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Reducing the Risks

Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines

Choosing not to use marijuana 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 marijuana 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 marijuana you can reduce risks to your health by:

  • Not mixing marijuana with tobacco, alcohol or other drugs
  • Avoiding deep inhalation or breath-holding
  • Using vaporizers rather than smoking joints, blunts or water pipes
  • Using products with a lower THC content, or if using a more concentrated product (like hashes, oils and waxes) using only the minimal amount needed
  • Not driving for 3 to 4 hours after use or longer if impairment continues

It is riskier to mix marijuana with alcohol or other drugs including some prescription medication such as opioids and sleeping pills.  Mixing marijuana with alcohol or other drugs may produce an unpredictable reaction (like sudden dizziness, nausea and vomiting or worse).  It can also increase the addictiveness. When tobacco is combined with marijuana, the risk of respiratory problems as well as the risk of developing cancer is increased.

Marijuana 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.  Marijuana edibles take longer from the time they are eaten to the time you feel high (up to 2 hours) and 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 a marijuana overdose resulting in anything from dizziness, nausea and vomiting to seizures.  Start with a small amount and go slow.

Concerned about your use? Take this self-quiz and check where you are at with weed.

Need help?

If you or somebody you care about experiences difficulty controlling their use seek professional help.  For resources in your community contact:  Connex Drug and Alcohol Help Line.


 [SL1]Link to Health Effects page


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