What is cannabis?
Cannabis is a tobacco-like greenish or brownish substance made from the dried flowers, fruiting tops and leaves of the cannabis plant. People usually smoke cannabis, but they can also consume it in other ways such as vaporization (“vaping”) and in edibles.
A variety of cannabis products – herbal material, cannabis oil, concentrated extracts, edibles, tinctures and creams – are produced and used for their physical and cognitive effects. People consume these products for medical and non-medical purposes.
Cannabis flowers secrete over 100 different chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. When consumed, these compounds bind to cell receptors in the brain and change the way these cells communicate with one another. Two common cannabinoids are:
THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis and is responsible for the “high” that individuals experience. It has both therapeutic and harmful effects.
CBD (cannabidiol), which is the second-most common cannabinoid in cannabis. It is not psychoactive and is being studied for use in medical applications, such as relieving pain, anxiety and other chronic conditions.
For a detailed summary on cannabis, check out the
Cannabis (Canadian Drug Summary).
Further information about cannabis