General Information on Cannabis

What is Cannabis? #

Cannabis is a plant that, when prepared and taken in certain ways, affects a person's body and mind. There are many different types of cannabis and ways to prepare it.

Dried cannabis is made of the flower buds and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is sometimes called marijuana, pot, weed, or bud.

Hashish is made from the resin of the cannabis plant. It is a sticky substance that is dried and pressed into small blocks.

Cannabis Oil is an oil that is made from the extracts from the cannabis plant.

Hash Oil is a type of cannabis oil that is made with chemicals to increase its potency. Examples of hash oils are shatter and wax. These products generally have more health risks.

Tincture is usually an alcohol-based liquid made from extracts from the cannabis plant.

Edible is a food or drink products made with chemicals from the cannabis plant. This includes pills or capsules.

What are THC and CBD? #

  • THC is the short form for the chemical in cannabis that makes you feel high. Its effects can be both therapeutic and harmful.
  • CBD is another chemical in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not have mind-altering effects. CBD may even block or lower some of the effects of THC. This may occur when there is as much or more CBD in the cannabis as there is THC. Researchers are still studying CBD to see if it has any health benefits.

How is Cannabis Used? #

People use cannabis in many different ways.

  • Smoking
    • Joints or spliffs (dried cannabis wrapped in paper)
    • Pipes or bongs
    • Blunts (hollowed out cigar wrappers filled with cannabis)
  • Drinking or eating (also known as edibles)
    • Tea
    • Oil
    • Candy
    • Baked goods
  • Vaping
    • Involves putting a cannabis product through a special device called a vaporizer and inhaling the vapour.
  • Dabbing
    • Involves putting a cannabis product, such as hash oil, on a hot surface such as a nail and inhaling the vapour.
  • Lotions, creams or oils (also known as topicals) that are put on to the skin.

To learn more about how cannabis is used, click here.

What are the differences between medical cannabis, recreational cannabis and illegal cannabis? #

Medical cannabis
Doctors may approve the use of cannabis for certain serious medical conditions where other treatments have not worked. For example, they may approve it to treat nausea for people who are getting cancer treatment. It may help people with AIDS who have a low appetite. It may also help people who have certain types of pain. Authorization to use medical cannabis must be given by a health professional. It is important to know that the health risks of medical cannabis use are the same as non-medical cannabis. Because of this, it is important to make sure that the potential medical benefits of cannabis use outweigh the risks.
Recreational cannabis
As of October 2018, Canadians are allowed to have and to use cannabis that is bought legally. Nunavummiut can order it from the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission or its agents. Some people use recreational cannabis to help with health issues. It is important to speak with a health care provider to ensure that you are not putting yourself at risk and that you are using the best treatment for your condition.
Illegal cannabis
This is cannabis that has not been approved by the government. It is grown and sold by people who are not allowed to do so. Illegal cannabis may have harmful chemicals or mould in it. With this type of cannabis, you have no way of knowing what is in it or how it was made, which can increase the health risks. If you decide to use cannabis, one of the ways to reduce the risks of illegal products is to always make sure that you buy from a legal source.