The holidays are fast approaching, which means celebrations, social gatherings and a little time off work if you’re lucky. For some folks this year, it might also mean that more than just the candles or the tree will be getting lit.

If cannabis will be a part of your holidays, remember to take it easy and consume safely. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’re planning on using cannabis, but you’re new to it or you haven’t used it in many years, go slowly and start with lower THC products. Today’s cannabis is much more potent than it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago.
  • Don’t mix cannabis and alcohol. If you’re going to consume, stick with one or the other.
  • Never mix cannabis and driving. Driving while impaired (whether it’s cannabis or alcohol) is dangerous and a serious criminal offence. The potential consequences are never worth the risk.
  • Plan ahead. If you’re going to be using cannabis, make arrangements to have a designated driver take you wherever you need to go. If you didn’t plan ahead, call a friend for a lift, stay overnight, or call a taxi.
  • Remember that the effects of cannabis edibles take more time to kick in, and last much longer. While the high from smoking cannabis tends to occur almost right away, when cannabis is eaten it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to start feeling the effects – and you can be impaired for up to 12 hours. This means that you need to plan ahead – make sure you won’t have to drive or handle other responsibilities during this time.
    Also, be careful that you don’t over-consume edibles: start with a small amount, and wait at least an hour before deciding whether to have more. This will help you avoid having an unpleasant experience.
  • Like tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke and second-hand cannabis smoke are harmful to your lungs. If you choose to smoke cannabis, avoid inhaling it deeply or holding your breath. Don’t smoke indoors; ask your guests to take it outdoors as well.
  • Keep cannabis safely out of reach of children and pets, in a locked container or location.
  • Store cannabis edibles out of the reach of children, pets or unsuspecting adults who might eat them without realizing that they contain cannabis. Make sure to label them (so they’re not accidentally mixed in with regular food) and store them in a secure, child-proof container or location.

For more tips on safer consumption, see Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.

For general holiday safety, click here.