Cannabis refers to any of the products derived from the cannabis plant. There are many common names for cannabis such as marijuana, weed and pot. There are also other names for cannabis products depending on what part of the plant was used or how the product was processed.
Cannabis contains hundreds of chemical substances. These chemical substances can affect the way we feel and think. Two of the most studied chemicals in cannabis are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Cannabis can be smoked, inhaled as a vapour, added to food or drinks, used as a tincture or taken in capsules.
According to the 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Study about 1 in 7 males and 1 in 10 females aged 15 and older reported using cannabis in the past year. There are different reasons that people report using cannabis and the effects of the substance vary from person to person and depend on a number of other factors including mode of use, the product used, past history of use, as well as the consumer’s mood and environment.
Some people use cannabis for therapeutic purposes to improve symptoms for some health conditions. However, there are a variety of health risks associated with using cannabis as well. Risks associated with cannabis use increase with frequency and length of use, and there are specific risks for young people and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Additional information for clinicians and other healthcare providers can be found on the “For Professionals | Cannabis” page.