Ontario Cannabis Products: a User Guide
When it comes to Ontario’s new possession laws, information is all over the place. In the midst of constant messages that discourage cannabis use – fear of driving under the influence, or stigma from a still-adjusting society – it can be hard for someone interested in cannabis to know where to begin.
Sound like you? We’ve created a product guide to help you along the way.
Current Status: Legal
Cannabis (fresh and dry)
THC levels are an important factor for consumers to decide if they want to buy fresh or dry cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical that creates the psychedelic effect users experience with the plant. Within fresh cannabis users will not feel these effects because of an acid attached to THC, making it tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA), a non-active compound. Within dry cannabis there is THC because the heating process to dry the plant, burns off the acid component in THCA, turning it into THC.
If smoking cannabis isn’t your style, then you may want to consider cannabis capsules instead. Soft gel caps are an alternative to smoking weed. Capsules come pre-dosed and provide similar effects to smoking. Some companies, like Canopy Growth, offer micro and full-dose gel caps. Other companies including Aurora Cannabis offer full customization such as THC or CBD, depending on the user’s preferences. All users have to do to consume gel caps is swallow them with water.
Cannabis oil is made by combining the extract of a plant with a base of coconut or olive oil. You can also consume it in a number of different ways, including in baked goods. The quickest way to feel a buzz is to squeeze a drop underneath your tongue, which then travels directly into your bloodstream. THC and CBD levels are manipulated in the process. Users should start with small doses while trying cannabis oil for the first time.
Current Status: Illegal
In Ontario, you can get cannabis oil with CBD in it, but it comes with an equal or higher level of THC. This is because of the Industrial Hemp Regulations. The CBD oil in current serums is made by pressing hemp seeds, which are legal according to the IHR. Higher levels of CBD come from pressing the leaves, stalks, flowers, and fibers, which are not certified by the IHR. As a result, CBD oil is illegal in Ontario. But, you can still buy CBD oil online from different retailers across Canada and with a doctor’s prescription.
Current Status: To be Legal
Currently, consumers cannot buy commercial edibles from the OCS. People can expect to see edibles on the shelves or online this upcoming October. Although they cannot be legally sold, users are allowed to make their own edibles through the use of cannabis oil or butter. Edibles make a good choice for medical users too, as they help relieve pain and nausea, and increase appetite. Many tips for cooking with cannabis can be found online on websites like Leafly, a Toronto-based cannabis database.
Much like edibles, infused drinks are also illegal until October 2019. The legalization of infused drinks is part of what’s being called the “second wave of legalization,” which includes edibles and vaporizers. While users have to wait before they can get their hands on infused drinks, some companies have already begun creating new products. With companies like Coca-Cola and Molson Coors exploring infused drinks, consumers will have a lot of options from which to choose once these products hit the market.
Text by Ariel Deutschmann
Illustrations by Katelyn O'Brien