Use responsibly

If you are 19+, you are able to use cannabis legally in Ontario. Using cannabis can come with risks, especially for people who are under 25, use often, or use high levels of THC.

If you are planning to use, consider waiting until after you are 25 and follow these tips to help you make a responsible choice that considers your mental health, physical health, and safety.

Have more cannabis free days

What to know: Using cannabis everyday or a few times a week can increase the risk of negative effects to your mind and body.

How to reduce your risk: Limit your cannabis use to one day a week at most.

Go easy on your lungs

What to know: Cannabis smoke has many of the same chemicals as tobacco smoke. After you take a hit, it only takes a few seconds for the smoke to get to your lungs that absorb the THC. The high can last up to 6 hours.

How to reduce your risk: Instead of smoking, use a different method like vaping or edibles, but be aware that these may have their own risks. If you want to smoke, take short shallow breaths and exhale right away. It only takes a few seconds for the THC to be absorbed through your lungs so you will still get high without holding the smoke in your lungs.

Pace yourself. Start low. Go slow.

What to know: Different strains of cannabis and the way you use it can have different effects. While you feel the effects of smoking or vaping within minutes, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects of edible cannabis. The effects of edibles can last up to 12 hours.

Synthetic cannabis, like K2 and Spice, are stronger and more dangerous than natural cannabis products. Using these can lead to severe health problems, such as seizures, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations and in rare cases, death.

How to reduce your risk: Start with a small amount, especially if it is your first time, and wait 30 minutes or more to feel the effects before deciding if you want to have more.

Consider using products with low THC and some CBD. You can know how much THC and CBD is in your cannabis by reading the label on the package. If you are sharing with a friend, ask them how much THC is in their cannabis. Don’t use synthetic cannabis products.

Always use with friends you trust. If you have had too much or you are not enjoying your experience, try to keep calm until the effects wear off. Find a safe space you feel comfortable in, stay with a friend, drink water and have something to eat. Remember to call for help when you or the people you are with need it.

Stick to one drug at a time. 

What to know: Alcohol and cannabis cause impairment. Using more than one drug at a time can lead to unpredictable changes to how you think, feel and act, which can increase your chance of accidents and injuries.

How to reduce your risk: Avoid using cannabis with alcohol or other drugs at the same time.

Leave tobacco out of the mix. 

What to know: Tobacco is harmful to your health and contains nicotine that is highly addictive. Nicotine can make it hard to cut down or quit. Smoking cannabis with tobacco means you are getting the chemicals from the smoke and are at risk for becoming addicted to tobacco.

How to reduce your risk: Instead of smoking use a different method, like vaping or edibles, but be aware that these may have their own risks. If you want to smoke, don’t mix cannabis with tobacco. If you are using with friends, make sure you ask if they added tobacco.

Share with care

What to know: When you share your joint, bong, vaporizer or whatever else you use, you may also be sharing germs and infections from your mouth and saliva with each other.

How to reduce your risk: Try to avoid sharing with other people. If you are sharing, try to find ways to avoid direct contact where someone else’s mouth has been

Plan a safe ride. 

What to know: Cannabis impairs coordination, attention, judgement and response time. All of these are important for keeping yourself safe and injury free. The effects can last 6 to 12 hours. 

How to reduce your risk: If you are planning to use cannabis, plan a safe ride with a sober friend, use OC transpo, Lyft, Uber, or a taxi.

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 include:

  • 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 additional local mental health and addiction services.

 

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