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Just as with alcohol or tobacco, cannabis is not a harmless substance. The only way to avoid any harm is by not using cannabis. If you choose to use cannabis, it’s important for you to be informed of things you can do to lower your risk of harm.

10 ways you can lower your risk of harm from cannabis use, including:

  • delay cannabis use until later in life,
  • limit how often you use cannabis (don’t use it more than once per week or less),
  • know what you’re using – choose low dose THC products,
  • avoid smoking burnt cannabis,
  • do not use before driving or operating machinery,
  • do not use if pregnant, and
  • do not use if you’re at risk for mental health problems or addiction.

Read the complete Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines

  • Limit how often you smoke (don’t use it more than once per week or less).
  • Know what you’re using – choose low dose THC products.
  • Avoid “deep inhalation” or “breath-holding” that increases the amount of toxins absorbed by your lungs and body.

Read the complete Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines

Although the risks from exposure to second-hand cannabis smoke are still being studied, cannabis smoke has many similar carcinogens, toxins, and irritants that are found in tobacco smoke and known to cause cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases like bronchitis. For this reason, exposure to cannabis smoke should be avoided. Cannabis should not be smoked indoors and should be kept away from children.

Although edibles will not be legal at the same time as cannabis is legalized in Canada, here are some things you should know:

  • The effects of cannabis from eating an edible product can be delayed up to 2 hours. If you don’t wait 2 hours to feel the effects, you may consume larger amounts and have worse impairment when you finally do feel it.
  • When ingesting edibles, the “start low and go slow” caution still applies as it will be hard to know how it will affect you.
  • Keep all cannabis products in child-resistant packaging and in a locked area. Keep it out of sight and reach from children.
  • Cannabis in food products are very dangerous to children. Children may mistake these products for regular food such as brownies and cookies and eat them.
  • If a child eats cannabis they can become very sick. Get medical help right away.

If your child ingests cannabis, call the Ontario Poison Centre (1-800-268-9017) or 911 immediately.

Do NOT use cannabis while:

  • driving or operating heavy or hazardous machinery,
  • being a caretaker for children,
  • during situations where you need to make important decisions, or
  • doing any other activity that requires full concentration and ability to react quickly (e.g., driving).

Individuals with a personal or family history of mental illness (depression, anxiety, schizophrenia), or problems with drug use should avoid cannabis because these conditions can be brought on or made worse with cannabis use.

Mixing alcohol with cannabis increases the level of impairment you have, increasing your risk of harm.

Smoking tobacco and cannabis together (e.g. adding tobacco to cannabis joints) may increase your risk of lung or other cancers and addiction.