What Are the Effects of Cannabis?
The effects experienced by the cannabis user are variable and will depend upon the dose, method of administration, prior experience, any concurrent drug use, personal expectations, mood state and the social environment in which the drug is used.
- an altered state of consciousness. The user may feel “high”, very happy, euphoric, relaxed, sociable and uninhibited.
- distorted perceptions of time and space. The user may feel more sensitive to things around them, and may also experience a more vivid sense of taste, sight, smell and hearing.
- increased pulse and heart rate, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, and often increased appetite.
- impaired coordination and concentration, making activities such as driving a car or operating machinery difficult and dangerous.
- negative experiences, such as anxiousness, panic, self-consciousness and paranoid thoughts.
The effects of cannabis are felt within minutes, reach their peak in 10 to 30 minutes, and may linger for two or three hours. When it is swallowed, the effect is felt in about an hour, and lasts longer than when it is smoked. THC is highly lipid soluble and can be stored in fat cells potentially for several months. The stored THC is released very slowly, and unevenly, back into the bloodstream.
While no one has ever died of a cannabis overdose, those who use cannabis should be aware of the following possible dangers, and take measures to avoid them:
- Cannabis impairs depth perception, attention span and concentration, slows reaction time, and decreases muscle strength and hand steadiness—all of which may affect a person’s ability to drive safely.
- Large doses of potent cannabis, especially when swallowed, can cause “toxic psychosis.” Symptoms include auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoid delusions, confusion and amnesia. When cannabis use is stopped, these symptoms usually disappear within a week.
- Cannabis and alcohol, when taken together, intensify each other’s effects and can cause severe impairment.
- Cannabis intoxication affects thinking and short-term memory. Using cannabis while at school or work may interfere with learning or work performance.
- Unless you have a medical exemption, it is illegal to grow, possess or sell cannabis.
- Illegal cannabis products are not subject to any health and safety standards, and may be contaminated with other drugs, pesticides or toxic fungi.
- Cannabis use raises the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. People with angina or other coronary artery disease may increase their risk of heart attack if they use cannabis.
- Using cannabis during pregnancy may affect the fetus. Research suggests there may be a link between cannabis use during pregnancy and subtle cognitive problems in children. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same chemicals found in cigarette smoke, which are dangerous to the fetus.
People who use cannabis heavily or regularly, or people with certain medical or psychiatric conditions, risk the following possible long-term effects:
Long Term Use
- Cannabis smoke contains tar and other known cancer-causing agents. People who smoke cannabis often hold unfiltered smoke in their lungs for maximum effect. This adds to the risk of cancer.
- The constant intoxication associated with heavy cannabis use often reduces motivation for work and study, although this usually returns when drug use is stopped.
- There is a possible association between heavy regular cannabis use and the onset of schizophrenia. It is not clear, however, whether cannabis use releases latent symptoms of schizophrenia, or whether people use cannabis to help them cope with the symptoms of an emerging psychosis. Evidence suggests that continued cannabis use in people with schizophrenia accentuates psychotic symptoms and worsens the course of the illness.
- Chronic, heavy use of cannabis may impair people’s attention, memory and the ability to process complex information for weeks, months and even years after they have stopped using cannabis.
- Smoking cannabis irritates the respiratory system. Chronic marijuana smoking has been linked to bronchitis.
The Effects of Cannabis on the Brain
Your brain has groups of cannabinoid receptors concentrated in several different places (see picture). These cannabinoid receptors can affect the following mental and physical activities:
- Short-term memory
Age of Use
Although it is argued that consuming cannabis will hinder brain development in adolescents before the age of 25 years old, CBC reports that part of the reasoning behind this decision was that setting the age at 21 years, or more, will lead to a police crackdown on younger users, and further drive up the black market.
In Ontario, the legal age to buy, sell, have and share recreational cannabis is 19 years old.
This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.
Recreational vs. Medical Cannabis
Cannabis is used by both medical and recreational consumers. Recreational dispensaries is an alternative to common black market practices because they operate during business hours and operate as a business. CAFE is focused on providing products that consumers demand, delivered by knowledgable staff.
Products found in store and online, are quality controlled, lab tested, and trusted to the thousands served so far.