The Impact of Cannabis Packaging Characteristics on Perceptions and Intentions


      As cannabis increasingly becomes a consumer product in the U.S., its product packaging has become critically important to regulators. This study examined the influence of recreational cannabis packaging characteristics.


      Five online between-subjects experiments were conducted in April 2021, and data were analyzed in May 2021–July 2021. Experiments randomized participants to view different (1) types of cannabis, (2) visual displays of tetrahydrocannabinol content, (3) cannabis packages designed around brand personality research, (4) health warnings, and (5) health claims. Outcomes included cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses.


      A total of 841 adults from the U.S. (49% male, 50% young adults, 44% White, 17% Hispanic) were included in the study. Edible gummies were perceived as healthier (β=0.32, 95% CI=0.03, 0.62), less grown up (β= −0.58, 95% CI= −0.86, −0.28), and more socially acceptable to consume (β=0.30, 95% CI=0.01, 0.59) than cannabis concentrate in a medical dropper. Participants also had more interest in trying edible gummies (β=1.33, 95% CI=1.04, 1.62) and trying a free sample (β=1.30, 95% CI=1.01, 1.60) than trying cannabis concentrate. Cannabis packages with a helps-you-relax health claim elicited more happy (β=0.34, 95% CI=0.04, 0.64) and good (β=0.37, 95% CI=0.07, 0.67) feelings than cannabis packages without this claim. Minimal effects were found for visual displays of tetrahydrocannabinol content and health warnings.


      Edibles are a unique type of cannabis that should be given special consideration under state laws, and lawmakers should consider limiting and governing the use of both implicit and explicit health claims on recreational cannabis packages when implementing laws.
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