5 Things to Know about Cannabis (Video by University of Waterloo)
The non-medical use of cannabis is now legal in Ontario for people 19 years and older. Know the law. Know the facts. If you choose to use cannabis, help lower your potential risk.
5 Things to Know about Cannabis (Video by University of Waterloo)
On October 17, 2018, cannabis was legalized in Canada. There are various pieces of legislation at the federal and provincial levels that provide the legal framework to control the production, possession, use and sale of cannabis. On October 17, 2019, cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals were also legalized for purchase in Canada. The Ontario Government has clearly outlined:
- The minimum age requirement to buy, use, possess and grow cannabis
- Where you can and cannot smoke or vape cannabis
- Where you can legally purchase cannabis
- How much cannabis you are able to possess
- Driving impaired by cannabis penalties
|Federal Legislation||Provincial Legislation|
|The Cannabis Act, 2018 controls the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis across Canada.||The Cannabis Control Act, 2017 and its regulations control the sale, distribution, and possession of cannabis within Ontario.|
On October 17, 2019, cannabis edibles, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals were legalized for purchase in Canada. On this date, the Federal Cannabis Regulations were amended to include rules related to the production and sale of other cannabis products including edibles, extracts, and topicals.
|The Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and its regulations control the licencing and authorization of cannabis retail stores as well as the sale of cannabis through retail stores within the province.|
|The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 regulates the smoking and vaping of cannabis.|
It's illegal for drivers and their passengers to smoke or vape any substance in the vehicle if anyone is 15 years old or younger.1 No one in a motor vehicle can consume cannabis while the vehicle is being driven, or at risk of being put into motion.1 It's illegal to drive while impaired, whether it’s from alcohol, cannabis or any other drug.2
Brain development (PDF) in youth and young adults can be negatively affected by cannabis use. The brain continues to grow and change until a person is approximately 25 years old. When cannabis, alcohol, or other drugs are introduced during this critical time in brain development, it can disrupt the way these connections are made.6 7
Cannabis use before, during and after pregnancy (PDF), and while breastfeeding, can be harmful to a baby. The chemicals from cannabis can pass from a woman’s body to the baby during pregnancy, and from breastmilk to a baby when breastfeeding.8 9 10 To avoid any possible negative health effects (PDF) it is safest to avoid all forms of cannabis use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Cannabis use can increase the risk of developing a mental illness, especially in youth and young adults. It's an addictive substance and starting use at an early age can increase the likelihood of a person developing a problem. Regular cannabis use before the age of 25 can also increase a person’s risk of developing psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, and/or anxiety disorders 7 12 6
Cannabis use is a personal choice, but it comes with risks to your health and well-being. If you choose to use cannabis, follow Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines (PDF).
Alcohol increases the effects of cannabis. Mixing alcohol and cannabis can significantly increase the risk of over-intoxication and could result in anxiety, panic, nausea, vomiting, and paranoia. Avoid mixing cannabis with alcohol or other substances.
It takes a long time for your body to absorb the THC from cannabis edibles. The intoxicating effects of cannabis edibles do not kick in for about 30 minutes to 2 hours. It can take up to 4 hours to feel the full effects. Effects can last up to 12 hours after use. Taking more before feeling the effects can result in over-intoxication. Wait. Go slow.
- Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines
Evidence-based recommendations to reduce your risks if you choose to use cannabis. Find 10 ways to reduce risks to your health when using cannabis.
- Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines - Evidence Brief
An evidence-based tool to guide choices and improve the health of Canadians who use cannabis.
- Cannabis Legalization in Ontario – (Government of Ontario)
What's legal and not legal in Ontario when it comes to cannabis?
- Health Effects of Cannabis (Health Canada)
This factsheet provides information about the potential health risks associated with using cannabis.
- Cannabis Talk Kit – Drug Free Kids Canada
This resource provides information about cannabis along with some effective tools to help parents set the stage for a conversation about cannabis and engage in productive discussions with your teen.
- Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
This resource provides information about cannabis, cannabis legalization, risks of using cannabis, signs of a problem, how to help your child, and where to get more information and support.
- Parents: Help Your Teen Understand What’s Fact and Fiction About Cannabis (Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction)
Learn about what is fact and fiction when it comes to cannabis.
- Cannabis BEFORE, DURING and AFTER Pregnancy
This factsheet outlines the potential harms associated with cannabis use while pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Risks of Cannabis on Fertility, Pregnancy,Breastfeeding and Parenting (Best Start Resource Centre)
This resource provides information about the effects of cannabis use on fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, on children and adolescents when their mothers used cannabis during pregnancy and on parenting.
- Smoke is Smoke (Cannabis)
Both cannabis and tobacco have toxic chemicals - smoke is smoke.
- Cannabis: Inhaling vs Ingesting
To lower your risk of the harmful effects of cannabis, you need to understand the differences between the two most common ways of consuming it.
- 7 Things You Need to Know about Edible Cannabis
If you’re interested in trying edible cannabis, here are seven things you need to know.
- How To Safely Store Your Cannabis
Download the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction’s infographic and learn how to store cannabis safely.
- Clearing the Smoke on Cannabis (Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction)
This series of research reports looks are how cannabis use can affect mental and physical health. Featured publications are included in the table below.
Last modified on: November 28, 2019