First of all, when we talk about cannabis in food, what exactly are we talking about?
“It can be a confusing area,” said Euromonitor analyst Zora Milenkovic.
Cannabis is the plant genus name which is recognized to have three species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
These contain both cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in varying degrees.
THC is the main psychoactive active substance that makes marijuana users feel ‘high’ while CBD is a phytocannabinoid said to have calming, anti-inflammatory effects. Someone who drinks a CBD-infused soda will not feel high afterwards.
Hemp is grown on an industrial scale and has many uses, from animal feed to biofuel, clothing to car parts. Hemp seeds are high in healthy omega-3 fats and protein, and are a popular health food ingredient. They contain extremely low levels of CBD and are free from THC.
While the CBD content in hemp seed oil is low, you can obtain meaningful levels of CBD from hemp buds and flowers, and it is possible to see food, beverage and supplement products labeled as "full spectrum hemp extracts", without specifically calling out the CBD content.
In Canada, meanwhile, recreational and medicinal cannabis is legal and edibles are expected to be fully legal in October this year. But CBD is not a legal Natural Health Product, or NHP, which currently excludes its use in dietary supplement-type products.