NIMBIN HEALTH &
MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
SAFER CANNABIS USE
The responsible consumption of
is mainly a health issue. People make their own
not the purpose of these guidelines to tell people how
but to ensure they have solid evidence available so
make educated and informed decisions. These new
help people to make those decisions.
The form of cannabis use with
health, social, legal and economic risk is abstinence.
so, more than 2 million Australians choose to use
year, and accept some degree of risk. Australians can
their health, social, legal and economic risks by
1. Moderation. It is
that social cannabis users only consume cannabis for
a week or less, trying to keep at least two days each
free. (This is not applicable for people using
cannabis as a
medication, e.g. relieving nausea from cancer
The effect from eating cookies lasts much longer.
only require one biscuit per day. Smokers should not
more than 4 joints per day.
2. Recognising harms that may
Cannabis is illegal. Possession or use can lead to
a criminal record, loss of job or even worse. Be
carry more than the ‘caution’ amount (NSW 15 grams).
If cannabis is seriously affecting your life in
such as relationships, parenting, job or finances,
consider reducing or stopping.
3. Young People.
people who are likely to experiment to delay consuming
until their body and mind have matured as any drug use
physical and/or cognitive development. Impress on
the need for moderation and responsibility. Avoid
the presence of children. Do not smoke in confined
children or non-smokers present. "Passive smoking"
is not confined to nicotine. Be aware that as an adult
always a role model.
4. Potency and Contaminants.
The strength of different cannabis strains may vary
If you are going to use a new batch of cannabis, only
small amount first. When purchasing any form of
is no certainty regarding fertiliser, fungicide, or
use, how it is grown, or what affect that might have
outcomes. Under prohibition without standards or
or regulation, the only way to be certain how a
is grown is to watch it grow.
5. Pregnancy. Women who
breast feeding or might soon become pregnant should
from using cannabis. If they still choose to use
should minimise their quantity and frequency of use.
6. Driving. Do not
drive a car
or operate heavy machinery if impaired by cannabis. To
sure you are safe, allow at least a few hours before
use of cannabis and driving. If you have used alcohol
allow twice as long.
7. Mental Health. If
ever had a serious mental illness, or you have a
of serious mental illness, it might be better to avoid
and all other mood altering drugs. If you still want
cannabis, use as little as you can. Always have
you when you smoke to make sure you keep to your
8. Tobacco. It is
your health not to mix tobacco with cannabis. Nicotine
Smoking with tobacco will often lead to you using more
by virtue of the nicotine addiction.
9. Smoke harms lungs.
cannabis by inhaling the vapour from a vaporiser or
made with cannabis are both less damaging to lungs
cannabis smoke, but the results of eating cannabis are
predictable. Cookies can be stronger and last longer
10. Smoking Implements.
using plastic bottles, rubber hoses, PVC, aluminium or
to smoke cannabis - these all give off toxic fumes
(you run fewer health risks with a pipe made from
11. Sharing. When you
pipes or bongs you can also share germs and
joints, pipes or bongs are preferable. Clean bongs or
12. The environment.
that you discard any smoking implements, waste, or
and responsibly. Don't start a fire through
over organic waste should go into compost.
"Cannabis: a harm reduction perspective" by Andrew
Bennett, in the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs
Addiction (EMCDDA) publication: "A cannabis reader:
issues and local experiences", available in pdf form
These guidelines will be revised as better
comes to hand.
July 2008: NHMRC (Nimbin Health