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 responsible choices about cannabis that consider your mental health, physical health, and safety. 


Consider delaying use until after 25 years old

What to know: Using cannabis everyday or a few times a week while you are under the age of 25 can change the way your brain grows and develops, lead to mental health problems, and make your mind and body need it making it hard to quit.

How to reduce your risk: If you want to use, try to wait until you are older, ideally after 25 years old, when your brain is more fully developed. 

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 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 quiet 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 increases 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: Puff, puff, don’t pass. 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

Using cannabis often while you are a teenager can make your body and mind need it more and make it hard to stop using. Check in with yourself regularly and ask yourself if cannabis is getting in the way of your life, school, work, sports or friendships in ways that do not feel good for you.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, there are places where you can turn to for help.

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