New Health Canada Data Suggests Cannabis Oils Are ‘Just Not Selling’

Published on September 6, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
Cannabis oils
Photo by Jesse Milns/Leafly

Data released this week by Health Canada show that Canada might be in an oversupply of oil, contrasting to earlier industries of a general cannabis shortage.

In June of this year, the last available month of data, almost 10,000 litres were sold, and the amount of finished inventory of il was 98,000—almost 10 times more than what was sold.

Meanwhile, on the dried cannabis side, almost 40,000 kilograms of  finished dried cannabis was in inventory, compared to just under 10,000 kilograms sold—a difference of just five times.Join the Leafly Canada CommunityWith the advent of edibles and concentrates, such as live resins and shatter, coming on to shelves by 2020, is Canada in a glut—an extreme over-supply – of the cannabis oil?

Right now, cannabis oils can only contain two things: an extracted resin as well as a carrier oil, typically MCT oil but sometimes other oils like hemp and peppermint.

They are usually meant for oral ingestion, a spray for the mouth, or to rub on the skin (at least two companies have sexual lubricant meant for skin, although it’s not a large focus of the market).

There’s no outright prohibition on cannabis oil as a smoked or vaped substance, which is what led Aurora Cannabis to become the first company to release a vape-able CBD-based cannabis oil in October, 2018. And still, that product is only available to medical patients.

But that all changes when the new products come online: oils and gel caps will be only one segment of the market. As part of the National Cannabis Survey conducted in the county, Health Canada data from August show that about 12% of cannabis consumers ate or drank cannabis.

Financial Post reported last week that the cannabis oils sold by companies such as Canopy Growth are “just not selling.” Retailers have had to heavily discount their cannabis, including the CEO of the company that runs retailer Nova Cannabis. Jamie Burns told Financial Post that oils appeared to sell better in their Toronto store rather than their collection of Alberta-based stores.

It’s certainly possible that there are geographic variations at play showing popularity of cannabis oils and oil-based products such as gel capsules in certain provinces.

Regardless, legal cannabis retailers will likely continue to price down cannabis oils, especially come mid-December, which is the first legal date retailers will be able to sell products in the new product classes including extracts, edibles, and cosmetics.

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Harrison Jordan
Harrison Jordan
Harrison Jordan is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and enjoys reading and writing about the regulatory affairs of cannabis in Canada and around the world.
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