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Key Effects of Cannabis

There are many types of cannabis products. People use cannabis to feel high, relaxed, or for medicinal purposes. The effects of using cannabis vary from one person to the other depending on:

  • Your age and sex
  • Potency of cannabis
  • Amount, frequency and duration of use
  • Your physical and mental health
  • Your use of other substances, such as alcohol and other drugs (illegal, prescribed, over-the-counter)

The risks of using cannabis may include:

  • Effects on short-term memory, attention and coordination
  • Anxiety and mild to acute paranoia
  • Increased appetite (can be a benefit for some people)
  • Impact on physical health, including risk of cancer (there may be a higher risk of lung cancer among those who smoke cigarettes and smoke cannabis)
  • Impact on mental health
  • Impact on fertility, pregnancy and parenting

The effects of heavy use (1 or more joints per day) can last for several weeks, and even for years after stopping use.  Evidence is showing a possible connection between regular cannabis use and the risk of developing, or worsening mental health symptoms.

For people at high-risk for mental health issues such as personal history of mood and anxiety disorders, or a family history of mental health disorders, the use of cannabis can increase the risk of developing a mental health disorder and increase the symptoms. In particular, there is a risk of a psychotic episode after cannabis use for those at risk.

Using Tobacco & Cannabis

Smoking tobacco and cannabis together (e.g. adding tobacco to cannabis joints) may increase cancer risk. Most people who smoke cannabis inhale more deeply as they hold the smoke in longer, exposing their lungs to more cancer-causing agents.

There is more and more evidence that cannabis is harmful to early brain development especially if you’re using it before you are 25 years old.