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Cannabis Information for Teens and Young Adults

What is cannabis?

Cannabis has many other names such as: grass, weed, pot, joint, dope, green, doobie, blunt, reefer, hash, hash oil, marijuana, Mary Jane/MJ, shatter, dabs.

All forms of cannabis come from the dried flower buds and leaves of the Cannabis Sativa plant. It ranges in colour from grayish green to greenish brown and may contain seeds and stems. Cannabis contains the mood-altering chemical THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use.

How does cannabis make you feel?

People can have very different experiences with cannabis.

Some may feel:

  • relaxed
  • lively
  • talkative
  • giggly
  • euphoric

While others feel:

  • tense
  • anxious
  • fearful
  • confused

The kind of experience you may have can vary from one drug-taking episode to another, usually because of the amount taken, the method used and the frequency of regular cannabis use.

What are the risks of using cannabis?

For younger people, the risks of cannabis use are greater than for adults because your brain continues to develop until the age of 25.

Some of the short-term and long-term health and safety risks of using cannabis include:

  • problems with thinking, memory, making decisions
  • problems with coordination
  • hallucinations
  • repeated episodes of vomiting
  • impaired ability to drive safely, leading to fatal and non-fatal injuries
  • lung problems
  • mental health problems
  • cannabis dependence

Mixing cannabis with alcohol or other drugs increases risk-taking behaviour and increases your health and safety risks.

Not using cannabis is the best way to prevent these risks.

If you have decided that you will use cannabis, follow these Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines  to reduce your risk.

Is it legal to use cannabis?

Currently, it is illegal for anyone to buy, have and use non-medical cannabis in Ontario and Canada. Legalization of non-medical cannabis in Canada will come into force on October 17, 2018.

Once non-medicinal cannabis is legalized in Ontario you will need to be 19 years of age or older to buy, use, possess and grow cannabis. Even if a person is of legal age to use cannabis, they will only be able to use it in a private home or apartment.  There will be fines for individuals who are found to be using cannabis in any public place, workplace or motorized vehicle. Additional information about legalization of recreational cannabis is updated regularly on the Ontario Cannabis Legalization webpage.

Don’t Drive High

Driving after using cannabis is illegal and dangerous.

There is no safe amount of cannabis use for driving. Using cannabis affects concentration, reaction time, ability to concentrate and make decisions. Using cannabis and driving increases the risk of motor vehicle collisions, injury and death. There are serious penalties for driving a motorized vehicle while impaired.

Don’t drive high, and don’t get into a vehicle with a driver who has used cannabis.

Find more information and videos on impaired driving, learning about the penalties of impaired driving, as well as what you can do to plan to get home safely by visiting Don’t Drive High and Eggs on Weed.

Where can I get help?

CAMH Cannabis Page has lots of additional information about cannabis, including links where you can find help, treatment and support.

ConnexOntario provides free and confidential health information for people living in Ontario who are experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness or gambling. Services are available 24/7.

What's With Weed has information on the risks of using cannabis, a quiz to find out where you are at with weed, information on how you compare with others, as well as videos about young people talking about their own cannabis use.

Kids Help Phone is a 24-hour anonymous counselling service available in Canada for children and youth.