First Insights From Swiss Pilot Cannabis Sales Show Shift To Safer Consumption Trend, Fewer Purchases At Illegal Market

Zinger Key Points
  • The first data recorded from a pilot study on the controlled dispensing of recreational cannabis shows a shift in consumption trend.
  • More than 700 people enrolled in the study, out of which 80% of participants are males.

The first data recorded from a pilot study on the controlled dispensing of recreational cannabis in the canton of Basel-Landschaft are now available.

This study, named the "Grashaus Projects," is one of seven approved by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). The primary objective of these pilot projects is to understand the implications of regulated cannabis access. Insights derived will inform potential future cannabis regulations in Switzerland.

Under this pilot project set to last five years, cannabis stores opened in Allschwil in December with professional "budtenders". These trained socialists are educating consumers on safer use and offering information and advice on various products, including dried flowers, hashish, edibles and extracts.

Sanity Group, a German entity and the sole non-Swiss company involved in the Swiss pilot projects brings the first data.

More than 700 people enrolled in the study, which is created to include up to 4,000 consumers, writes Cannabis Health. Approximately, 80% of participants are males and around a quarter are aged between 23 and 27 years.

As part of the study, consumption behavior, and the physical and mental health of the participants are recorded. Furthermore, social impacts are also analyzed in partnership with the public prosecutor's office.  

Read Also: Switzerland Launches Cannabis Study With 7.5k Participants & More Pot Updates In Europe

Favoring Lower-Risk Forms Of Consumption, Illegal Sales Decline

Among the most important findings, six months into the program is the trend toward lower-risk forms of consumption.

Around four months into the study, a decline in average flower and hashish use was noticed. Extracts, vapes, and edibles had the biggest growth. More precisely, extract sales have risen 50% since the launch. The analysis suggests that it is possible that the "targeted professional advice" caused this change in the trend.

The initial reaction to the study is positive. "Security of supply" and "product quality" were the key reasons for taking part. During these six months, more than 5,000 products including 35kg of marijuana flowers and about 4kg of hashish have been dispensed.

Another significant finding is that the proportion of parallel purchases of products from the illicit market seems to be declining in line with this.

"The fact that we have been able to record such initial successes, thanks in part to targeted professional advice in the sales outlets, is a hopeful development," said Professor Michael Schaub, scientific director of the Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research ISGF, guiding the study. "Because the aim of the pilot project, to make high-quality, safe products from controlled sources available to consumers and thus to minimize health risks in particular, is of course always the focus."

Schaub concluded that the idea is to destigmatize cannabis use and "create an evidence-based basis for the further legalization debate in Switzerland."

Continue reading on Cannabis Health.

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Photo: Courtesy of Nuva Frames via Shutterstock

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Posted In: CannabisNewsTop StoriesEurope cannabisGrashaus ProjectsMichael SchaubSanity GroupStories That MatterSwiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research ISGFSwitzerland cannabisSwitzerland cannabis pilot projects
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