As of October 17th 2018, cannabis is a legal substance in Canada. The following page provides information about cannabis, as well as tools, videos and fact sheets.  

How is Cannabis Used?

The following information is taken from the Cannabis 101 Factsheet developed by Dr. Kelly Grindrod and the University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy. Cannabis can be consumed by inhaling, being ingested (edibles), or by vaping. Vaping and edibles are considered safer than smoking due to the effects on the lungs.

What are the side effects of Cannabis?

Some side effects include:

  • Intensely happy or uneasy
  • Sedation/relaxation
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Numbness
  • Disconnected thoughts
  • Muscle twitching
  • Changes in heart rate/blood pressure
  • Impaired memory/confusion (less common)
  • Blurred vision/hallucination (less common)
  • Loss of touch with reality/self (less common)
  • Problematic cannabis use (e.g. difficulty cutting down, continued use despite harm)
  • Intense prolonged vomiting (rare but serious)
  • Loss of motivation (rare but serious) 

What is the minimum age for use? 

The new law sets a minimum age of 19 to use, buy, possess and cultivate cannabis in Ontario. This is the same as the minimum age for tobacco and alcohol sales. 

How can I reduce the harm from cannabis use? 

  • Avoid driving several hours after use
  • Vaporizing/edibles are preferred over smoking
  • Keep cannabis away from children, especially edibles (for practical tips see the 'OOPS' infographic)
  • Delay age of first use for as long as possible

When should I avoid cannabis use? 

  • When pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If there is a personal/family history of psychosis
  • Several hours before driving
  • If there is an allergy to cannabis
  • If under the age of 25

Driving and Cannabis (resources)

  • 'Cannabis and Driving: Start a Conversation' is a resource for parents and caregivers to start the converation with children about the effects of driving high from the Region of Waterloo Public Health.
  • 'Don't Cycle High' is an infographic for students and young adults about the effects of cycling while being impaired by cannabis.
  • 'Don't Drive High' is a resource developed by the Government of Canada that provides quick facts about cannabis-impaired driving.

Additional Resources

  • Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines provide recommendations to reduce risk of the harmful effects of cannabis.
  • Cannabis 101 and Medical Cannabis is a factsheet on cannabis including need-to-know information about cannabis and practical tips for health professionals on medical cannabis. This resource was developed by the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy.
  • Cannabis Risks in Pregnancy was developed by the School of Pharmacy at the University of Waterloo. It provides information about risks in pregnancy as well as in the early years of child development.
  • Health Effects of Cannabis – Factsheet was developed by Health Canada to provide information about the potential therapeutic uses and health risks of using cannabis. Information includes health effects on youth, mental health effects, and addiction information.
  • Cannabis in Canada was developed by Health Canada to provide information about the legalization process, health effects, cannabis impairment, and cannabis and industry.
  • Impairment and Cannabis in the Workplace was developed by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety for employers to gain an understanding of the role in addressing impairment in the workplace.
  • Impairment and Workplace Health and Safety (focus on Cannabis) from the Ontario Ministry of Labour Impairment and Workplace Health and Safety is to help workplaces manage health and safety issues related to impairment due to substance use.
  • Responsibility Grows Here was developed by the state of Colorado post-legalization to provide information to youth regarding responsible use, delaying use, and pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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