Four Tips for 420

It’s almost 420 (April 20). If you’re planning to partake, WDG Public Health is sharing four tips this week to help you have a safer day. 

 Tip #1: Don’t use cannabis and drive 

A vintage car sits on the grass.

Cannabis impairs coordination, attention, reaction time and other abilities that are essential to safe driving. The effects of cannabis can be felt almost immediately and can last up to 6 hours or more, depending on what you consume and the level of THC it contains. If you consume edibles, the effects can last up to 12 hours after use.  

Even if you think the effects have worn off, your ability to drive may still be impaired. The safest option is to plan another way home.  

Tip #2: Cannabis, alcohol and tobacco don’t mix 

A blender on a countertop.

Mixing cannabis with alcohol can cause anxiety, nausea, vomiting or fainting. Using alcohol before cannabis leads to increased levels of THC in the blood, which can intensify the effects of impairment and increase the risk of accidents, motor vehicle collisions and injuries. Using both substances at the same time may make you consume more alcohol than you can tolerate and increase the risk of alcohol poisoning.  

Mixing cannabis with tobacco may make you use both substances more often, leading to nicotine addiction. It can also cause further harm to your lungs and increase your risk of experiencing the other known health risks of tobacco, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.   

Tip #3: Start low and go slow (for edibles) 

A snail crosses a road.

When consuming edibles, “start low and go slow.” It can take up to two hours (or more) to feel the effects of eating or drinking cannabis edibles, compared to minutes with smoking or vaping cannabis. This delay means that you may eat more edibles while waiting for the effects to kick in, leading to over-consumption and negative health outcomes like psychosis, paranoia and anxiety.  

The effects of edibles can last up to 12 hours. Keep this in mind when planning to drive, go to work or school, or take care of children. Speaking of children, make sure you keep edibles locked in a secure location out of reach from children, teens and pets to avoid accidental cannabis poisoning. 

Tip #4: Follow Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines  

Dominoes topple on a table.

Cannabis can have both short-term and long-term effects on your health. It can affect your coordination, learning, memory and mental health, increasing your risk for psychosis and cannabis use disorder.  

Did you know that Canada has developed Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines? These science-based recommendations are meant to provide tips for safer ways to use cannabis, such as using cannabis less often, using products lower in THC, and knowing your personal risk. There is even a version specifically for youth, developed by youth – The Blunt Truth. If you choose to use cannabis, follow these guidelines to help lower your risk of negative outcomes associated with cannabis use. 

Remember, the only way to completely avoid health risks from cannabis is to not use. But, if you’re going to partake in 420, use these tips to have a safer day. 

To learn more or find support visit: