Curious about Cannabis?

Cannabis use under the age of 25

As the brain of young adults under the age of 25 are not fully developed, those who persistently use cannabis show greater decline in areas such as: executive function, memory, processing speed, perceptual reasoning and verbal comprehension, when compared to adults who do not persistently use.

Meier, M. H., Caspi, A., Ambler, A., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Keefe, R. S., … & Moffitt, T. E. (2012). Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201206820.

Using cannabis regularly over long periods of time makes you more susceptible to experiencing:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression,
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

In addition, the certain type of cannabis can worsen the effects of cannabis. These concentrates include:

  • Shatter
  • Wax
  • Dabs

Adults under the age of 25 who use cannabis are at a higher risk of THC dependence when compared to adults over the age of 25. Persistent cannabis use by those under 25 can cause deficits to the brain due to the fact that the human brain does not stop developing until around age 25.

Mixing cannabis with other substances

Using alcohol and marijuana together is dangerous. Marijuana can mask the effects of intoxication and lower inhibitions, leading to alcohol overconsumption. This can cause alcohol poisoning which could be fatal.

In addition, cannabis works with the endocannabinoid system in the body to prevent nausea and vomiting, which could make users unable to vomit excess alcohol or at risk for choking on vomit. Alcohol also dilates blood vessels which can lead to increased amounts of THC in individual’s who smoke marijuana after they consume alcohol.

Driving high

Those killed in vehicle crashes after testing positive for drugs is 40%, which exceeds the rate of those who are killed in vehicle crashes for drinking while under the influence which is at a 33% rate.

For bodily harm for drug-impaired driving the maximum penalty is indictment and 10 years imprisonment, for result of death while driving drug-impaired the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

Government of Health. (2018). Department of Justice: Impaired Driving Laws. Canada.

Sleep and cannabis

Although Cannabis use can help you fall asleep, it worsens the quality of sleep by disturbing the sleep cycle. Marijuana use decreases the total REM sleep a person gets in a night.

Marijuana Use May Lead to Impaired Sleep Quality And Other News From the 28th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. (2014). Neurology Review, 22(7), 5.

REM sleep is necessary for memory and emotional consolidation. Excessive marijuana use before bed can inhibit proper memory consolidation, which would reduce the amount of information retained during studying, ultimately decreasing academic performance.

Marijuana Use May Lead to Impaired Sleep Quality And Other News From the 28th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. (2014). Neurology Review, 22(7), 5.

When habitual marijuana use ceases, individuals have reported vivid dreams that are often overwhelming and disruptive to a good nights sleep; this is due because REM rebound where the brain is flooded with dopamine during the REM sleep. The brain is not used to the abundance of dopamine because of an extended blunted response. Withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, nervousness, restlessness, weight loss, and sleep difficulty and strange dreams. It is important to speak to your doctor if using marijuana to sleep.

Marijuana Use May Lead to Impaired Sleep Quality And Other News From the 28th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. (2014). Neurology Review, 22(7), 5.

Marijuana directly impacts sleep efficiency by inhibiting REM sleep, which is 1 of 5 sleep cycles in which the brain becomes the most rested. As a result, participants often feel less rested compared to a control group when studied.

Bolla, K. I., Lesage, S. R., Gamaldo, C. E., Neubauer, D. N., Funderburk, F. R., Cadet, J. L., … & Benbrook, A. R. (2008). Sleep disturbance in heavy marijuana users. Sleep, 31(6), 901-908.

Mental health and cannabis

Anyone with Mental health problems, especially related to schizophrenia, psychosis or depression should not be using this substance.

Cannabis has been shown to increase the risk of schizophrenia, and exacerbate the symptoms if the individual was predisposed to such illnesses. Depression as well as anxiety was shown to be elevated due to high frequency in users and it also increases suicide idealization.

Cannabis has been reported to relieve immediate stress by smokers. However, this can quickly become a crutch that the person consistently resorts to. Once the behaviour becomes habitual, it may lower the person’s self-efficacy to cope without drugs, which could lead to other addictions. As such, marijuana is not considered a solution to underlying issues, and it is recommended that other intervention strategies take precedence.

Wilson, M., Gogulski, H. Y., Cuttler, C., Bigand, T. L., Oluwoye, O., Barbosa-Leiker, C., & Roberts, M. A. (2018). Cannabis use moderates the relationship between pain and negative affect in adults with opioid use disorder. Addictive behaviors, 77, 225-231.

Pregnancy and cannabis

Doctors have linked marijuana use during pregnancy with increased risk for complications. These may include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Small head circumference
  • Small length
  • Stillbirth

Methods of use and practices

The sensation of being under the influence of marijuana varies based on the type and quantity consumed, the person and his or her purposes in using, and the social circumstances (Caulkins, 2012)

Caulkins, J. P. (2012). Marijuana legalization : what everyone needs to know. New York : Oxford University Press, c2012.

Employers and criminal justice agencies use chemical tests-primarily urine tests-to detect the use of banned drugs. The body’s fatty tissues store some of the THC itself, and some of the metabolic by-products generated when the liver breaks THC down- thus marijuana can be detectable in a users system well after the high has abated, and there is no simple relationship between the amount of THC metabolite detectable in a users urine and time since consumption (few days after use). Hair testing extends the detection window to months (Caullkins, 2012)

Caulkins, J. P. (2012). Marijuana legalization : what everyone needs to know. New York : Oxford University Press, c2012

Vaping is the consumption of marijuana in the form of oil or plant material that is heated to a temperature that releases an aerosolized mixture of water vapor and active ingredients (ex. THC). This method of administration avoids combustion of the substance and the inhaling of smoke, which contains carbon monoxide and other by-products of combustion. Consequently, this may discourage quitting this behavior as there are less perceived harmful effects.

Budney, A. J., Sargent, J. D., & Lee, D. C. (2015). Vaping cannabis (marijuana): Parallel concerns to e‐cigs?. Addiction, 110(11), 1699-1704.

93% of people use inhalation, this is harmful because inhaling cannabis is the most high risk way of using the substance

Using edibles has a lower risk of harming your lungs since you aren’t inhaling smoke, but it does still have other harmful side effects. For example, you can consume larger doses of cannabis without realizing it, leading to more severe impairment. Edibles have a slow onset of effects that usually takes 2 to 3 hours before the individual starts to feel the common side effects, which can then last for several hours. This can be very dangerous for consumers who are used to vaping or smoking and getting the instant high. If it’s somebody’s first time eating edibles and they aren’t educated on how they work, and continue to eat more because they don’t feel anything, this can cause them to overdose on the edibles.

Synthetic cannabis because it increases the negative effects like psychosis, and has higher levels of THC.

The best cannabis product is no cannabis product. It is highly recommended to avoid synthetic cannabis products.

Recommendations based on THC

Higher THC content is correlated to an increase in both long term and acute effects, therefore lower THC amounts are recommended

Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse recommended cannabis products with higher CBD:THC ratios

Long and short-term effects

Long Term Physical EffectsLong Term Psychoactive Effects
Respiratory IssuesImpaired Memory Consolidation
Cognitive ImpairmentsDepression
Disrupted Sleep CycleAnxiety

Caulkins, J. P. (2012). Marijuana legalization : what everyone needs to know. New York : Oxford University Press, c2012

Short Term Physical EffectsShort Term Psychoactive Effects
Red eyesParanoia
Dry Mouth and Throat Impaired Short Term Memory
Increased Heart Rate/Decreased Blood Pressure Decreased Attention Span
Irritation of Respiratory TractRelaxation and Sense of Euphoria
Impaired Reaction Time, Coordinator and Motor SkillsDifficulties Thinking or Problem Solving

Caulkins, J. P. (2012). Marijuana legalization : what everyone needs to know. New York : Oxford University Press, c2012

THC binds to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, and marijuana’s “high” comes from THC’s binding to brain regions responsible for pleasure, time perception and pain, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). High THC-content products are generally associated with higher risks for various (acute and chronic) mental and behavioural problem outcomes. Users should know the nature and composition of the cannabis products that they use, and ideally use cannabis products with low THC content.

Earleywine, M. (2002). Understanding marijuana. [electronic resource] : a new look at the scientific evidence. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.

CBD is used in the effective treatment of multiple conditions, but the anti-convulsive properties of cannabinoids make tinctures more common in the treatment of multiple conditions: epilepsy-related conditions, especially in children, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other such illness. CBD is probably the most abundant cannabinoid, contributing up to 40% of cannabis resin. Interestingly, CBD may actually have anti-anxiety effects and lessen the psychoactive effects of THC. This means that a plant with a greater percentage of CBD may reduce the intensity of the effects of the THC, which in effect lowers the potency of the plant. Use of a cannabis plant with less CBD has been shown to have an increased psychological impact and result in unwanted effects such as anxiety.

Earleywine, M. (2002). Understanding marijuana. [electronic resource] : a new look at the scientific evidence. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.

Cannabis plants contain dozens of these chemicals, but just one or two are commonly known: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC and CBD are prominent in commercialized marijuana: dispensaries in marijuana legal states often list the percentage of each in a product.

THC is the psychoactive component that most users want and that contributes to making the user feel high- higher levels of THC can cause more in tense effects or speed up the desired effect.

CBD on the other hand, is often associated with medical marijuana, especially treatment for conditions such as epilepsy as it has anti convulsive and anti-spastic properties that can relax muscles and regulate the brain in ways that can prevent minor and major seizure events (Hudak, 2016)

Hudak, J. (2016). Marijuana : a short history. Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, [2016].

Product and supplier

As of October 17, 2018, the Ontario Cannabis Store website will be the only legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis. It will follow strict rules set by the federal government.

You will need to be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

You will be able to have a maximum of:

  • Dried cannabis – 30 grams (about one ounce) in public at any time.
  • Fresh cannabis – 150 grams
  • Solids containing cannabis – 450 grams
  • Non-solids containing cannabis – 0.25 grams
  • Cannabis non-solid concentrates – 0,25 grams
  • Cannabis plant seeds – 30 cannabis seeds

The combination of any of these items cannot exceed equivalency of 30 grams of dried cannabis.

If a health care professional has already authorized you to use cannabis for medical reasons, your access will not change when recreational cannabis is legal.

You will be able to grow up to four plants per residence (not per person). However, if you are renting a residence, this may violate your leasing agreement. Indoor cultivation can cause damage (mould, high electricity etc.) that will result in increased expenses, especially for landlords, who will then have to pass on these costs on to tenants.

Cannabis can…

  • Alter some aspects of thought and memory- may change cognition
  • Make it difficult for people to pay attention for long durations of time after smoking
  • May impair time perception, reading difficult material aloud, mental arithmetic, complex reaction time, and certain aspects of memory and perception.
  • Alter the senses. People report change in taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. Studies show that events seem to take longer.

Know the facts!

Intoxicated individuals appear less able to identify figures hidden within pictures. For example a test where images of colours were shown will show impairment simply because colours are not perceived correctly:

Intoxicated individuals took longer to read aloud and made more mistakes- shows cognitive abilities are not at their peak while high.

Impairs mathematical performance – decreases mental abilities, particularly the attention associated with computation.

Generally the more complex the task, the worse the cannabis-induced impairment.

Free recall, intoxicated people invariably remember fewer words- impairs the ability to separate relevant from irrelevant stimuli.

  • Time slows
  • Space appears more vast
  • Senses appear enhanced
  • Euphoria increases
  • Relaxation increases
  • Feelings seem stronger
  • Fear increases at high doses
  • Focus on the present increases
  • Forgetfulness increases
  • Orgasms appear enhanced
  • Responsiveness appears enhanced
  • Openness to experience increases
  • Sense of the divine increases
  • Improves at low doses
  • Shows impairment at high doses
  • Concentration appears impaired
  • Depersonalization
  • Eyes redden
  • Mouth and other mucous membranes lose moisture

Earleywine, M. (2002). Understanding marijuana. [electronic resource] : a new look at the scientific evidence. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.

Cannabis on campus

The smoking or vaping of recreational cannabis will not be allowed anywhere on Brock University campuses, including in private or work vehicles, student residences and in any designated smoking areas.