You are now in the main content area

 NOTE:  Please check this website for updates to stay informed about any changes to Ryerson's cannabis rules.

Health Considerations

THC’s effects vary depending on who you are, the potency of the strain, whether you smoke it or eat it, and other things.

Using cannabis can:

  • Give you a relaxed sense of well-being
  • Heighten your senses, like make colours seem brighter
  • Change your sense of time
  • Make you anxious, afraid, or panicked
  • Make you hallucinate

Infographic from PDF filethe Canadian Center on the Substance Use and Addiction on ingesting/inhaling cannabis, external link

 

When cannabis is inhaled into the lungs, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The effects can be felt by the brain and body. It can take up to 30 minutes to feel the full effect from one inhalation. The effect can last up to six hours and the residual effect lasts up to 24 hours after use.

Source: Health Canada's webpage 'What you need to know if you choose to consume cannabis', external link

 

When cannabis is ingested it takes much longer for the effects to be felt because it needs to pass through the digestive system before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. The full effect can take four hours and can last up to 12 hours. Some residual effects can last up to 24 hours after use. 

Infographic on PDF fileEdible Cannabis from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction , external link

 

Consumed cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating or drinking) should not be combined with nicotine, alcohol or other drugs, as this can increase impairment and the risk of other adverse effects.

Source: Health Canada's webpage 'What you need to know if you choose to consume cannabis', external link

 

The effects of cannabis can vary depending on who you are, the potency of the strain, whether you smoke it or eat it, as well as other factors. When cannabis is smoked or vaporized, the effects begin right away and last for at least six hours. The effects of edibles may begin between 30 minutes and two hours after taking them, and can last up to 24 hours. Although edibles don’t harm the lungs and respiratory system like smoking cannabis, it can take longer for their effects to be noticed. This can cause a person to consume more in a short amount of time, intensifying the potentially harmful effects. 

Sources:

CAMHs  Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know Factsheet, external link

Health Canada webpage on health effects of cannabis  , external link

Driving drug-impaired is illegal and just as dangerous as driving drunk. Cannabis, like many other drugs, slows your reaction time, affects your ability to judge distance and pay attention and increases your chances of being in a collision.

If a police officer finds that you are impaired by any drug, including cannabis, you may face serious penalties, including:

  • an immediate licence suspension
  • financial penalties
  • possible vehicle impoundment
  • possible criminal record
  • possible jail time

Police officers are authorized to use oral fluid screening devices at roadside. Once a federally approved device is available, we will implement the use of those devices to help police enforce the law. (Source: the Ontario government's webpage on cannabis legalization., external link)

Zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers

You are not allowed to have any cannabis in your system (as detected by a federally approved oral fluid screening device) if you are driving a motor vehicle and:

  • you are 21 or under
  • have a G1, G2, M1 or M2 licence
  • the vehicle you are driving requires an A-F driver’s licence or Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR)
  • you are driving a road-building machine

Learn more about zero tolerance for young, novice and commercial drivers, external link.

Early and frequent use can alter the structure of the developing brain, including areas responsible for memory, decision making and executive functioning.  Regular cannabis use in adolescents and young adults is associated with experiencing psychotic symptoms, especially when there is a family or personal history of psychotic disorders. While the evidence is not as strong regarding other mental health issues, there are possible links between regular cannabis use in youth, and increased risk for depression and suicide.

There are also noticeable effects on behavior in adolescence and young adults, such as:

  • difficulty holding back or controlling emotions.
  • a preference for high-excitement and low-effort activities.
  • poor planning and judgement (rarely thinking of negative consequences).
  • riskier and more impulsive behaviours, including experimenting with drug use, binge drinking, dangerous driving (e.g. texting, driving while high or being a passenger with a high driver) and engaging in unsafe sex.

Sources:

CAMH's  Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know Factsheet, external link

Health Canada's webpage on health effects of cannabis  , external link

 

Some adverse effects might be irreversible, with the potential to seriously limit a young person’s educational, occupational and social development.

The long-term effects of cannabis on your brain can include:

  • an increased risk of psychotic symptoms (changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviours), especially when there is a family or personal history of psychotic disorders.
  • an increased risk of addiction.
  • an increased risk of anxiety and depression.
  • memory problems.
  • concentration problems.
  • decreased intelligence (IQ).
  • decreased ability to think clearly and to make decisions.

The long-term effects of cannabis on your health can include:

  • bronchitis.
  • lung infections.
  • chronic (long-term) cough.
  • increased mucus buildup in the chest.

Sources:

CAMH's  Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know Factsheet, external link

Health Canada webpage on health effects of cannabis  , external link

 

Cannabis comes from the dried flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa and has more than 500 chemical compounds. Cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), a chemical that causes an intoxicating effect (the mental and physical effects known as feeling “high”). THC in cannabis can also cause anxiety.

THC can affect individuals’:

  • Coordination
  • Reaction time
  • Ability to pay attention
  • Decision-making abilities
  • Ability to judge distances.

Source: Health Canada's webpage on health effects of cannabis , external link

 

Cannabis is not a harmless drug. Frequent use that starts in adolescence increases the chance of addiction. Close to one in 10 adults who have ever used cannabis will develop an addiction to it. This statistic rises to about one in six for those who started as a teenager. Between one in four and one in two of those who smoke cannabis daily will develop an addiction to it.

 

Some indicators that you might be addicted to cannabis are:

  • you try, but can’t quit using cannabis.
  • you give up important activities with friends and family in favour of using cannabis.
  • you continue using cannabis even though you know that it causes problems at home, school, or work.

Compared to casual users, people who are addicted to cannabis are at a higher risk of the negative consequences of using the drug, such as problems with attention, memory, and learning.

 

Workplace Wellbeing Services in Human Resources provides strategic support to faculty and staff about cannabis awareness, making healthy choices, and access to various support services.

Student Health and Wellness provides a wide range of services to Ryerson students, including Counselling and Development, Health Promotion, and medical services for students seeking support.

Health Promotion Resources