POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 53 The physical effects of cannabis may include: • red eyes • dry mouth and throat • irritated respiratory system (from smoking) • increases in appetite and heart rate • decreases in blood pressure, balance and stability • drowsiness or restlessness, depending on the amount taken and individual response to the drug. However, the therapeutic uses of cannabis are associated with its ability to regulate (and manage): • nausea (e.g., for chemotherapy patients) appetite (e.g., for people with cancer or HIV/AIDS) • pain (e.g., for people with multiple sclerosis, cancer-related pain or chronic pain that is not cancer-related) • depressed mood and insomnia (e.g., for people who have chronic diseases). How long does the feeling last? When cannabis is smoked or vaped, the effect is almost immediate and may last several hours, depending on how much is taken.When it is swallowed, the effect is felt in about an hour and lasts longer than when it is smoked. Although the high lasts only a few hours after smoking,THC is stored in fat cells and expelled from the body over a period of days or weeks.This is why drug tests for cannabis use can give a positive result long after the effects have worn off. Is it addictive? People who use cannabis regularly can develop psychological and/or mild physical dependence. People with psychological dependence may be preoccupied with using cannabis, and if they can’t get it, they feel anxious. After regularly using cannabis for a long period of time, people can develop physical dependence. If they stop using, they may experience mild withdrawal. Symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, upset stomach, loss of appetite, sweating and disturbed sleep. These symptoms generally last for about a week, but sleep problems may continue longer. Is it dangerous? Those who use cannabis should be aware of the health risks and take measures to avoid them.The following health risks are possible for anyone who uses cannabis heavily or regularly: • problems with thinking, memory or physical co-ordination • impairment, which can lead to serious injuries, including those from car accidents • hallucinations, such as seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling or feeling things that do not really exist • mental health problems, specifically if you or an immediate family member has had a mental health issue, like psychosis or an addiction to alcohol or other drugs • cannabis dependence • breathing or lung problems from smoking • cancer from smoking • problems during or after pregnancy, especially if cannabis is smoked Cannabis (continued) For more information about these risks and ways to avoid them, Canada's Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines may be helpful.