“The [cannabis edibles] consumer is probably not who you think it is,” said Linda Gilbert, formerly Managing Editor, Consumer Insights cannabis data company BDS Analytics. “The average age of a cannabis consumer is 42. This is not an 18 year old living in his parent’s basement.”

As marijuana legalization expands, so does its consumer base. More and more users of all ages and backgrounds are looking to experiment with this trendy new ingredient — but they’re not necessarily coming to it in order to “get stoned.” Many turn to cannabis as a natural way to take the edge off of anxiety, manage their pain, or just relax. “They’re doing it for more health and wellness reasons than recreational purposes,” emphasized Gilbert.

But unless they’re a historic marijuana user, they don’t necessarily want to smoke something. Instead they’ll turn to edibles. “[There’s a] cultural shift of acceptance,” said Merril Gilbert, founder of cannabis dosage labeling company TraceTrust. And more and more companies — even Big Food companies — are starting to notice.

Scott Riefler, VP of Science for cannabinoid company Tarukino, pointed out that cannabis is rapidly becoming a food ingredient in its own right. “It’s something that can be added to the culinary experience,” he said. In fact, cannabis can be a functional ingredient in everything from wine to chocolates. And as it becomes more widely legalized, its applications (and user base) will spread.

In this conversation from Smart Kitchen Summit 2018, I talk with these three panelists about the burgeoning cannabis edibles market — and where we can expect it to grow from here.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking play below, download here or find it on Apple Podcasts.

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