Let's get this out of the way: the best thing to do is start low and go slow when you're new to using cannabis or trying edibles.
If this is your first time trying a cannabis product, such as edibles, it's essential to realize that ingesting cannabis products is very different from smoking or vaping. Suppose you've been using products on the illegal market in the past. In that case, you should be aware that they may not have the same amount of THC as advertised since illicit products are not rigorously tested for potency by Health Canada.
Learn about all the quality assurance legal cannabis products go through here
When it comes to cannabis and reducing the risk of overconsumption, education is key to having a responsible experience. Read on to learn what Health Canada recommends you do if you think you've consumed too much, as well as answers to important questions that you most likely have if you're trying new formats.
What Should I Do if I Think I've Overdosed?
While fatal overdoses are extremely rare when cannabis is consumed on its own, there are still serious risks associated with overconsumption, especially if it is taken in conjunction with other substances or prescriptions.
Seek immediate medical attention, especially if experiencing chest pain, panic attacks, loss of contact with reality, or seizures.
How Do I Know if I've Overdosed?
Overdose symptoms may include sleepiness, confusion, disorientation, clumsiness/loss of coordination, fainting, dizziness, chest pain, fast, slow or pounding heartbeat, panic attacks, loss of contact with reality, and seizures.
How Much Can I Take?
That entirely depends on you and your body. The amount of any cannabis product that someone can responsibly consume is different for everyone.
If it's your first time trying cannabis, Health Canada recommends having another person whom you trust with you.
It is important to remember that the onset time to feel a product's full effects varies and that taking more of something doesn't mean the effects will be felt sooner, but rather that they will be stronger when they present themselves. For cannabis edibles, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Best to start low and go slow. Consume a little at a time and stop if any adverse reactions occur. According to Health Canada, it is recommended that you start with small amounts, such as 2.5 mg of THC or less for products that you eat or drink, or 100 mg/g of THC or less for products that you inhale.
How Can I Prevent Overdoses?
If you're using edibles or oils, Health Canada recommends waiting for a minimum of 2 hours between single doses so you can see how strong the effects are and if you're at risk for possible overdosing.
The best rule of thumb truly is to just go little by little and trust and listen to your own body's reactions. Everyone has a different tolerance, so just because someone else feels like they can take more of a cannabis product does not mean that you will feel the same way. If you feel like you are at or are approaching your limit, do not ingest any more cannabis; listen to your own body when it comes to cannabis.
Can Prescription Drugs Interact With Cannabis?
Yes. It would help if you were very careful when using cannabis and other psychoactive drugs, as it could enhance the effects on the brain and nervous system or create other negative effects. If you're using psychoactive drugs, talk to your doctor before using cannabis.
What if I've Consumed Alcohol And Cannabis?
Combining alcohol with cannabis (THC) can increase how intoxicated you are and boost your risk of harm. Health Canada strongly cautions against mixing cannabis and alcohol.
If you have chosen to consume weed alongside alcohol, be aware that the presence of alcohol in your system will intensify the THC of any cannabis you consume, so your usual tolerance will be significantly lowered, and less cannabis should be ingested or inhaled.
That being said, the best way to avoid the risks of consuming both alcohol and cannabis is not to do it.
What's the Difference in Effects When Consuming Edibles vs. Dried Flowers?
According to Health Canada, you can feel the effects of cannabis much faster when smoking or vaping compared to consuming edibles or oils.
The effects of smoking or vaping can be felt within minutes, compared to edibles which can take 30 minutes to 4 hours to feel the full impact which can peak between 3 and 4 hours. It can take 12 hours or more for intense effects to subside.
Since your body processes the cannabinoids differently, cannabis that is ingested, such as edibles or oils, is often reported to have stronger effects than those felt from inhaling, like when smoking or vaping.
How Long Should I Wait Before Taking More?
Whether you're smoking, vaping, or consuming edibles, you should always start low and go slow, leaving enough time in between inhalations or individual edibles that you can feel the effects of cannabis before taking more. According to Health Canada, you should wait approximately 30 minutes between puffs or inhalations and at least 2 hours after consuming an edible or oil to see if you are experiencing any adverse effects before deciding to drink more.