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How Does Cannabis Work

The phytocannabinoids [naturally occurring chemical compounds] in cannabis interact within the body's Endocannabinoid System which can produce a range of temporary effects on the mind and/or body. Every individual has a completely different response to cannabis as everyone’s physiological makeup is different, and the ECS receptor site locations and the number of sites can vary from person to person - the same strain of cannabis can affect each individual differently. Additional factors that contribute to the potential differences in effect can include genetics, gender, health, personality and age.

Being aware of the interaction between cannabis and the human body is helpful in understanding how to make the right choice for you as an individual. Also consider the method and amount of consumption and the levels of THC and CBD that are in a strain. If you’re new to consuming cannabis, you should consider starting at very low THC and CBD levels as you learn how you will respond.

Cannabis consumption can produce a range of effects - some highlights to be aware of when managing your experience: 

  • The effects vary depending on different factors but most effects are temporary.
  • Effects can include stress relief, anxiety reduction, increased creativity and an increased appetite.
  • The best way to minimize any unpleasant effects is to consume small amounts.

Long-term Effects of Cannabis Consumption

Some studies have suggested there may be long-term effects associated with prolonged use of cannabis. These long-term effects may include (but are not limited to):

  • risks to brain development if consumption begins before age 25, especially when consuming strains with high THC content and/or if consumption is frequent
  • an increased risk to mental health for long-term heavy consumers
  • possible lung damage and infections associated with deep inhalation
  • possible addiction (Health Canada estimates a 9% addiction rate)
  • coughing and throat irritation from inhaling cannabis
  • exposure to harmful second-hand smoke
  • risk of harm to concentration, decision-making ability, intelligence and memory

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