Cannabis caution: guidelines for using pot


OTTAWA – Public health and medical experts are endorsing 10 new recommendations to help mitigate the health risks of using marijuana once it becomes legal in Canada.

The guidelines, published in the American Journal of Public Health, recommend — among other things — avoiding cannabis if pregnant or at risk of mental health problems, as well as delaying its use until later in life.

The project was conducted by the Ontario arm of the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse — a national initiative funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Health Minister Jane Philpott says she welcomes the guidelines, saying her department considers them important to help cannabis users reduce health and safety risks.

In April, the federal introduced legislation designed to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana.

Philpott says the government intends to bring the law into force no later than July 2018.

The recommendations are:

1. Cannabis use has health risks best avoided by abstaining

2. Delay taking up cannabis use until later in life

3. Identify and choose lower-risk cannabis products

4. Don’t use synthetic cannabinoids

5. Avoid smoking cannabis — choose safer ways of using

6. If you smoke cannabis, avoid harmful smoking practices

7. Limit and reduce cannabis use

8. Don’t use and drive or operate heavy machinery

9. Avoid cannabis use altogether if you are at risk for mental health problems or are pregnant

10. Avoiding combining these risks


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