Cannabis edibles expected to hit Manitoba shelves this week
Some suppliers sent stock to Manitoba retailers by air on Monday
Cannabis edibles are expected to hit Manitoba shelves this week.
It's been legal to buy derivative cannabis products — referred to in the industry as "cannabis 2.0" — which include edibles, drinkables and oil products, since October. According to provincial wholesaler Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, those products began to flow from suppliers to pot shops December 16.
"We can't fly the planes faster to get the products here," said John Arbuthnot, CEO of Delta 9 Cannabis, a licensed cannabis producer and wholesaler.
He said their first air shipments of vape products and edibles left suppliers Auxly in Prince Edward Island and Aurora in Toronto on Monday.
"Barring the weather, which I'm looking out the window and it's a little snowy, we should be expecting these products in store within the next few days."
The new cannabis products are subject to Health Canada regulations that came into play a year after cannabis became legal on Oct. 17, 2018. Monday marked the end of a 60-day review period between Health Canada and producers' applications to sell the 2.0 products, which allowed Health Canada to request more information and raise any concerns.
The first types of products Delta 9 will sell include vape oils, pens, cartridges and disposable pens, as well as gummies, chocolates and mints.
The CBC reached out to the province's other cannabis retailers, but did not hear back by press time on when edible products would be available on shelves.
"We've been working with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries and with these producers direct for several weeks organizing these shipments, it will be another few days before those products are arriving in the bricks and mortar retail stores in the province," said Arbuthnot.
Edibles are defined as anything that can be ingested that contains a form of cannabis, specifically a limited amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the active ingredient in cannabis associated with its 'high' according to Manitoba oncologist.
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"I do caution people to go slow, go low," said Dr. Paul Daeninck, an oncologist with Cancer Care Manitoba and assistant professor at the University of Manitoba who has studied marijuana.
Health Canada has limited the amount of THC to 10 milligrams per discreet edible product, he said, but that might be too much for people who haven't tried it before.
"So if you have a cookie, you're going to have a cookie that has ten milligrams of THC in it. That also means that if you crack the cookie in half, you should be able to get 5 miligrams in each half of that cookie, they do require that it's equally mixed in all portions of that edible," Daeninck said.
"Giving someone a cookie and just asking them to take a bite and wait for an hour is a really difficult thing. It might be better to crack that cookie into much smaller bits, and putting that aside, especially if you have never tried it before."
At high doses, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can cause hallucinations, paranoia and euphoria associated with a high, he said. Arbuthnot said their new products will be either THC or CBD (cannabidiol) based, or a blend of both.
"CBD tends to not give you any of that [high], it's more of an immunomodulatory [drugs that adjust the immune response] agent, it has other sort of medical effects, and that's why many people are seeking out products that have CBD in them," said Daeninck.
He said edible cannabis takes longer to take effect, but lasts longer than cannabis that is smoked. While effects of smoking a joint can last two to three hours, he said, the effects of taking an edible can last between eight and twelve.
Daeninck added THC is not recommended for people with schizophrenia, paranoia, psychosis because it can precipitate an attack. People with unstable heart disease should avoid it too, he said, as THC puts extra stress on the heart, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, because THC can travel through the placenta and into breast milk.
"We continue to talk about restricting it to people who have completed their brain development, we usually talk about people who are greater than 25 years of age," he said.
Arbuthnot said drinkable cannabis products are expected to hit Manitoba shelves by January.