Consumers' Perceptions of Edible Marijuana Products for Recreational Use: Likes, Dislikes, and Reasons for Use

Subst Use Misuse. 2018 Mar 21;53(4):541-547. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2017.1343353. Epub 2017 Sep 14.


Background: Edible marijuana products have become extremely popular in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Objectives: The goal of this research was to provide a better understanding of consumer perceptions of edible marijuana products, including why they prefer edibles relative to other forms of marijuana (e.g., smoking) and their concerns regarding the consumption of edibles.

Methods: We conducted eight focus groups (four groups in Denver, Colorado, and four groups in Seattle, Washington) in February 2016 with 62 adult consumers of edibles. Focus group transcripts were coded in QSR NVivo 10.0 qualitative analysis software, and coding reports identified trends across participants.

Results: Most participants preferred edibles to smoking marijuana because there is no smell from smoke and no secondhand smoke. Other reasons participants like edibles included convenience, discreetness, longer-lasting highs, less intense highs, and edibles' ability to aid in relaxation and reduce anxiety more so than smoking marijuana. Concerns and dislikes about edibles included delayed effects, unexpected highs, the unpredictability of the high, and inconsistency of distribution of marijuana in the product. No participants in either location mentioned harmful health effects from consuming edibles as a concern. Conclusions/Importance: The present study was qualitative in nature and provides a good starting point for further research to quantify through surveys how consumers understand and use edibles. Such information will help guide policy makers and regulators as they establish regulations for edibles. Also, such research can help inform educational campaigns on proper use of edibles for recreational purposes.

Keywords: Edibles; cannabis; focus group; marijuana; marijuana-infused products; perceptions; recreational.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Food*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Food
  • Male
  • Marijuana Use / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Marijuana Use / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Plants, Edible*
  • Young Adult