The Effects of Cannabis

Cannabis consumption produces a wide range of effects. Please find out more about them to manage your own experience in a way that best benefits you.

HIGHLIGHTS

- The effects of cannabis vary and depend on multiple factors, but almost all effects are temporary.

- Effects can include stress relief, anxiety reduction, increased creativity and an increased appetite. 

- The best way to minimize unpleasant effects is to consume small amounts at a time.

The way in which the Phytocannabinoids in cannabis interact within the body's endocannabinoid system can produce a range of temporary effects on the mind and the body. The results can be affected by a wide range of factors that include an individual's physiology, the strain, how it's consumed, how much is consumed, and the amount of THC and CBD content.

 

Reasons Some People Use Recreational Cannabis:

- to relax 

- to feel happier, more social, or more energetic 

- to become more focused, creative, or productive 

- to increase appetite or arousal

Because cannabis interacts uniquely with each individual, you may experience something different from what you expected.

 

Achieving Desired Effects

Until the 1980s, it was believed that the species of cannabis - Sativa or Indica - was solely responsible for the effect produced by cannabis; Sativa was typically thought to create a more energetic experience, while indica was said to be more sedating. Now, with hundreds of hybrids and new strains on the market, coupled with new beliefs about active components and the effect of their combinations, this information may be misleading.

While many licensed cannabis producers are trying to cultivate new strains to produce specific desired effects reliably, the science of producing a product with consistent effects for every person is not yet well understood. Much more research will be needed before this is possible. For that reason, it's not possible to completely predict the experience you will have.  

Many licensed producers will communicate the intended or reported effect(s) of their products. This can include recreational results, such as having calming or stimulating effects, or possible medical uses, such as being helpful to treat seizures, dravet syndrome, or anxiety. Often, the information they provide will be crowd-sourced, which means it has been reported by consumers who have used the product. It is essential to know that this information is not often scientifically gathered or tested. Remember that every individual reacts to cannabis differently. Additionally, using cannabis to treat any physical or mental health issue should be thoroughly discussed with one's family doctor or other licensed medical professionals.

 

Avoiding Unpleasant Effects

Experiencing undesired effects is always a possibility when consuming cannabis, mainly when too much is consumed. These adverse effects can include:

- An inability to concentrate 

- Memory problems

- Anxiety, panic or paranoia 

- Disorganized thoughts 

- Dizziness or hallucinations 

- Reduced reaction time 

- Sleepiness

You can learn more about these unpleasant effects from this Health Canada brochure published by the federal government.

Most of these effects are temporary, but two excellent ways to minimize them or avoid them together are to choose cannabis product(s) with low THC contents and to consume small amounts slowly.

 

Long-term Effects of Cannabis Consumption

Some studies have suggested there may be long-term effects associated with the prolonged use of cannabis. These long-term effects may include (but are not limited to):

- An increased risk to the mental health of long-term heavy consumers 

- Possible lung damage and infections associated with deep inhalation 

- Possible addiction (Health Canada estimates a 9% addiction rate), coughing, and throat irritation from inhaling cannabis

- Exposure to harmful second-hand smoke 

- Risk of the deterioration of one's concentration, decision-making ability, intelligence and memory 

Consult the Health Canada website for further information on the potential health effects of consuming cannabis.