing the content in these negative tweets, researchers concluded that “user’s lack of practical knowledge concerning edibles” was a main cause of these undesirable experiences.
With edibles and the infused product market growing rapidly in popularity, it’s important the cannabis industry is characterized by consistent products, clear labeling, and consumer education. Trusted brands committed to reliable and effective products should also commit themselves to consumer education to ensure better, safer experiences overall.
For more information about how patients and consumers can consume edibles responsibly, check out Leafly’s Edibles 101.