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Preliminary Data from Swiss Cannabis Pilot Study Offers Insights into Consumption Trends

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Swiss authorities have released the initial findings from the pilot study conducted in Zurich, shedding light on the demand for legal cannabis in the country and its potential implications for public health across Europe.

Dubbed the “ZüriCan” study, the data divulges crucial insights into consumer behavior and preferences. Out of the 2,100 participants, 1,928 are currently enrolled and eligible to purchase cannabis as part of the study. Notably, there is a substantial gender disparity, with 80.7% of participants being men, echoing previous surveys indicating a male-dominated cannabis consumer base in Switzerland.

The study, which primarily attracts individuals between 28 to 32 years old, emphasizes frequent consumption habits, with a majority of participants indulging in cannabis four or more times a week. Alarmingly, a quarter of participants exhibited signs of cannabis use disorder prior to their involvement in the study, as confirmed by the Cannabis Use Disorder Identification Test (CUDIT).

Researchers underline the potential of regulated cannabis distribution to mitigate risks associated with consumption, especially for individuals with problematic usage patterns. They highlight the role of trained sales staff in offering guidance and prevention strategies, fostering a relationship of trust with consumers.

Expanding from five to nine products, including flower and hash variants with varying THC and CBD levels, the study has witnessed approximately 16,500 sales, amounting to around 140 kg (309 lbs) of cannabis products sold in five-gram packs. Despite lacking detailed consumer behavior breakdowns, the data underscores the efficacy of the distribution system.

Collaborating with the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, European cannabis company Cannavigia utilizes its Cannabis Dispensary System to monitor sales and consumption trends. Tobias Viegener, Head of Marketing at Cannavigia, lauds the study's initial findings as promising, indicating a favorable reception and effective distribution mechanism that could inform future cannabis policies and regulations.

The release of these preliminary findings marks a significant step in understanding the dynamics of legal cannabis markets and their impact on public health, setting the stage for informed policymaking in Switzerland and beyond.