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Edibles - products which are made to be eaten and contain cannabis, like candies, gummies, cookies, or brownies. This may also include cannabis-infused beverages like coffee or tea.
Cannabis Extracts for ingestion or inhalation - products such as liquid drops or capsules that contain cannabis and are ingested orally, or are inhaled (e.g. oils for vaping)
Topicals - cannabis products which are applied to skin, hair and nails.
Compared to inhaled forms of cannabis, the effects of ingested products are delayed, last longer, and can be more intense.
Cannabis products have chemicals that can affect our brain and bodies and can cause immediate, long-term, or permanent effects on our health, such as:
- Brain function - confusion, hallucinations, sleepiness, poor focus, memory/learning problems and poor coordination.
- Mental health - depression, anxiety, paranoia, schizophrenia, psychotic episodes (e.g., confusion, distorted reality, panic), and addiction.
- Physical health - fast heart rate, low blood pressure/possible fainting, and vomiting.
Harms of cannabis increase with daily and frequent use, stronger products (i.e., greater than 10% THC), and use under age 25.
- If you use cannabis EDIBLES:
- Start with small amounts of 2.5 mg of THC per portion or less for products that you eat or drink, and an equal or higher amount of CBD than THC.
- Wait at least 4 hours before having any more so you know how it will affect you. This will help protect you from using too much or a bad reaction.
- The effects of edibles can last from 12-24 hours. After consuming, do not drive or plan to do activities where safety could be affected (i.e. operating machinery at work or home, caring for a child).
- If you use cannabis EXTRACTS OR OILS:
- For inhaled products, choose products with 10% THC (100 mg/g) or less, and look for an equal or higher amount of CBD than THC.
- For other extracts and oils, start with small amounts of 2.5 mg of THC or less, and an equal or higher amount of CBD than THC.
- Wait 4 hours before having more so that you know how it will affect you.
- The effects of cannabis from extracts and oils can last from 12-24 hours. After consuming, do not drive or plan to do activities where safety could be affected (i.e. operating machinery at work or home, caring for a child).
- For ALL CANNABIS PRODUCTS:
- Keep all products locked up and out of reach of children and pets.
- Do not use cannabis every day. Use once per week or less.
- Do not use cannabis with alcohol or other substances. This could lead to greater levels of impairment.
- Don't drive or operate heavy equipment after using cannabis. Cannabis can cause drowsiness, affect concentration, and slow reaction time.
- Delay use until later in life. Cannabis may harm brain development which continues until around age 25.
- Don’t use ANY form of cannabis if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The intoxicating effects of ingesting cannabis are delayed, last longer, and can be more intense than inhaling cannabis. It’s best to start with a small amount and consume slowly to see how it will affect you, before having any more.
Inhaled cannabis (e.g. smoked or vaped)
- Effects may start in seconds to minutes. Full effects may not be felt for up to 30 minutes.
- Effects can last up to 6 hours, with some effects lingering up to 24 hours.
- Start low with products that have 10% (100mg/g) THC or less to reduce your risk of harm.
Ingested cannabis (e.g. edibles or oils)
- You may not start to feel anything for up to 2 hours, and full effects may be delayed up to 4 hours.
- Effects can last up to 12 hours, with some effects lasting as long as 24 hours.
- Start low with products that have 2.5mg THC or less.
Eating too much of an edible at one time can result in over-intoxication and serious side effects including:
- sleepiness, dizziness or confusion,
- nausea and vomiting,
- racing or very slow heartbeat,
- chest pain,
- severe anxiety or panic attack, and/or
- paranoia, delusions or loss of reality.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these side effects, call 911 or the Ontario Poison Centre (1-800-268-9017) immediately
- Store all cannabis products out of reach of children and pets, in a locked cabinet or container.
- Protect family and friends by clearly labeling all edibles, in a separate container from other foods, so it’s easy to tell it has cannabis.
- If a child unintentionally eats cannabis, or you or someone you know is having bad side effects, call 911 or the Ontario Poison Centre (1-800-268-9017) immediately
Learn more - Thinking about using cannabis while parenting?
Any inhaled product, even if vaped, has possible risks to your lungs and respiratory system, and more. Vaping is not without risk, and the potential long-term effects of vaping are unknown.
If you choose to vape, these are some things you can do to lower your risk of harm from vaping cannabis and other products:
- Don’t use products from illegal or unregulated sources. These products are not checked for safety or quality.
- Do not modify vaping products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.
- Start small with 1 or 2 puffs of a vape with 10% (100 mg/g) or less THC
- Wait until you feel the full effects (up to 30 minutes) before taking any more so you know how it will affect you.
- Don’t vape every day. Use once per week or less to lower harm and risk of addiction.
- Don’t inhale deeply or hold your breath after inhaling.
- If you use or have used vaping products, watch for symptoms of pulmonary illness (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain) and seek medical attention if you have any concerns. Tell your healthcare provider about your vaping and what you were using.
- Report any adverse reactions to Health Canada.
- Report any complaints about vaping products to Health Canada.
- Producers of any cannabis products sold in Canada for retail sale must be licensed federally by Health Canada.
- Retailers or sellers of any cannabis products in Ontario must be licensed by the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario.
- If you own a food premises (i.e. a restaurant or other establishment selling food), you CANNOT serve cannabis-infused foods.
- The criminal penalty for illegal distribution or sale of cannabis ranges from a ticket and fine for small amounts, to up to 14 years in jail.
To learn more about laws under the Federal Cannabis Act, visit https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/
Adults who are 19 years or older (in Ontario) can:
- Buy cannabis products from a licensed retailer
- Possess up to 30 grams of legal dried cannabis, or its equivalent*, in public
- Possession over the limit is a criminal offense. Penalties range from tickets for small amounts to up to 5 years in jail.
- Share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent with other adults
- Giving or selling cannabis to a person under 19 is a criminal offense with penalties of up to 14 years in a jail.
*Dried cannabis equivalents:
- One (1) gram of dried cannabis is equal to:
- 5 grams of fresh cannabis
- 15 grams of solid edible product
- 70 grams of liquid product, other than cannabis beverages
- 570 grams of cannabis beverages
- 0.25 grams of concentrates (solid or liquid)
- 1 cannabis plant seed
- This means, for example, that an adult 19 years of age or older, can legally possess 450 grams of an edible cannabis product.
- It is illegal to take any form of medical or non-medical cannabis across the Canadian border, no matter if you are entering or leaving Canada.
- The penalty for a criminal charge for taking cannabis across the border is up to 14 years in jail.
It is illegal to:
- drive impaired after using any form of medical or non-medical cannabis,
- smoke or vape cannabis in a vehicle or boat being driven or under someone’s care or control,
- use any form of non-medical cannabis in a vehicle (edibles, extracts, smoked, vaped, etc.), or
- use any form of medical or non-medical cannabis if a vehicle is under your care and control.
For a full description of Ontario’s laws and penalties for drug-impaired driving, including zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation