Oh, Canada! Our neighbor to the north is looking forward to recreational cannabis sales beginning next year, and last month the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse released their guidelines to educate consumers on responsible cannabis use. Their list of 10 recommendations makes for interesting reading. Here’s a summary:
1.) Cannabis use has health risks best avoided by abstaining.
• The “just say no” suggestion. Dying in a car crash is best avoided by abstaining from riding in a car, too, and yet we all do it.
2.) Delay taking up cannabis use until later in life.
• Any way you look at, it’s not a good idea to consume cannabis when your brain is still developing.
3.) Identify and choose lower-risk cannabis products.
• The guidelines suggest using high CBD to THC ratio products. If you’re inexperienced with cannabis, it’s important to carefully gauge your consumption. Products that are high in CBD vs. THC, like NectarBee® CBD Ginger Ale are a great way to test the waters.
4.) Don’t use synthetic cannabinoids.
• In other words, choose the natural herb, and avoid K2 or Spice, which are dangerous substitutes.
5.) Avoid smoking burnt cannabis, choose safer ways of using.
• This guideline is inspired by the fact that inhaling any kind of smoke, be it tobacco or cannabis, carries risks of harm to your respiratory system and lungs. The Canadian suggestion is to vape or use edibles instead of smoking flower.
6.) If you smoke cannabis, avoid harmful smoking practices.
• Don’t inhale deeply, or hold in a hit, Canada says, because this will “increase the amount of toxic material absorbed by your lungs and into your body.”
7.) Limit and reduce how often you use cannabis.
• The Canadian guidelines recommend limiting cannabis consumption to weekends only. But, you know, no judgment.
8.) Don’t use and drive, or operate other machinery.
• This one’s a no-brainer. Abstaining from driving under the influence can stave off numerous negative outcomes, including your death or the death of others. At the very least, it will assure that you never get a DUI, saving you thousands of dollars and weeks of your life.
9.) Avoid cannabis use altogether if you are at risk for mental health problems or are pregnant.
• It seems a bit odd to lump these two recommendations together, but oh well. If you have a history of psychosis, it’s best that you avoid cannabis. Also, pregnant women should abstain from alcohol and cannabis, as those substances could harm the fetus or newborn.
10.) Avoid combining these risks.
• The guidelines outline behavior that could be problematic. If one behavior can be trouble, combining two or more could be doubly bad. For instance, if you use cannabis every day, and you smoke it (as opposed to vaping), and you drive under the influence, then you’ve tripled your risky behavior.
Be smart, and stay safe, the guidelines seem to say. And that’s something we can all get behind.