Cannabis: Safety, injuries, and poisonings

How can I keep my child safe?

Keep cannabis locked up.

Cannabis in the household must be treated with the same level of caution and danger as alcohol, prescription medications, and cleaning products. Any form of cannabis products (for example oils and edibles) should be kept in child-resistant packaging in a secure area that is locked and out of reach of children. This includes cannabis paraphernalia, such as lighters, matches, and vaporizers. Make sure children do not have access to cannabis plants that are being grown either indoors or outdoors. [18]

Protect them from second-hand smoke.

Avoid smoking or vaporizing cannabis indoors or around children. Cannabis contains the same harmful cancer causing chemicals as cigarette smoke. Third-hand exposure is also a risk and happens when residual chemicals linger on clothing and surfaces. Not smoking is the best way to protect your child from second-hand smoke. If you are planning on using cannabis, refer to Canada’s Lower-Risk Use Guidelines. (PDF) [18]

Have the “cannabis conversation”.

It’s important to talk with your child early and openly about cannabis. For more information on how to talk with your child, read Drug Free Canada’s Cannabis Talk Kit (PDF), which has important facts, scripts and talking points. [18]

What does a cannabis overdose or “greening out” look like?

A person who has ingested or used too much cannabis may be experiencing:

In most cases, individuals are discharged from the emergency room once the symptoms subside. Be mindful of instances where other drugs or alcohol may have been used with cannabis. Different drugs may have harmful effects when combined with cannabis. Consult your physician for more information about drug interaction.

Is it safe to drive after using cannabis?

No. It is not safe to drive after using cannabis. Cannabis impairment can last, unknowingly, for a prolonged period of time [1]. Driving after using cannabis can lead to an injury to yourself or someone you care about, a license suspension, an arrest, and even a criminal record. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. [5]

If you think you may be impaired, plan ahead to get home safely. Here are some alternate ways to get home [17]:

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is not responsible for the enforcement of impaired driving. Public Health is advising the public to direct their questions to the local police service. In emergencies, call 911.

How is the government going to prevent people from driving high like they do with alcohol?

Impaired driving by a drug or alcohol is illegal in Canada. Police are already able to test for drug-impaired driving using standard field sobriety tests and through the use of drug recognition experts (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).

Learn about the federal government’s nationwide Don’t Drive High (Government of Canada) campaign, which aims to educate Canadians about the safety and legal risks of drug-impaired driving. [8]

I have heard that it’s safer to eat cannabis than it is to smoke it. Is this true?

Smoking cannabis on a regular basis, over a long time can hurt your lungs and make it harder to breathe [19]. From a harm reduction perspective, you may wish to choose other ways to use cannabis, such as using vaporizers or edibles instead, but recognize that these forms also come with some risks. For example, edibles are safer for your lungs, but you may consume larger doses and experience more severe impairment because psychoactive effects are delayed. [7]

Even though cannabis edibles will not harm your breathing, risks of using cannabis in other forms like edibles includes [7]:

What are the effects of cannabis second-hand smoke?

Any kind of smoke is harmful. In fact, studies have shown that cannabis smoke contains many of the same harmful substances as tobacco smoke. Like smoking cigarettes, smoking cannabis can damage your lungs and can cause bronchitis-like symptoms, coughing and wheezing which can, for example, affect athletic performance. While the effects of second-hand smoke from tobacco are well known, more research is needed to better understand the health effects of second hand smoke from cannabis. [8]

1 Eastern Ontario Health Unit, “Cannabis Summary,” 2018.

5 Government of Canada, “Don’t Drive High,” 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.canada.ca/en/campaign/don-t-drive-high.html.

7 Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM), “Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines,” 2017.

8 Health Canada, “Your cannabis questions answered,” 2018.

17 Royal Canadian Mounted Police, “Youth Impaired Driving,” 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cycp-cpcj/id-cfa/index-eng.htm.

18 Parenting in Ottawa, “Cannabis (Marijuana),” 2018. [Online]. Available: http://www.parentinginottawa.ca/en/youth/cannabis-and-marijuana.aspx#How-can-I-keep-my-home-safe-for-my-teen-.

19 Government of Cannabis, “Cannabis,” 2018. [Online]. Available: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/health/campaigns/cannabis.html?utm_campaign=cannabis-18&utm_medium=vurl-en&utm_source=canada-ca_cannabis.

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This item was last modified on October 17, 2018