As a recent adopter of legal medical and recreational cannabis, it’s no surprise that Canada has a few things to say about the growing cannabis culture. One of their most recent informational releases consists of a list of ten guidelines to safely enjoy your cannabis related activities. Always courteous, Canada wants to make sure nobody overdoes their usage or has a bad time. They feel that providing this list of cannabis precautions is similar to other guidelines about how to drink alcohol safely, and have thoughtfully provided the results of their cannabis safety research as a colorful brochure. If you are worried about going too far with your THC treats, take a page from Canada’s book on conservative enjoyment:
1. Cannabis use has health risks best avoided by abstaining
While this is true of essentially anything with direct or peripheral risks, this first rule puts the rest of the guidelines into perspective. There are a few risks associated with cannabis use and complete avoidance of THC and CBD in all its forms would keep you safe from them.
2. Delay taking up cannabis use until later in life
The second guideline is targeted to help teens understand the dangers of cannabis use. Young brains are not done developing and anyone who is not an adult should avoid taking anything psychoactive, prescription meds included. Canada researchers have found that anyone under the age of 16 can expose themselves to developmental risks. Cannabis may be one of the gentlest of the recreational drugs available, but it still has significant effects on brain development so hold off until you’re legal age. The age limits were put in place for a reason.
3. Identify and choose lower-risk cannabis products
Canada has defined THC has having a high risk of potential harms which include problems with thinking, memory, coordination, and perception, along with respiratory problems from smoking and injuries caused by impairment. They also list hallucinations and reproductive problems, but these issues are much less common. Canada recommends that you stick with low THC products and high CBD to THC ratios to reduce risk of harms.
4. Don’t use synthetic cannabinoids
What they call synthetic cannabinoids (K2 and ‘Spice’) are harmful chemicals that are much worse for you than anything normal cannabis leaf, edibles, or concentrates could cause. Canada says that they can lead to severe health problems and death, so stay away.
5. Avoid smoking burnt cannabis—choose safer ways of using
Smoking is bad for you in any form. You could be smoking chamomile and it would be bad for you. Unfortunately for bud gourmets, this means that a healthy cannabis lifestyle will involve leaving behind joints and pipes for concentrates and vaporizer pens.
6. If you smoke cannabis, avoid harmful smoking practices
Canada enumerates ‘harmful smoking practices’ as deep inhalation and breath-holding. What they are saying here is that if you hold your hits, you absorb more THC. You will get a stronger effect from THC by holding it in your lungs to increase absorption, which naturally increases the risks associated with intoxication. You also don’t want to do this while smoking because it will increase the time harsh smoke is damaging your lungs and bronchial passageway
7. Limit and reduce how often you use cannabis
Not everyone can ‘hold their smoke’ and daily use can be a sign of someone who has entered a harmful personal cycle with cannabis, as with any substance that interacts with the brain. If you find yourself losing track of time without meaning to, Canada suggests limiting your cannabis activities to weekends only.
8. Don’t use and drive, or operate other machinery
Cannabis can make you clumsy, so apply the same caution as you would with powerful cough syrup. Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery because even small mistakes can become fatal. In the detail text, Canada researchers make an especially important point: do not combine cannabis with alcohol unless you want to become seriously impaired. The ‘complementary’ effect can create intense disorientation. In this state, you probably don’t even want to operate your phone, much less a car.
9. Avoid cannabis use altogether if you are at risk for mental health problems or are pregnant
Some people are more at risk of negative effects than others. Unstable people have a harder time with any psychoactive substance and should be careful about exposure. Pregnant women, no matter how mentally stable, should stay away from cannabis just as they shouldn’t drink. Substances that affect the brain are dangerous for a growing fetus.
10. Avoid combining the risks identified above
The researchers for the Canadian brochure have been very thorough covering their bases and the final point is a useful and strongly worded reminder. The more risky cannabis based behaviors your take on, the more likely you are to find yourself in a rare situation in which cannabis has caused you trouble.
While the advice in this brochure may seem unusually cautious to the experienced cannabis user, consider all the young people and new adopters who are just starting to find out about their personal tolerances and the right habits to form while enjoying leaf, edibles, or concentrates. For the culture to grow happily, it’s important that new members of the cannabis community enter carefully and have a good time. This brochure will at the very least help people not to hurt themselves doing too much, too fast. Canada helpfully advises self control and a reasonable amount of caution, offering a valuable resource to cannabis users.