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Cannabis 101

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Explore the three common ways to consume cannabis:

  • Inhalation
  • Ingestion
  • Topicals

Inhalation

Inhalation is the most common way cannabis is consumed. Cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, are absorbed into the body through inhaling vaporized or smoked cannabis into the lungs.

+  Smoking

Smoking is the direct inhalation of smoke from dried cannabis. Delivery methods for smoking include, pre-rolls, pipes, bowls, water pipes, bongs and hookahs. Smoking cannabis is the most harmful way of using because it directly affects and damages your lungs.

+  Vaping

Vaping delivers cannabis in a vapour form through heating a cannabis extract or dried product. The high heat turns the product into vapour without burning, which is then inhaled. Vaping exposes you to different chemical compounds with their own risks and harms. Vaping directly affects and may damage your lungs. The long-term effects of vaping remain unknown.

+  Dabbing

Dabbing refers to inhaling high potency cannabis extracts with the use of equipment such as a dab rig. A dab of extract is placed on a hot surface and the fumes are inhaled. New or occasional users should not start with high potency products due to the increased risks of negative side effects such as dizziness, nausea and anxiety. Choosing lower THC products may lower the risk of greening out. Dabbing may affect lung health and cause lung damage in all users.

Smoke cloud
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Effects of inhaling cannabis

Effects are felt within seconds to minutes and can last up to six hours or more.

Ingestion

Ingesting means eating, drinking or swallowing cannabis. Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, are absorbed through the digestive track and processed by the liver. Ingested cannabis will affect you differently than inhaled cannabis and can have longer effects. Avoid driving or other safety-related tasks for an extended period of time after ingesting cannabis.

+  Edibles

Most common form of edibles:

  • Chocolate
  • Candies/Soft Chews
  • Baked Goods
  • Beverages

Is there a difference when using edibles from other methods of consumption? 

Yes. Because absorption into the blood stream of cannabis is much slower when it is swallowed or eaten, it can be more unpredictable than smoking it. Edible cannabis comes in a variety of food and beverage forms.
 

  • Edible products contain varying amounts of cannabis. Read the label and do not exceed the recommended serving size to reduce the risk of consuming too much.
  • The effects of edibles take longer to feel. Wait up to 4 hours before taking more. 

+  Oils | Capsules | Sprays

Oils

Oils can be taken by mouth, put into food or beverages, or swallowed as capsules.
 

  • Droppers are controlled by the user.
  • Capsules have a consistent amount with every use.
  • People with allergies should check to ensure oils are safe for use. Some carrier oils contain nut products.

Cannabis Oil
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Effects of ingesting cannabis

The effects of edible cannabis take longer to feel and are more intense. Wait up to 4 hours before taking more.

  • May take between 30 minutes to two hours to start feeling the effects, however it can take up to four hours to feel the full effects. 
  • Because of this delay, taking a second dose too soon can lead to: 
    • breathing faster than normal
    • nausea and vomiting
    • anxiety or panic attacks
    • in extreme cases, psychosis
  • Everyone reacts differently to cannabis and friends taking the same product may have different experiences. 
  • The euphoric “high” a user experiences from edibles is not the same as the “high” from inhaling a joint. New and returning users should start with a low amount, be somewhere they feel safe and allow themselves plenty of time to feel the full effects. 
  • With edibles, you should plan your day or evening because effects can last for up to 12 hours. Do not drive a vehicle or perform other safety-related tasks for an extended period of time after consuming any type of cannabis. For more information on impaired driving visit: MADD Canada

Topicals

Topicals are lotions, creams, oils, etc. that have been infused with cannabis extracts and are absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin.

When topicals are used as recommended, it is unlikely that the cannabinoids will produce an intoxicating effect.