Interest in cannabis oils may be outpacing edibles

An analysis of internet searches shows Canadians are more interested in a smoke-free alternative that's already available.

Cannabis infused food and beverages have been pegged as the next major opportunity in cannabis as Canada prepares to legalize products made from extracts – such as edibles, vaporizers and beverages – later this year and provide a new option for consumers looking for smoke-free alternatives.

But a look at what Canadians are researching online suggests they are currently more interested in a product that is already available to them: oils.

Advertising technology and research company Quantcast analyzed the internet search data of users searching for cannabis-infused products across Canada this year to gauge their interest in a range of different cannabis products.

Cannabis oil is the most searched-for product in Atlantic Canada (where 61% of respondents have searched for it), the Prairies (59%), Ontario (57%) and Quebec (51%). Comparatively, edibles were searched by 18% of users in the Prairies, 14% in Ontario, 13% in Quebec, and 8% in Atlantic Canada.

British Columbia was the only province in Quantcast’s data where interest in edibles was highest, with 57% of internet users in this group searching for information about edible cannabis, compared to 20% for oils.

While cannabis-infused beverages have been a major area of investment from the world’s largest beverage companies, interest among Canadians is currently low, with searches in the single digits across all regions.

While oil remains the most searched-for product, with 49% of the group across Canada searching for it in June alone, interest in edibles is on a steady rise, with searches making up roughly a quarter of internet searches in February to 39% in June.