Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Read about the 2018 winners of the award at

Register now for the 2019 Employee Recommended Workplace Awards at Get feedback from your staff and get recognized for your excellence in health and wellness. Deadline to register is Nov. 22.

In a few days there will be another legal recreational drug available for Canadians of legal age to indulge in. Canada will be the first industrialized country in the world to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Whether you’re currently a user of cannabis or a potential user, you likely have a point of view on this topic.

Story continues below advertisement

Cannabis is not a new drug. In fact, it’s been legal in Canada for medical use for several years. As well, there’s been a thriving underground economy selling cannabis illegally for many years. What’s new besides cannabis being legal is the hype and focus on this drug. About 18 per cent of the adult Canadian population has reported using cannabis in the past 12 months, according to data firm Statista, compared to 70 per cent who have had at least one drink of alcohol. Where do you think the cannabis usage figure will be in 12 months?


Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that when misused can lead to substance dependency. People can become addicted to this drug both psychologically and physically.

Cannabis dosage levels are different than alcohol. Most of us know that beer contains about 5 per cent alcohol, 12 per cent for wine and about 40 per cent for hard liquor. In cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, typically ranges from 10 per cent to 28 per cent, but can be much higher.

Buyers must be clear on THC levels, different forms, such as the flower versus oil, and different ways to consume cannabis by smoking, vaping and digesting, and the risks associated with each. When smoked, cannabis enters the bloodstream quickly, resulting a fast high, whereas digesting is much slower, resulting in a slower high.

Besides being a recreational drug, cannabis has the potential to provide medical benefits because of the cannabidiol (CBD) part of the plant and how it works with THC. There are positive signs but not yet enough scientific evidence to fully understand why cannabis works on certain illnesses and to what degree. However, there is promising evidence that cannabis may be able to be used as an alternative to opioids for certain conditions like neuropathic pain. Over the next few years as research progresses, there will be much more evidence to help consumers and physicians make decisions on treatment expectations for certain medical conditions.


Story continues below advertisement

Most of us know that it’s not wise to drink alcohol and drive. Nor to drink alcohol and then go to work. However, every day in Canada an average of four people are killed in car crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs. One of the challenges with cannabis users is that many don’t understand the impairment risk depending on how they consume cannabis, are over-confident and believe they can perform tasks at the same level or better than when not high. In fact, Health Canada suggests that 39 per cent of cannabis users say they’ve driven two hours after smoking cannabis.

Every person who uses cannabis is accountable for their actions. If you’re going to use cannabis you need to be aware of the cannabis impairment window, which varies whether you’re smoking or digesting cannabis.

Assuming no other drugs are being taken and a person is in a relatively healthy state, the general rule is that after smoking one joint at a moderate THC level (such as 10 per cent) it would be prudent to not drive a motor vehicle for at least five hours. THC is different than alcohol, where one ounce of liquor is out of the bloodstream within one to two hours. THC takes longer to get out of the bloodstream but can stay in the body longer. For someone who has never smoked cannabis in their life, one joint can potentially be detected up to two weeks after use.

If you digest an equivalent THC dose of cannabis, the impairment window can be up to 24 hours. Anyone using cannabis should understand that when misused or not taken seriously (such as smoking or digesting too much at one time) this drug can result in psychosis or increased risk for a motor vehicle accident by driving within the impairment window.


Once cannabis becomes legal it should no longer be biased by society. For most people who follow the rules where cannabis can be used it will be viewed by the law like alcohol, with just as many or more rules attached to it (for example, how much you can have with you at one time).

Story continues below advertisement

Simple mistakes may be costly. For example, going to work while high could result in disciplinary action and travelling with cannabis in your luggage to the United States could result in serious complications at border crossings since it is not legal there.

If you’re going to use cannabis, the key lesson is to learn about the drug and how you can take it safely. Like alcohol, be responsible with use, because if you’re not careful it can result in financial, social, legal and career problems – the same as any other substance dependency.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto.

You can find other stories likes these at

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies