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 edibles it’s important to realize that ingesting cannabis products is very different than if you were to smoke or vape. If you’ve been using products on the illegal market in the past, you should be aware that they may not have the same amount of THC as advertised, since illegal 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?
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?
Symptoms of overdose 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 completely depends on you, and your body. The amount someone can responsibly consume is different for everyone.
If it’s your first-time trying cannabis, Health Canada recommends having another person with you.
It is important to remember that the onset time to feel a product’s full effects varies. 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 negative 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 a minimum of 2 hours between of single doses so you can see how strong the effects are, and if you’re at risk for possible overdosing.
Can prescription drugs interact with cannabis?
Yes. You should be 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 therefore increase your risk of harm. Health Canada strongly cautions against mixing cannabis and alcohol.
What’s the difference in effects when consuming edibles vs. dried flower?
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 effects which can peak between 3 and 4 hours. It can take 12 hours or more for intense effects to subside.
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 negative effects before deciding to consume more.