Health Info

Health Info

Cannabis can be used for medical or non-medical purposes. People may choose to use cannabis for its therapeutic effects. But it can also harm your health. Cannabis affects everyone differently.

Safe and Responsible Use

In a Statistics Canada survey, 17% of people in British Columbia reported consuming cannabis within the past year. But cannabis use does carry some health risks. These risks vary by age of user, consumption method and context of use.

Using cannabis may carry health risks and these risks increase with regular use. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is a condition that causes persistent nausea and stomach pain that can cause frequent vomiting and weight loss. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has collaborated with other organizations to produce a new resource about the syndrome, Frequent vomiting from use of cannabis. The resource provides information about cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, the health risks associated with the condition and options for its treatment and prevention.

Learn more about the health risks and guidelines for safer use:

Edibles, topicals, extracts

As of October 17, 2019, federal cannabis regulations will include new rules to allow the legal production and sale of three new classes of cannabis products:

  • Edible cannabis, such as baked goods and beverages;
  • Cannabis extracts, such as vaping liquids, tinctures, wax, hash and cannabis oil; and
  • Cannabis topicals, such as creams, lotions and balms, and similar products that are meant to be applied to a person’s skin, hair or nails

Check out these resources to learn more about the three new classes of cannabis or visit Health Canada’s website:

For information about the health effects of vaping, please visit the BC Lung Association or HealthLink BC.

Cannabis edibles: Start low, go slow
Edible cannabis products may look like regular foods such as baked goods (brownies, cookies), drinks, chocolates or candies, but they aren’t. Many cannabis edibles contain THC and overconsumption can cause adverse effects and/or accidental poisoning, especially if eaten by a child or pet.

Learn more on the safe use of edibles, topicals and extracts 

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Not using cannabis during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is the safest option for you and your baby until we can learn more from research about the effects. Here is what we currently know:

In pregnancy

Cannabis use during pregnancy may harm your baby. It has been associated in some studies with:

  • low birth weight
  • longer term developmental effects for children and youth – affecting memory, attention span, reasoning and problem-solving skills, and hyperactivity
  • increased risk for future problematic substance use

Some pregnant women wish to use cannabis for morning sickness, anxiety or pain. There are alternative treatments for these health issues. Please speak to your health care provider about the options.

When breastfeeding

Chemicals from cannabis are also passed through breast milk, and may have negative short and long term health effects – in the short term affecting the infant’s ability to nurse, and in the long term affecting development.

At the very least, avoid breastfeeding within one-hour of inhaled use, to reduce exposure to highest concentration of cannabis in breast milk.

Learn more about cannabis use, including during pregnancy and while breastfeeding:

Learn more about the health risks of cannabis use, including during pregnancy and while breastfeeding:

Safe Kids

You must be 19 years or older to buy, consume (through smoking, vaping and all other forms of consumption), possess or grow non-medical cannabis. Early and regular cannabis use is associated with higher risks of dependency and health problems later in life.

Cannabis can affect your health:

  • Frequent heavy cannabis use in your teens and early 20s may lead to physical changes in your brain, since your brain is going through rapid development
  • Like cigarettes, smoking cannabis is harmful to your lungs
  • Frequent heavy cannabis use is associated with problems with memory, thinking, and attention span
  • Frequent heavy cannabis use may increase the risk of mental health issues, like psychosis, anxiety and depression

Information for parents and caregivers/allies:

Information for youth and young adults: