Int J Drug Policy. 2022 Mar 8;103:103645. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2022.103645. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Cannabis edibles were legalized for recreational use across Canada in October 2019. The Canadian Cannabis Act requires legally produced edibles to be sold in plain single-color packages with limited branded elements and prominent health warning labels, serving size and nutritional information, and product ingredients including amounts of cannabis compounds. Little research, however, assesses what consumers think of standardized packaging, and how product packaging influences perceptions of cannabis edibles.
METHODS: Eight focus groups with young adults (ages 18-24; n = 57) were conducted in November 2018. Participants were recruited from a Canadian university, and asked to assess sample images of cannabis packaging approved by Health Canada. They then discussed the information they would like to see on packages. Focus group discussions were transcribed and analyzed using a descriptive, qualitative approach following methods of process evaluation and inductive coding.
RESULTS: Discussions generally pertained to four main themes: dosage and consumption recommendations; food and nutritional information; concerns for children; and health warning labels. Participants suggested improvements for cannabis packaging, including standardized THC units, non-numerical consumption instructions, and unit-dose packaging. Instead of recommending packaging that deters consumption, participants requested packaging features that promote safe consumption by adults while also protecting children. Findings reveal how packages function as communicative objects that convey meanings about safety and risk, yet these meanings may not resonate with Canadian young adults’ perceptions of cannabis as relatively safe.
CONCLUSIONS: While the packaging regulated for use in Canada may be assumed, due to its plain, standardized format, to communicate « little », we highlight tensions in the meanings of such packaging to young adults-especially around competing ideas related to safety and risk.
Source: ncbi 2