If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s use of cannabis, alcohol, or another drug, please contact Health Link at 811 (1-866-408-5465 for internet phone users) or the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322.



Get the Facts

All forms of cannabis cause short-term and long-term health effects and can harm your health. The only way to completely avoid health risks related to cannabis is to not use it. Learn more about cannabis and your health below.

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Lower Your Risk

Cannabis is legal but that doesn't mean it's harmless. If you choose to use cannabis, there are ways to lower your risk of health harms.

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The Basics

Cannabis (also called marijuana, weed, pot, bud) is a plant that contains many chemicals called cannabinoids. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is the main chemical found in cannabis that causes the feeling of being 'high'. CBD does not cause the feeling of being 'high' but does have an effect on the brain. CBD is being studied for possible medical benefits and may lessen some of the effects of THC.

Ways Cannabis Is Used



Eat or Drink

Nausea and cannabis

Feeling Sick?

Heavy cannabis use can sometimes cause severe nausea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration and kidney damage.


Driving under the influence of cannabis

Cannabis & Driving Don't Mix

Cannabis can impair your ability to drive and increase your risk of a crash.


How to Lower Your Risk of Harm

If You Choose to Smoke or Vape

  • Choose products with 10% (100mg/g) THC or less.
  • Start with 1 or 2 puffs and wait up to 30 minutes to feel the full effects.
  • Avoid inhaling deeply or holding your breath.
  • Effects can last 6 hours or more, with some lasting up to 24 hours.
  • Vaping cannabis comes with its own set of risks including harmful ingredients, risk of the vape exploding, and damage to your lungs.

If You Choose to Eat or Drink

  • Choose products with 2.5 mg THC or less, especially if you're a new or occasional user.
  • It can take up to 4 hours to feel the full effects. Using more cannabis within that time can increase your risk of harmful effects.
  • Effects can last up to 12 hours, with some lasting up to 24 hours.

Learn more about cannabis edibles.


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Title of Page Description Keywords Topics Link


Health Effects

Learn how cannabis affects your health.

Tags: health effects; all



If You're Under 25

Learn more on using cannabis before the age of 25.

Tags: under 25; all



Lower-Risk Use

Learn about lower-risk use of cannabis.

Tags: safety; all



Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

Find more information when pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tags: pregnancy; all



Parents, Caregivers & Youth Allies

Talking to children and teens about cannabis.

Tags: youth; all



Cannabis & Your Medications

Learn how cannabis can interact with your medications and affect your health.

Tags: health effects; all



Cannabis & Safety Around Others

Keeping the home and children safe around cannabis.

Tags: safety; all



Non-medical cannabis became legal across Canada on October 17, 2018. To find out more about cannabis laws in Alberta, go to alberta.ca/cannabis.