Regulation of cannabis in Québec
The Government of Québec took note when the federal government, following through on it stated intention, tabled a bill to legalize cannabis on April 13, 2017. The Act to constitute the Société québécoise du cannabis, to enact the Cannabis Regulation Act and to amend various highway safety-related provisions was passed in June 2018. The possession and use of cannabis does remain illegal in Québec until the act takes effect.
Please see encadrementcannabis.gouv.qc.ca to learn more.
Cannabis is a natural drug that is produced from a plant by the same name. It is available in 4 forms:
- Hash oil
- Marijuana concentrates (THC extractions)
For some time now, synthetic cannabinoids have been available on the street. This type of cannabis is produced in clandestine labs.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active chemical that affects a person using cannabis. Over the past few years, the level of THC in cannabis has been on the increase. It is therefore impossible to know the exact quality and composition of cannabis and its illegally purchased derivatives.
|What it is called||Appearance||Characteristics|
Marijuana can be smoked on its own or mixed with tobacco.
It can be rolled in the shape of a cigarette called a joint, smoked in a pipe or mixed in muffin or cake recipes.
The smoke has a strong smell.
Hashish is often cut with other substances, such as henna, shoe polish, candle wax or tar.
It can be heated on a knife; however, it is typically crumbled and smoked like marijuana.
|Hash oil |
Hash oil is typically placed on a cigarette or mixed with tobacco and then smoked.
It is stronger than other cannabis products, given its higher THC content.
Marijuana concentrates (THC extractions)
These concentrates are a lot stronger than other forms of cannabis because they contain more THC.
Synthetic cannabinoids are produced in clandestine labs.
The effects of these substances are usually the same as cannabis. However, they may be stronger because their active ingredients are generally stronger than those found in cannabis.
Effects of Cannabis
Cannabis may cause the following:
- A feeling of well-being, calmness and relaxation
- A tendency to be more talkative than usual or have a spontaneous desire to laugh
- Changes in perception: colours appear more vibrant and sounds more distinct, for example
- An impression of being more open-minded, creative and imaginative
- Impaired concentration and short-term memory
- Disorientation, altered perception of time and space; these effects can cause a lot of anxiety
- Swelling of blood vessels (e.g., red eyes)
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth and throat
- Increased heart rate
- Poor coordination and lack of balance
The duration of the effects of cannabis varies from person to person. It also depends on the amount of cannabis consumed. Cannabis can be detected in a person’s blood for up to 3 weeks after consumption.
Risks Associated with Cannabis Consumption and Possible Consequences
Increased risk of respiratory problems
Cannabis use may have an adverse effect on the respiratory system. A cannabis joint contains 50% more tar than a single popular-brand cigarette. People who smoke cannabis usually inhale deeply. Smoking 1 joint can therefore be as harmful as smoking 4 to 10 cigarettes. Using cannabis also increases the risk of an emphysema or asthma attack in people with these diseases. Like cigarettes, regular use of cannabis can cause:
- Throat cancer
- Lung cancer
Impact on behaviour and judgment
Like alcohol and other drugs, cannabis can impact behaviour and judgment. A person who uses cannabis may do things he or she would not normally do or make decisions he or she would not normally make. He or she could, for instance:
- Say hurtful things to a loved one
- Drive under the influence of cannabis (high) or think there is little risk in getting into a vehicle driven by someone who is also high
- Risk of injury due to a lack of coordination and balance
- Post images and words on social media that could be harmful when family and friends or an employer see them
- Get into a fight, sometimes even with a friend or family member
- Have unprotected sex, which could lead to an unplanned pregnancy or a sexually transmissible infection
- Do things that can harm himself or herself or other people, such as committing an offence
Using cannabis can lead to a psychological dependency. As such, cannabis can play an increasingly important role in the user’s life. Psychological dependency causes usually a need to use it more often to feel better about himself or herself, relax, calm down, feel stimulated or have the courage to face problems. Once the habit is established, stopping or reducing consumption can seem difficult.
Using cannabis can lead to a mild physical dependency. Physical symptoms of withdrawal are rare in people who stop using cannabis.
To learn more, read the Addiction section of Problems Associated with Alcohol Consumption and Drug Use.
In the long term
In the long term, regular and excessive use of cannabis can lead to:
- Decreased motivation and general interest
- Impaired memory and concentration
These side effects may last a few months after quitting.
People who use cannabis regularly increase their risk of having hallucinations or suffering from a psychotic disorder.
Consequences associated with safety and the law
Driving under the influence of drugs such as cannabis is illegal and can be detected by police. This can lead to fines and a criminal record. To learn more, consult the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec website .
Possession of cannabis is also illegal. The simple possession of cannabis may result in legal measures such as fines, detention and a criminal record. To learn more, consult the Éducaloi website .
Use of Cannabis for Medical Reasons
Since 2001 in Canada, cannabis can be prescribed for medical reasons for people who suffer from, for example, severe pain. People are eligible for medical marijuana use only if the medications they already take do not relieve their pain. Cannabis for medical use is grown under regulated conditions, and its quality is verified.
Last update: 13 September 2017, 09:43