Consuming cannabis flower can be intimating. If you aren't familiar with how to consume it, it can also be a process. Then there's the health drawbacks of smoking, and a still debated (and socially stigmatized) effects of vaping.
Plus, if you do somehow smoke or vape, who knows how stoned or inebriated you could get after just one toke? For many, it's just not worth the risk.
But for many who are canna-curious or coming back to consuming after years away, there is a sort of entry level product that not only contains cannabis or cannabinoids, but is also dosed to a precise amount.
You might even call it a "gateway."
"I hate the term gateway," says Christine Smith, founder and CEO of Grön, one of the largest producers of cannabis-infused edible gummies and chocolates in the Pacific Northwest. "But they are the gateway into the future."
Smith acknowledges that's exactly the role edibles, in particular gummies, are playing in helping mainstream cannabis to the larger culture. She isn't alone in that assessment.
Roberto Laposse, co-founder and CEO of edible brands RR Brothers and Catri, see's edibles as essential to breaking the public's perception that cannabis is unhealthy.
He thinks gummies are a game-changer.
Originally from a generational candy-making family, he likened the trend towards edibles, especially gummies, to the trend in candy-making away from sweets and towards wellness.
"If we go to vitamin section, there's more gummies every time," Laposse said. "Because a lot of the people, when they commit to calorie consumptions like sugar-consumption, one way to limit it but still get a treat is 'I can only have one or two gummies because that's what gives me my vitamins too."
On top of being perceived as healthier than smoking or vaping, edibles can also be precisely dosed to the milligram, something not currently possible with most other forms of consumption.
"They're familiar, predictable and available at really low doses," Smith said. "It's the most consistent way to consume, if they're tested. It's the most consistent way to be able to manage a micro-dose amount."
That consistency and being able to manage a "high" where part of why smith founded Grön in the first place.
I really didn't even touch a plant until I was 39 years old. I was new to this," she said. "I was looking for products that were approachable to a consumer like me... I was looking for a micro-dose product that could honestly replace the effects of alcohol and help me enjoy my children and do homework with them at night."
Smith estimates that in most recreationally legal states, edibles make up between 12-17% of market sales.
According to cannabis industry data-tracker Headset, in the last 90 days, edibles have made up just short of 9% of cannabis sales in Arizona, between the medical and recreational market.
In more established California, it's about 14%.
Smith attributes variation's between markets to population age differences and taste preferences.
So why are gummies all the rage? Although Headset's data isn't granular enough to show how much of the edible market gummies make up, Smith estimated consumers choose them 70% of the time.
"I'm not sure why," she laughed. "Just like the hamburger is America's favorite fast food, gummies are the edible."
Both Laposse and Smith attribute some of gummies supremacy to the fact Americans grow up eating fruit snacks, and many other vitamins and pharmaceuticals have eschewed tablets for gummie-like offerings.