Don’t Blame the Package: CBD Edibles are for Adults, and You Know It

Numerous state legislators have advanced the legality and availability of cannabidiol (CBD) and related products across the country. Recent legislation passed in many states has made available a number of CBD goods, such as vape juice, topicals, pet treats, and wax dabs. CBD has been researched to help reduce the effects of childhood Epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Even folks with anxiety, insomnia, and other stress/depression related issues have been prescribed CBD as a form of treatment more today than ever before. Doctors across the US recognize the potency and potential for cannabis products to treat a rising number of social disorders, medical issues, and chronic diseases.

Why do some people have a problem with the packaging of CBD edibles?

Yet, despite increased interest in prescribed CBD, and the mounting scientific evidence behind its efficacy, there’s also a growing concern among some communities – especially large groups of parents within these communities – that CBD products are being target marketed to their kids. Here’s why: Often, cannabidiol is prescribed or otherwise instructed to be taken orally, but, cannabidiol honestly does not taste good. Mind you, it doesn’t necessarily taste bad either, but there’s a blandness and a general lack of flavor that has caused many CBD product manufacturers to explore ways to make the cannabis component more appetizing. Naturally, one of the ways manufacturers have adapted CBD products to the market is to put it in other ingestibles, like gummies, lollipops, baked goods, and so on.

Parents’ concerns stem partially from a misunderstanding about the effects of CBD compared to its sister component – THC. Other growing concerns, however, are the products’ packaging and marketing efforts – as, often, the specific products that are being sold with CBD in them are products historically marketed to children. Gummies, brownies, and lollipops – according to said concerned parents in states where CBD has already been democratically legalized – are products made for, with packaging made for, children. Explicitly children.

Why the argument doesn’t hold up

Here’s my problem with that. I like gummies, brownies, and lollipops. I’m in my thirties. I don’t want my CBD to be dispensed via dropper directly onto my tongue if I can help it. Am I barred from flavored, alternative-delivery-system products because candies and baked goods are for children? Should “adult gummies” with an ingredient such as cannabidiol be packaged any differently than their “child” equivalent?

My answer to those questions is a flat no, since their argument is wholly ageist and presumes their complete lack of agency as consumers.

We should, perhaps instead,  recognize that the product itself is the reason for its particular packaging style, regardless of the ingredients and intended consumer base? Copious amounts of sugars, saturated fats, and other harmful ingredients go into the non-CBD versions of these very same products and should be as much a concern for parents. When children see fun, neat, or bright packaging on non-CBD lollipops, they’re similarly drawn to the product. Marketing is meant to draw the eye, captivate, and encourage consumption – this is not new, and isn’t a practice used exclusively – or even largely – on children.

It’s a parent’s job to flip the package over, find the ingredient list and nutritional values statement, and determine its effect on their child. Just like it’s my job to do the same for either version of the product made available to me, CBD or otherwise. The packaging, the marketing, is a long-standing system of consumerism that has no obligation to the larger ethic of the people. We, the consumers, have the power and control to keep our eyes open and our wallets shut if we deem a product unfit for ourselves or those for whom we are responsible.

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