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Alcohol & Other Drugs

Safer Cannabis Use: Marijuana, hash, hash oil

Reduce your risk of lung problems, mental health problems and legal issues

Author: Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research

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You and safer cannabis use

While using cannabis may be safer than using some other drugs, there are things about using cannabis that can be harmful. Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of harms and bad experiences.

Before you start.

Be sure you trust your source. Cannabis for adult personal use is now legal in Canada. Legal cannabis products are tested for quality in BC, and thus safer to use than cannabis you may get from your dealer or a friend. Avoid using cannabis if contaminants like mold and mildew are visible.

Try a small amount first. Some strains of cannabis may have higher THC content and may have a stronger effect than you were expecting. If you know it’s a stronger strain, you can use less and avoid unnecessary smoke and toxins in your lungs.

When using cannabis.

Be smart. Possessing up to 30 grams of cannabis for your own use is legal in Canada. Cannabis is regulated by the province of BC. You must be 19 or over to purchase, possess or use cannabis or cannabis products. Be sure you know where and when it is safe to use.

Avoid cannabis smoke if possible. Cannabis smoke contains tar and toxins. The safest choice is to use a vaporizer—it delivers the THC in mist form instead of smoke. But they cost a lot of money—$100-700. The second best choice is to smoke it in the form of a joint.

Prevent burns on your lips or fingers. Use a small piece of rolled unbleached cardboard as a filter.

Take shallow puffs, not deep inhalations. About 95% of the THC in the smoke is absorbed in the first few seconds so you don’t need to puff hard or hold your breath.

Leave tobacco out of the mix. Tobacco contains many cancer-causing toxins, so it’s safer to smoke cannabis by itself.

Did you know.

Water bongs are not as safe as joints. Bongs filter out more THC than tars since water tends to absorb THC. This requires you to puff harder, increasing the amount of tar that is inhaled.

Some pipes and bongs give off toxic fumes. If using a bong, avoid those with a plastic bottle, rubber hose or aluminum cone. If using a pipe, make sure it’s made of glass, stainless steel or brass (avoid wood and plastic).

Cannabis and driving.

Stay away from the steering wheel. Cannabis can impair your motor coordination, judgment and other skills related to safe driving. It’s safest to wait three to four hours after using cannabis before driving or operating machinery.

If eating or drinking cannabis.

Take your time. It can be hard to find the right dose when eating cannabis cookies or drinking cannabis tea. You may get much higher for much longer than you wanted to. To prevent this, use a small amount and wait at least one hour to feel the effects before using more.

Things to avoid

Using regularly at an early age. Human brains are not fully developed until early adulthood.

Using cannabis daily or almost daily. Regular habitual use can lead to dependence, meaning you feel you need to use it just to feel normal.

Using cannabis as your main way of having fun or coping with stress. There are healthier ways to enjoy yourself or deal with negative moods.

Using cannabis with alcohol. The effects of cannabis are intensified and may last longer than expected or wanted if you drink alcohol or use other drugs at the same time.

Using cannabis when you are at risk of a mental health problem. Cannabis use may increase the risk of psychotic symptoms for those with a pre-existing vulnerability to psychosis. And, it may worsen the symptoms of psychotic disorders.

Getting help

Self-help tools:

Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service:

604-660-9382 (Greater Vancouver)

For more information on cannabis regulation in BC:

While using cannabis may be safer than using some other drugs, there are things about using cannabis that can be harmful. Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of harms and bad experiences.

How To Filter Cannabis Smoke and Odours From Your Home

October 17, 2018

Today Marks the Legalization of Cannabis in Canada

HEPA and Carbon filters are your new best friends.

Whether you smoke in your own home or you’re trying to filter smoke and cannabis odours from your apartment that are coming from your neighbour, Austin Air purifiers are very effective at making the air in your home smell fresh and clean again!

Carbon and HEPA filters are very capable at removing the smell of marijuana smoke while cleaning the air of smoke particulates. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air.

True medical grade HEPA is the most effective particulate filtering material on the market and is made from very fine paper (not synthetic materials). Unlike electrostatic precipitators or air filters that use negative ions, a HEPA filter can actually intercept and trap unbelievably small particulates which allow the air to remain clean without the creation of harmful byproducts. A medical grade HEPA air purifier will clean the smoke particulate you can see, but more importantly, it can help eradicate the particles that you can’t!

Austin Air purifiers also combat weed smoke by employing an active carbon filter. Activated carbon is produced by exposing a source of carbon to extreme heat, causing it to become more porous and increasing its surface area. One tiny piece of activated carbon has so many pores that the surface area may be larger than a regulation football field. The porous surface of activated carbon works to absorb odors and chemicals as air passes through it. An air purifier with a substantial amount of carbon is required to effectively remove smoke and odours from the air. Less expensive units from other brands often only contain a few ounces of carbon which is not going to help remove smoke or the skunky smell associated with cannabis. Our larger standard size HM400 air purifier contains 15lbs of activated carbon, while our smaller junior sized HM200 model contains 6.5lbs of activated carbon to better remove

Below are some of the best air filters which can remove cannabis odor as well as clean the air.

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Today Marks the Legalization of Cannabis in Canada HEPA and Carbon filters are your new best friends… Whether you smoke in your own home or you're trying to filter smoke and cannabis odours from your apartment that are coming from your neighbour, Austin Air purifiers are very effective at making the air in your home