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Health authority says “start low, and go slow” for cannabis edibles

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HALIBURTON, ON – With legal edible cannabis on the way, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has some thoughts to use it safely.

News broke recently that the federal government was going to allow edible cannabis products to be sold across the country as early as December.

As a result of that news, Cathy MacDonald, the Substances and Harm Reduction Coordinator with the health unit, has shared her thoughts on edibles and how to consume them safely if you insist on eating them.

MacDonald says that cannabis as a whole effects everyone differently. She says “there’s not a one size fits all kind of dosage,” she goes on to say that there are a number of factors that play into what the person experiences including their sex, age, weight, and whether or not the person has any pre-existing medical conditions.

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Aside from those factors, MacDonald says that the regularity that someone smokes pot or consumes edibles will change the effects. Another factor is the THC and CBD content within whatever the person is consuming.

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the primary ingredient in cannabis that gets people high. The higher the THC content, the more powerful the drug.

CBD or cannabidiol is also in cannabis and is connected to relieving stress, anxiety, and pain.

According to MacDonald, if you are going to buy edibles once they are on store shelves, she says a concern of the health unit is where you are storing it.

MacDonald says that edibles need to be kept out of reach of children and pets, especially because some edibles will look like regular snacks and sweets that a child might grab not knowing it is cannabis.

MacDonald also said that cannabis poisoning is a concern, and with edibles the effects can be delayed upwards of four hours, so people will ingest more thinking that it’s not working and end up making themselves sick.

The health unit says the best course of action if you want to use the product is to go by the slogan, “start low and go slow”. MacDonald says what that means is start with a low dosage and wait at least four hours before eating any more.

If you are new to cannabis or edibles, she suggests that you start with 2.5 milligrams of THC and see what that does for you.

Overall, MacDonald says she hopes that people are responsible for the product and are not driving or doing anything that could put lives at risk while they are eating edibles or smoking cannabis.

If someone around you is in need, she says to call 911 because the Good Samaritan Act will protect you in that scenario.

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