Last year, some Switzerland shops began selling low-THC cannabis as a tobacco substitute, and it has been such a success that retailers are having trouble keeping up with demand.
Switzerland, who legalized the sale of low-THC cannabis in 2011, saw a spike in sales last year when low-THC strains were introduced as a safer alternative to tobacco. One of the strains, Fedora, is grown by Bio Can and features only 0.04 percent THC, opposed to the 7.2 percent CBD. The manufacturer claims that it contains all the active ingredients of cannabis, including the calming effect of the CBD. This would allow the consumer to benefit from the medicinal aspect of cannabis without the intoxication.
A spokesperson from the country’s Customs Agency anticipates that low-THC cannabis could yield Switzerland $25 million in tax revenue.
“It started gradually last year, and then suddenly things went crazy in December 2016 and in 2017,” the spokesperson said in the report.
Another cannabis wholesaler, KannaSwiss, has increased their staff from five to 20 in the last few months, and according to Corso Serra di Cassano, the company’s co-founder, it is still difficult for them to keep up with the demand.
“You feel like you should be high, because you have a body high, but your mind is completely clear,” di Cassano said. “We’re really seeing the boom in the last month or two.”
Some in the medical community are still concerned with the product. Even though the THC is very low in the products, they feel that there could still be health risks involved when consuming it. Police have also spoken out against it because it is difficult to differentiate between low-THC cannabis and traditiona, high-THC cannabis, which is illegal in Switzerland.
The vice-president of the Swiss Society of Addiction Medicine, Barbara Broers, expressed concerns that the cultivators may be using harmful pesticides on their plants.
“We don’t know what is in it,” she said. “There are inadequate checks of really what is in the substance.”