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Physical Health

Maintaining a healthy body is crucial for academic success and personal development. By taking care of our physical bodies, we allow ourselves to reach our maximum potential throughout the day. There are many elements that affect our physical health. Here are some key areas of concern:

Physical activity has many health benefits! Living an active lifestyle helps:

  • Lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.

  • Weight management.

  • Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Improve fitness and strength.

  • Decreases stress and depression.

  • Support growth and development.


For individuals between the ages of 18–64 years old, it is recommended that you participate in 150 minutes of moderate and vigorous activity per week. This can include walking, running, swimming, biking, hiking, etc.


Alcohol and certain drugs can have a substantial negative effects on health and learning capabilities. It is important to equip yourself with reliable, accurate information.

Benefits of drinking less alcohol:

  • Save Money — Alcohol can be very expensive.

  • Your weight — Alcohol is heavy on calories.

  • Sleep soundly — Drinking less means that you get more high quality sleep.

  • Reduce stress — Some people say that they drink to relax, but in fact excess.

  • Avoid hangovers — Feel better and be more productive during your day.

  • Stay healthy for longer — Reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

The benefits of giving up smoking include:

  • Reduce the chances of getting lung disease and heart disease.

  • Reduce the chances of getting cancer.

  • Being able to run/walk without getting out of breath.

  • Save money by not buying cigarettes.

  • Your clothes and breath will smell better.

  • Your sense of taste will improve.

  • Your skin will look better.

  • Smoking is banned in most public places.


Quitting smoking can be hard. Peer to peer support may help you through the process. Leave The Pack Behind, external link is an innovative peer-to-peer smoking cessation initiative at Ryerson. LTPB includes continuous multi-channel education, ongoing interpersonal outreach through student-staffed displays and office hours, and uninterrupted access to smoking awareness, reduction, cessation, and interventions for students.

LTPB is not an anti-smoking organization; rather we run awareness and smoking cessation programs. People have the right to choose to smoke, but we believe by educating students about the associated risks that they will make a healthy, educated choice on their own.


What is a Cold?

Colds are viral in nature, commonly caused by the adenovirus or the rhinovirus. Colds are usually less severe than the flu. Symptoms usually progress more slowly than flu symptoms and can last 4–10 days.


What is the Flu?

The flu is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms can occur suddenly and be severe, often lasting 1–10 days.

The flu vaccine changes from year to year, helping to protect you against many different strains of the flu. The flu vaccine does not cause you to get the flu and is also not effective against the cold virus.

  • The Ministry of Health is now recommending that everyone in Ontario get an annual flu shot.

  • The flu shot is offered free of charge through the Ryerson Health Centre.

  • As a young adult, you may be able to fight a cold or flu with few problems, however, you may spread the virus to a person who may experience complications from the flu because their immune system is not as healthy as yours.

“Being sexually healthy means that you are free from disease, violence, injury, fear, and false beliefs. It also means that you are comfortable with your sexuality, and have the ability to control and positively experience your own sexuality and reproduction.” — Sexuality and U, external link

For general information on Sexuality, Sexual Health, and Reproduction, please visit, external link

For information on Sexual Violence, please visit the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education or contact our Counselling Centre.

Cannabis and you: 10 ways to reduce risks when it comes to cannabis use:

1. Cannabis use has health risks best avoided by not using.

2. Delay taking up cannabis use until later in life; the later you start, the lower the risk.

3. Identify and choose lower-risk cannabis products - know what you’re using.

4. Don’t use synthetic cannabis products, as they aren’t safe.

5. Avoid smoking burnt cannabis, to decrease your risk of harming your lungs.

6. If you smoke cannabis, avoid harmful smoking practices.

7. Limit and reduce how often you use cannabis.

8. Don’t use and drive.

9. Avoid cannabis use altogether if you have a family history of psychosis or substance use disorders, or if you are pregnant.

10. Avoid combining these risks.

Early and frequent use of cannabis in young adults can alter the structure of the developing brain, including areas responsible for memory, decision making and executive functioning.

Learn more about cannabis and Canadian and provincial laws around use at

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.


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.

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.

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. 


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

Health Canada webpage on health effects of cannabis, external link


What is the active ingredient in cannabis?

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:, external link

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

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

What happens when someone smokes cannabis?

When cannabis is inhaled into the lungs, it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream which 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 6 hours and the residual effect lasts up to 24 hours after use.

What happens when someone ingests cannabis?

When cannabis is ingested it takes much longer for the effects to appear, as it needs to pass through the digestive system before it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The full effect of ingesting cannabis appears after 4 hours. The effect can last up to 12 hours, and some residual effect last up to 24 hours after use. 

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

What happens when someone uses cannabis with other products?

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



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. Book an appointment with the Medical Centre to get started - it's free, you just need to bring your OneCard. Call them at 416-979-5070.

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.

Please visit Health Canada's website for more information on the effects of cannabis, external link, external link.


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

Health Canada webpage on health effects of cannabis  , external link