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If you or someone you know has over consumed and are experiencing symptoms of over-intoxication or “greening out” call Telecare 8-1-1, 9-1-1 or go to your local Emergency Room immediately.

What is cannabis? What is THC vs CBD?

The plant cannabis contains hundreds of chemical compounds (cannabinoids). 

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) causes the intoxicating (or "high") and the impairing effects, but it can also cause anxiety and other unpleasant and adverse effects.

CBD (cannabidiol) is not intoxicating and might have some therapeutic benefits in some people.  Consult a healthcare practitioner if you have any questions or concerns regarding cannabis use and your health, have a serious pre-existing medical condition, are taking any other drugs or health products, or are considering using cannabis for medical purposes.


How is cannabis consumed?

Cannabis can be consumed in different ways. Two common ways are inhalation (smoking or vaping) and ingestion (eating or drinking). Each way carries different health and safety risks. 


When cannabis is inhaled it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and the effects are usually quickly felt by the brain and body, within minutes; but it can take up to10 to 30 minutes to feel the full effects from one inhalation.  Consuming more within this time period can increase the risk of adverse effects.  Effects of cannabis inhalation can last up to 6 hours, and some residual effects could last up to 24 hours after use.


When cannabis is ingested, the body turns it into a stronger form called 11-hydroxy-THC.  It takes longer to be absorbed into the bloodstream and it can take 30 minutes to 2 hours for effects to be felt by the brain and body, and up to 4 hours to feel the full effects after ingestion.  Consuming more within this time period can increase the risk of adverse effects.  Effects of cannabis ingestion can last up to 12 hours, and some residual effects could last up to 24 hours after use.


What you need to know if you choose to consume cannabis
7 Things You Need to Know about Edible Cannabis


Does cannabis effect everyone the same way?

Everyone's response to cannabis is different, depending on sex, age, any pre-existing medical conditions, experience with cannabis, frequency of use, THC and CBD content, and consumption of food, alcohol, other drugs or health products.  Everyone's response to cannabis can also differ from one time to the next.  If you chose to use, follow Canada’s Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.


Cannabis: Lower your risk


Are there negative effects on my health if I consume cannabis?

Cannabis can cause impairment and other short-term effects.  Every time cannabis is consumed it can:

  • Impair your ability to drive safely or operate equipment by slowing your reaction time and reducing your physical co-ordination.
  • Make it harder to learn and remember things by lowering your ability to pay attention.
  • Affect your mood and feelings, and can cause confusion, anxiety fear or panic.
  • Affect your mental health, and can trigger a psychotic episode. Long-term adverse effects include permanent harm to mental functioning and increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders.


Can you “overdose” from consuming cannabis?

Consuming too much cannabis at a time can lead to symptoms of over-intoxication or “greening out”.

Symptoms of over-intoxication can include:

  • severe anxiety and panic
  • nausea and vomiting
  • symptoms of psychosis (paranoia)
  • respiratory depression
  • chest pain
  • rapid heartbeat


What should I do if I or someone I am with is ‘greening out’ (over-intoxicated)?

If you've consumed cannabis and are experiencing particularly unpleasant or harmful effects, immediately stop using it.  Have someone stay with you in a warm, safe place, keep upright and drink plenty of water.  It can take some time to recover. Seek medical attention or call Telecare 811 if you are concerned about your health.

Don’t forget to protect those who can’t protect themselves, such as children and pets.

Children are at the greatest risk of serious health effects from over-intoxication from cannabis, especially when eaten or drank because there are stronger and prolonged effects.  Children may become uncoordinated, drowsy, unable to wake up, and have trouble breathing.  Seek medical attention immediately or call Telecare-811 for all cases of accidental consumption of cannabis by children.

Store all cannabis (especially edible cannabis which can be mistaken for normal food or drinks) securely out of reach of children, youth and pets.