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Things to know about cannabis

Cannabis and its active components (such as THC and CBD, among other cannabinoids) exist in many forms and strengths and can affect people in different ways. Whether it's your first time or you're a frequent user, here are some things to consider if you choose to use marijuana

Cannabis may be used for good, and cannabis can also cause problems when used in an unhealthy manner. Just because it is legal does not mean it is risk free or not likely to harm. Many states have legalized cannabis, but because cannabis is a schedule I drug, research continues to be limited, thus there are still unanswered questions around health risks and potential for addiction.

To be clear, federal law still prohibits the use, possession, or cultivation of Cannabis. The information on this page is designed to educate and help individuals make informed decisions if they choose to use. Note, cannabis use is illegal for those under the age of 21 even where it may have been legalized by the state.

If you choose to use:
if you choose to use cannabis
#1 What’s Your Why?

Taking time to reflect on your relationship with cannabis and the reasons you may choose to use can help you have a healthy relationship with the substance more of the experiences you want to have and minimize those you do not. 

First, think about how your values align with your choice to use…think about the feelings, actions or benefits you want to experience from using. Next, consider what your expectation is when you use, (e.g., forget about troubles, feel calm, socialize with friends, reduce pain Etc.), also consider things you do not wish to occur (e.g., lose control, memory issues, increased anxiety, academic problems)…remember when one uses out of a need they tend not to manage consumption in a healthy manner...Working through this is a start to understanding your motivation for use…these types of exercises can be a great starting point in understanding your choices around cannabis.
#2 Be aware of what you are using/consuming

Double-check the serving size for THC-infused edible cannabis products. Some suggestions for a new user are that a standard dose contains between 5, and no more than 10 mg of THC. However, one’s tolerance may affect how serving sizes impact you. If it is your first time using edible products, start with a smaller amount (2.5-5 mg). It is important to remember that it may take from 20 minutes up to 2 hours for edibles to begin to take effect. Effects from edibles can last between six and eight hours.

how is eating cannabis different from smoking it?
#3 Avoid mixing cannabis with alcohol and other substances


Using one substance at a time is more likely to result in a safer experience. Mixing two or more substances can make it challenging to predict what is going to happen or how you will be affected. Furthermore, two or more substances used together can result in adverse side effects. Play it safe by only using one substance at a time. 

Also, be aware that cannabis may change how prescription drugs work. Always talk with your doctor about any medications you are taking or thinking about taking and possible side effects when mixed with other things like cannabis (CDC).
#4 Wait before engaging in activities that may put you at a higher risk

It’s recommended to wait at least 3-6 hours after vaping or smoking and 6-8 hours after consuming edibles before engaging in higher-risk activities like driving, skiing or swimming. These times can vary depending on your tolerance and use. In some cases, you may need to wait longer than the recommended times. (University of Colorado)
# 5 Use with people you trust 
If you choose to use, use with people you know, trust and feel comfortable with. If you feel pressured to use or use more than you’re comfortable with, find the courage to say and practice your “no”. For example, you could say, “No thanks, I am the designated driver” or “Thanks, but I’m good.”
# 6 Always keep public health guidelines in mind

Remember to follow public health guidelines:

Forestall “puff and pass” rotations and do not share joints, bongs, pipes, vaporizers or other personal items with others. These items need to be cleaned even for your own personal use.

Avoid blowing smoke or vapor directly at another person. Refrain from smoking or vaping in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area.

Practice physical distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet between yourself and others.

Follow all current public health orders and limitations on gathering size and wearing face coverings.