cannabis plant


What is cannabis?

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, weed, or pot, comes from the plant Cannabis sativa. It contains dried flowers, fruiting tops and leaves. It is usually a greenish or brownish colour. Cannabis is most commonly smoked, eaten or vapourised.

What does cannabis do to you?

Cannabis contains THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), a mind-altering chemical that give those who use it a high. Cannabis affects every person differently. It can make you feel happy or relaxed. It can also make you feel confused or anxious. Cannabis is also linked with problems with memory and learning, altered perceptions (sights, sounds, time and touch), and loss of motor coordination. Early and frequent cannabis use, such as use during teenage years, is linked with poor school performance and can increase the risk of chronic respiratory issues and psychosis in those with a family history. Cannabis, just like any other drug, can lead to addiction. To learn more about how cannabis affects your health, visit the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health (CAMH) website.

How can I talk to my kids about cannabis?

It’s important to start the conversation about drugs (cannabis and others) with your kids. Being open and talking often about drugs will help your kids make informed decisions.

The Cannabis Talk Kit can help families navigate through a changing cannabis landscape (Parler cannabis - savoir discuter avec son ado).

Blue cannabis talk kit button

 If I choose to use, how do I reduce the risks?

Reduce the risks of harm

Choosing not to use cannabis is the best way to avoid risks. However, if you choose to use, here are some ways to reduce the risks. Read below for more information or download the English posters or French posters.


 speech bubble cannabis leaf Recognize your role

Adults influence the attitudes and choices of young people around them. Have open conversations with youth about the risks of cannabis use. Protect children and pets from accidental overdoses by storing cannabis safely and out of reach. 


 clockDelay use

Brains develop until our mid-20s. Regular cannabis use before then can affect memory, thinking and attention. It increases the risk of mental health problems, dependence and lung conditions. Avoid cannabis use until adulthood. 


 Car steering wheelDon’t drive high

Using cannabis reduces your reaction time, coordination and other abilities. Driving or using machinery while high increases your risk of injury and death. Your high can last up to 6 hours after smoking or vaping cannabis and even longer if eaten. 


 alcohol bottleDon’t mix

Mixing with alcohol can cause anxiety, nausea, vomiting, or fainting. Mixing with tobacco can harm your lungs and lead to nicotine addiction. Do not mix cannabis with alcohol or tobacco. 


 Two cannabis leavesChoose how you use

Smoking cannabis can damage your lungs. Choose other methods like vaporizers and edibles instead, but know that they also come with risks.


 brainKeep your mental health in mind

If you have a family history of mental illness, avoid cannabis use. It could lead to temporary psychosis including paranoia and hallucinations. It can also trigger schizophrenia in those already at risk.  


strollerPregnant or breastfeeding? Avoid use

There is no known safe amount of cannabis to use while pregnant or breastfeeding. Whether it’s smoked, eaten, or vaporized, it gets passed to your baby.  


lungsProtect your lungs

Your lungs absorb cannabis within seconds. Deep inhaling and breath-holding increases the toxins entering your body without increasing your high. If you smoke, take shallow inhales and exhale right away.  


arrow pointing downReduce use

The more you use cannabis, the higher the risk of health and social problems. Avoid daily or near-daily use.  


lipsShare with care

Sharing increases the risk of spreading infections like meningitis, hepatitis C and other diseases. Avoid sharing joints, bongs or vaporizers. 


snailStart low and go slow

Wait at least 10 minutes after smoking or vaping cannabis and two hours after eating it to feel the full effects before using more. 


three cannabis leavesCheck the strain and strength

Different cannabis strains can have different effects on you. If using a new strain, try a small amount first to see how you react. Check the THC content in the cannabis product you’re using. More THC can increase the risk of harm. 

What are the rules now that cannabis is legal?

Learn about Ontario’s cannabis laws at

Where can I find classroom resources on cannabis?

Find in-classroom teaching resources about cannabis prevention here.

Where can I go for help?

If you are worried about yourself or someone you know, there are places that can help.

For adult services:

For child and youth services:


More information

North Bay

345 Oak Street West

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)