Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Beverages are barely a blip in legal cannabis markets today.

Data from jurisdictions in the United States where infused drinks are already legally available shows they make up about one per cent of sales, essentially a rounding error. BevCanna, which started trading publicly on the Canadian Securities Exchange earlier this month, is one of several companies attempting to dramatically alter that sales mix.

The company expects to receive its cannabis processing licence from Health Canada before the end of 2019 and have its first infused beverages on Canadian store shelves by early 2020.

Story continues below advertisement

The British Columbia-based beverage company commissioned an online survey earlier this year of 2,000 people – half of them in Canada and the other half divided between California and New York State – in hopes of learning what might motivate existing cannabis consumers to start buying infused drinks.

While the sample size is small and surveys conducted via the internet are far from the most reliable, the results nonetheless yield some interesting insights into existing consumption preferences and potential buying intentions among the cannabis community.

Delivery systems

Combusting and inhaling dried plant matter remains by far the most popular method of cannabis ingestion across all three jurisdictions, the results showed.

  • Cannabis-infused foods were also among the top choices despite California being the only one of the three areas surveyed where edibles are legally available.
  • Beverages, however, can be found towards the bottom of all three lists of preferences.

Emma Andrews, BevCanna’s chief commercial officer, said the reason beverages were so low on the list was a result of “distribution and availability.”

“In Canada obviously they are not legally available yet and that is a big barrier to people consuming [beverages] and in the United States there is the challenge of manufacturing because it has to be done on a state-by-state basis and that makes it harder for someone to get into the game so it is mostly smaller entities,” Ms. Andrews said.

Frequency of consumption

The challenge facing cannabis-infused beverage makers could not be more bluntly displayed. Even among existing cannabis consumers, more than half of respondents in all three jurisdictions have never once tried an infused drink.

Story continues below advertisement

  • In California, the only jurisdiction among the three canvassed where those products are widely (and legally) available, less than one third of cannabis-consuming respondents said they drink more than one or two cannabis-infused drinks over the course of a year.
  • And in Canada, nearly three out of every four cannabis-consuming respondents have not once, ever, ingested the drug in a drinkable format.

That result “doesn’t surprise me at all,” Ms. Andrews said. “The technology has not existed until recently to create water-soluble beverages, so previously if anyone was going to tinker around and create a beverage it was going to be what is called a crude extract and it wouldn’t dissolve into water. You would have a really bad experience because it wouldn’t be homogenous, so that is why there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for consumers to try those products to date, but now that we are in a legal economy, companies have been able to develop and commercialize the appropriate technology to make a water-soluble beverage. That is where Health Canada has really positioned the regulations, meaning every single sip has the exact same potency so the consumer has a really predictable and reliable experience.”

Intent to consume

The Globe and Mail

Given the growing level of attention and excitement around products containing cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant alongside its more inebriating cousin THC, it is perhaps not surprising that CBD-based edibles generated the highest levels of purchasing intention. Why food products appeared more popular than beverages across all three regions surveyed, however, is less clear. “It is probably just because of the convenience factor,” Ms. Andrews said. “If you think about a 500ml beverage compared to a small bite of chocolate or a mint or a lozenge, that discreetness between the two is very different.”

Preferred product format

Most of the cannabis-infused beverages on the market today come in single serving, ready-to-drink containers. The data suggests regardless of whether the beverage contains CBD or THC, that is precisely the form factor consumers in all three jurisdictions prefer.

“Consumers are convenience driven,” Ms. Andrews said, “they want something that is ready to drink versus something that needs to be mixed, even if that latter option might give you more versatility ultimately, but the ready-to-drink is all about convenience.”

Related reporting:

‘Our legalization is really this year’: Valens GroWorks’ EVP on extracts

Truss’ targets for cannabis-infused beverages raise industry eyebrows

Organigram announces ‘rapid-onset’ drinks, while analysts advise investors to dampen their expectations

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies