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Reducing the Risks

Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines

Choosing not to use cannabis is the only way to avoid the health risks related with its use.

Delaying use until the brain is fully developed - usually by age 25 -reduces the long term effects on the developing brain.

You should avoid using cannabis if

  • You have a personal or family history of psychosis (i.e. Schizophrenia)
  • You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • You have a history of heart disease or low blood pressure  
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

If you choose to use cannabis you can reduce risks to your health by:

  • Using products with a lower THC content and high CBD:THC ratio
  • Not using synthetic cannabis products (Spice, K2) as they are dangerous and can cause death
  • Not mixing cannabis with tobacco, alcohol or other drugs
  • Avoiding smoking cannabis - choose safer ways of using e.g. vaporizers or edibles
  • Avoiding deep inhalation or breath-holding
  • Avoiding daily or near-daily use
  • Not driving or operating machinery within 6 hours of using cannabis or longer if still impaired

It can be dangerous to mix cannabis with alcohol or other drugs including some prescription medications such as opioids and sleeping pills.  Mixing cannabis with other drugs may produce an unpredictable reaction (like sudden dizziness, increased intoxication, nausea and vomiting or worse).  Combining tobacco with cannabis increases the risk of addiction, respiratory problems and cancer.

Cannabis edibles such as cookies, brownies or gummies look like regular candy or baked goods and could be mistakenly eaten by children and should be kept in a safe place.  Cannabis edibles take longer from the time they are eaten to the time you feel high (up to 2 hours) and the effects stay in your system longer. It is impossible to determine exactly how much THC is in one of these products. These factors can easily lead to consming too much THC which can result in symptoms including:

  • rapid heart rate
  • dizziness
  • ·nausea and vomiting
  • mental confusion
  • hallucinations
  • extreme paranoia

So if you choose to use edibles, start with a small amount and go slow! For more information: Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines

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