Smoking weed today? VCH has some 4/20 safety tips


Damage from last year’s 4/20 rally at Sunset Beach caused the temporary closure of fields near Sunset Beach.
Photograph By DAN TOULGOET

Thousands are expected to gather at Sunset Beach to participate in the 4/20 rally in Vancouver today.

Recreational marijuana is currently illegal in Canada but if people are planning to use cannabis then VCH has some tips to help them stay safe at the annual pot festival.

“Most of the visits to our emergency departments related to 4/20 are from people who get sick from eating cannabis edibles,” says Tiffany Akins with VCH.

Akins says products available at dispensaries or 4/20 have been produced “without any kind of regulatory oversight for quality and safety.” If people are planning on consuming a pot brownie or two then VCH suggests that people start by taking a small bite and waiting to feel the full effects.

“For inhaling cannabis you should wait about 10 minutes to feel the full effects and if you’re ingesting something then you should wait about an hour,” Akins says.

She says people should know that “cannabis can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can also cause panic attacks, paranoia and hallucinations. It can also trigger the onset of schizophrenia in people who are already vulnerable to it. Cannabis can also negatively affect brain development for people 25 and under.”

Check out the VCH infographic for more safety tips: