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10 Ways to Reduce Risks When Using Cannabis


Let's be blunt - with such big changes on the horizon for cannabis legalization, it's no wonder that Western University students are confused about who can consume cannabis, and where they can do so legally.

As recreational cannabis use becomes legalized in Canada, make sure you educate yourself on the myths vs. facts.

Here are some recommendations from CAMH's Lower-Risk Guidelines to help make safe decisions if you choose to use cannabis.

1. Avoid using cannabis

Every form of cannabis poses risk to your health. The only way to completely avoid the risk is to simply not use. If you choose to use cannabis, here are some recommendations to use cannabis more safely.

2. Start using later in life

Even short-term cannabis use can cause cognitive impairment. Remember, you brain is still developing until you are 25 years old!

3. Know your product

Higher-strength or more powerful cannabis products are worse for your health. If you consume, choose products with lower THC content or a higher ratio of CBD to THC. Only purchase from the Ontario Cannabis Store.

4. Smoking is most harmful

Smoking cannabis is the most harmful because it directly affects your lungs. There are safer, non-smoking options like vaping or taking edibles that are better for your lungs. Keep in mind that these alternatives aren't risk-free either.

5. Avoid inhaling deeply or holding your breath

These practices increase the amount of toxins absorbed by your lungs and the rest of your body. They can lead to lung problems.

6. Limit your use as much as possible

The more frequent you use cannabis, the more likely you develop health problems and dependence. Limit cannabis use to occasional use at most (once a week) is a good way to reduce your health risk.

7. Don't drive under the influence

Cannabis use can cause both physical and cognitive impairment. These effects typically last at least 6 hours, it varies depending on the person, product and consumption method.

8. Avoid mixing with alcohol

Cannabis has similar impairment effect as alcohol. Mixing with alcohol will increase your level of impairment and could cause greater health concerns.

9. Understand the consumption methods

Different methods of cannabis consumption have different onset of effect, peak effect and different duration that effects will last. Smoking and vaping have the quickest onset and peak effect times, but the effect doesn't last as long. The effects can start before you even finish smoking or vaping! Ingestion has a slower onset time, you may not experience the effect until an hour after ingesting cannabis!

10. Always start small

It takes time for the effects to start. Always start with a very small amount: one inhalation or a very small amount ingested. Wait at least 10 minutes before inhaling again and 60 minutes before ingesting any more.


Burning Questions: Let's get some answers

*Educational information provided by the Ontario Cannabis Store website


What are the substances in cannabis?

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short, is the most common cannabinoid in cannabis. It is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating "high" that may be experienced when it's consumed. Cannabidiol or CBD for short, is another common cannabinoid in cannabis. When consumed, CBD affects various processes in your body but does not produce an intoxicating effect.

How do I know how much cannabis to consume?

The effects of cannabis vary from person to person and will also depend on the type of product and method used for consumption, along with other personal factors. If you're new to consuming cannabis or looking for a milder psychoactive effect, choose products with lower THC potency or cannabis products that contain CBD. If you prefer to avoid any potential for intoxication, opt for 100% CBD products.

How long can THC stay in my system?

This always depends on how much you consume, how you consume it and your genetics, age, gender and other personal biological factors. Effects can take up to 24 hours to fully dissipate, but THC can be detectable in the bloodstream for up to seven days or more, depending on several factors, including frequency of use.

What effects might I typically expect from cannabis strains with moderate
      THC levels?

Cannabis directly interacts with the brain and central nervous system. THC generally produces an intoxicating or impairing effect, even when very little is consumed. In moderate consumption, effects may include a sense of relaxation and pleasant euphoria. THC can also cause unpleasant or harmful effects. Senses may be heightened. The effects vary from person to person and will further depend on strain, consumption method and personal factors like genetics, existing mental health conditions, current mood, age, personality and gender.

Do all cannabis products make you "high"?

No. Cannabis products containing THC will have an intoxicating effect or produce a "high". However, some cannabis products are exclusively CBD and generally have no intoxicating effects.

Can you get "high" from second-hand smoke?

It depends on the environment and condition, but generally unlikely. However, second-hand smoke is harmful, but the relationship is mediated by several factors, including the amount of smoke, frequency of use, ventilation and more. Cannabis smoke irritates the throat and lungs, and contains chemicals and tar that are similar to tobacco smoke, which can raise risks for cancer, and lung disease.

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Last Modified on October 19, 2018 4:38 PM, by [DR]