Know how cannabis affects you

Cannabis is a plant that has hundreds of chemicals. Some of these chemicals are called cannabinoids, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is psychoactive, meaning it affects your brain to create a “high” feeling, while CBD is non-psychoactive. Some research shows that CBD may help treat specific medical conditions.

Leaves and buds from the cannabis plant can be smoked or vaped. Cannabis can also be used to make oils and waxes that are either smoked, vaped, eaten or drank. 

Cannabis can affect people differently. It can make you feel happy, relaxed and talkative or it may cause unpleasant effects. These can include confusion, sleepiness, anxiety, fear, panic, paranoia, delusions or hallucinations.

Know how cannabis affects you 

There is still a lot to learn about cannabis. Here are a few things to know so you can keep your mind and body safe and healthy:

The effects of eating or drinking cannabis take longer to feel and last longer than smoking or vaping.
Different strains of cannabis and the way you use it can have different effects.

The effects of smoking or vaping cannabis can be felt within minutes and can last up to 6 hours. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects from eating or drinking cannabis. These effects can last up to 12 hours.

Cannabis smoke can be harmful to your lungs.
Inhaling any kind of smoke can harm your lungs.

Burning cannabis and rolling papers produces smoke that has the same harmful chemicals and carcinogens as the smoke caused by burning cigarettes. These harmful chemicals are made by combustion and are not found in the cannabis plant.

Smoking cannabis often can lead to chronic bronchitis, which is a cough that doesn’t go away, lots of mucus and wheezing. Smoking cannabis can also lead to more infections in your lungs, like pneumonia.

Cannabis can lead to dependence.

Regular cannabis use can lead to psychological and physical dependence. The risk for dependence is higher for frequent users and people under 25.

Dependence typically happens when a drug is used repeatedly and your body adapts to having cannabis in your system.

If you are dependent you can experience unpleasant feelings called withdrawal symptoms when you reduce how much you use or stop using. Withdrawal symptoms can include feeling irritable or anxious, having an upset stomach, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite and sweating.

If you are concerned about your cannabis use or someone else’s use, there are places you can turn to for help.

Cannabis can lead to mental health problems. 

Using cannabis can increase the risk of experiencing psychosis and schizophrenia, especially if you are a teenager, use everyday or almost everyday, or someone in your family has or had these conditions.

Cannabis impairs your ability to drive safely.

Cannabis impairs the skills everyone needs to drive safely, like judgement, quick response time, attention and coordination. Nobody should use cannabis and drive.

If you are 21 and under, there is a zero tolerance law for impaired driving.

Instead, plan a safe ride with a friend, use OC transpo, Lyft, Uber, or a taxi.

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Know where to go for help 

Don’t hesitate to get help if using cannabis is affecting your life. There are places to go to if you need help managing your use or if you have withdrawal symptoms.

Signs you may need help with your cannabis or other drug use inclue:

  • Ignoring responsibilities at work, school, or home.
  • Giving up activities that you find important or enjoyable.
  • Using the drug more often.
  • Feeling unable to cut down or manage your use.
  • Changes in mood (e.g., feeling irritable and paranoid).
  • Changing friends.
  • Having difficulties with family members.
  • Being secretive or dishonest.
  • Changing sleep habits, appetite, or other behaviors.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, seek help from: 

Learn more about local mental health and substance use services.

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