Preventing and Reducing Harms Associated with Cannabis Vaping

The Students Commission of Canada (SCC) was contracted by the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct a literature review gathering the latest evidence on youth cannabis vaping, and mechanisms for harm reduction messaging and how to effectively reach youth regarding health behavior changes. This work aims to inform public education products that will support Canadian youth in making informed decisions about cannabis vaping and prevent and reduce potential harms.

The literature review identified three main themes to inform the key messages used in the public education products:

  1. Addressing root causes and motivations for vaping cannabis
  2. The risks associated with polysubstance use
  3. The risks associated with product sources (i.e., illicit, or modified devices, not knowing the potency of cannabis products).

Through youth consultations, the SCC designed a series of public education products to illustrate these three themes. The products were published through SCC’s social media platforms between November 2022 and November 2023. Below are the products with their captions that can be downloaded and used by the public.

Your Night Your Choice Infographic

Your Night Your Choice

Your Night Your Choice relates to the root causes and motivation for vaping cannabis. It aims to encourage youth to think ahead of time when planning to vape cannabis. Youth can reflect on the physical and social environments they may be in, their own physical and emotional state and motivations, the devices and products they will use, and other circumstances likely to influence their level of safety.

Caption: When vaping cannabis, many factors may play a role in your experience. By taking the time to think and plan, you are more likely to make choices that will make you feel good and will reduce your risks of harms. Planning on vaping cannabis? Your night, your choice. To learn more, visit the website.

Polysubstance Video

This polysubstance video aims to address the potential consequences of mixing cannabis vaping with other substances within the same timeframe. This message encourages youth to monitor their own consumption and to limit, if not avoid completely, the mixing of substances.

Caption: Vaping cannabis can change how your body reacts to other substances when taken in the same timeframe (that includes alcohol, coffee/energy drinks, prescription medications, etc.). Mixing substances also means you risk experiencing stronger negative effects, and possible long-term impacts to your health. When vaping cannabis, stick to cannabis. To learn more, visit the website.

Vaping cannabis? Sometimes too much is too much

Sometimes too much IS too much

This third product aims to address the impact associated with the quantity and concentration of cannabis vaped. The metaphor of the coffee was based on youth recommendations suggesting to “talk about substance use without talking about it directly.”

The coffee mug overfilled with sugar illustrates the high concentration of THC in an exaggerated way. Although sugar might make the coffee taste better, it will have consequences on one’s health. It is obvious that no one would drink coffee with that much sugar, so why would they vape highly concentrated cannabis products?

Find this product in two versions: a video and a static post.

Caption: Sometimes, too much IS too much. Concentrated cannabis oils have high levels of THC which can have negative effects on your body and your mind. To reduce the risks to your health: choose products that contain lower percentages of THC, such as unprocessed dry flowers, and use vaping devices that are made for cannabis. To learn more, visit the website.