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How to Safely Use Cannabis Products

Updated: Apr 17

In cannabis culture, 420 (or 4:20 or April 20th), is recognized as a national holiday of cannabis use. Although the history of how this holiday came to be is unclear, regardless, there are many ways in which adults plan to indulge and celebrate. Remember, in Connecticut, ONLY adult-use cannabis is legal. Therefore, this article is intended only for adult-use cannabis. 

For a safe and enjoyable 420, consider these tips.

For a safe and enjoyable 420 and any other day, consider these tips!

If you feel different, you drive different

Currently, there is no objective measure for cannabis impaired driving. But that doesn’t mean that if you feel different after using cannabis, that you should drive. Much like how alcohol inhibits our senses, cannabis has the same effect. There are also Drug Recognition Experts that can assess potential cannabis impaired driving, and there are legal consequences for such. Driving under the influence of cannabis is against the law for both drivers and passengers to use cannabis while operating a vehicle. 

It is a myth that driving high can make you a better driver. Cannabis impairment is mental and affects our memory, vision, perception of time, perception of performance and depth perception as well as our attention, judgment, and reflexes. Certain amounts of cannabis can cause nausea, hallucination, or psychosis. 

So, let’s be blunt…if you’re going to get high, don’t drive. It’s not worth the risk! 

Some tips: 

  • Consider appointing a friend as the designated driver for the day. 

  • Schedule & utilize taxi options such as cabs, Uber or Lyft. 

  • Call a friend or loved one for pick-ups and drop offs.

  • Take public transportation.

  • Plan your day ahead of time so that you don’t need to travel. 

If you use, start low and go slow 

There are many different cannabis products and ways to use cannabis. Depending on the potency or method of cannabis, levels of THC will differ. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that makes people feel high. 

Cannabis products today are NOT the same as cannabis products from the 60s or 80s. Cannabis in recent years are potent and have high levels of THC. That means more of a high and less of a calm. 

Cannabis edibles, certain oils, or hash, typically have higher levels of THC. Edibles are not typically packaged per serving size. This means that when you purchase a cannabis edible, more than likely, you are purchasing way more than the recommended or legal serving size. Be sure to carefully read labels on products and start with small pieces of cannabis edibles. 

Cannabis edibles take longer to have an effect on you. Sometimes it can be 30 minutes, 2 hours or even 4 hours before you begin to feel anything. Once it does take effect, cannabis edibles can last up to 12 hours. If you’re going to use edibles, start with a low dose and go very slowly if you’re going to take more. 

This helps to avoid overconsumption. This is when using too much of cannabis leads to unpleasant effects including extreme sedation, inability to move, heightened anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, rapid heartbeat, or respiratory depression. 

If you ever feel these effects, get help immediately and call 911. 

Store it locked! 

Cannabis is toxic for children and pets. Make sure that you are locking up and storing your products away from children or pets. A safe storage plan can help lower the risk of accidental ingestion. 

Be safe & remember: 

  • Have a safe storage plan before using. Include where you will put products and paraphernalia. 

  • Store cannabis products in their original containers and keep all labels. Especially for cannabis edibles that do not typically package products per serving size. 

  • Consider using a safe or lockbox with a combination lock or keypad. 

  • Make a list of what cannabis products you have in your home and know exactly where these are stored and locked up. 

  • Get a FREE lockbox! Email to receive a free cannabis locking container or pouch. 

If a child ingests cannabis, call Poison Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222
If a pet ingests cannabis, call Animal Poison Control immediately at 1-800-426-4435

How to safely dispose of cannabis:

  • When disposing, mix cannabis products with other waste materials such as coffee ground or kitty litter. 

  • Create this waste mixture in a taped and sealed container to throw into the regular trash. 

  • Do not flush cannabis products or packaging down the sink or toilet.

  • If your cannabis product is recyclable, throw empty and clean containers with other recyclables. If it is not recyclable, throw is in the regular trash. 


Wait, where can I smoke or vape cannabis? 

Generally, if smoking or vaping cannabis, you cannot use anywhere that you cannot smoke or vape tobacco. Cannabis use is also prohibited in state parks. 

Certain towns and cities will have different ordinances on where cannabis can be consumed in public. For example, you should not be using cannabis anywhere where children are such as parks, schools, churches, or community centers. Check your town’s website to double check where you can legally and safely use cannabis. 

How to say “no” 

Whether you indulge in cannabis regularly, rarely, or never, it is always okay to say “no.” Peer pressure or peer expectations can be tricky to navigate. Many of us don’t want to risk feeling awkward, impolite, or judged. These situations can be stressful but there are ways to manage it and work on your own healthy boundaries. Remember that your health and safety is always first. 

Ways that you can say “no” to yourself or others: 

  • I’m driving and would rather not risk it. 

  • Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise, does not respect your safety and wellbeing. 

  • No thanks, I’ve tried it and didn’t like it. 

  • You can use this even if you never tried it before.

  • Avoid coming up with details as to why or what you didn’t like about it. Keep it short and avoid giving opportunities for others to argue with you or convince you otherwise. 

  • I’ve quit smoking.

  • Individuals who quite smoking tobacco will typically quit smoking altogether, including cannabis. 

  • I’d like to keep a clear head.

  • Try different variations that work for you such as “I have work today,” “I have an early start tomorrow,” “I don’t want to feel groggy,” or “I have to watch my baby cousin later,” or “I have to drive my parent to an appointment in the morning.” 

  • No thanks, I’m just not into it.

  • It can be as straight forward as this and state that this is a personal choice without going into details. People should respect each other’s personal choices. 

  • Sit out .

  • If you feel unprepared or uneasy to have these conversations, consider planning sitting out on the day. Come up with an excuse that works for you but always consider your health and safety first! 

Alternative Highs – Natural Highs 

Substances tend to give short-term artificial high or those intense feelings of happiness or excitement. However, constantly relying on substances for these highs are not sustainable and can lead to unhealthy coping or unhelpful dependency. 

Natural highs are our brain and body’s natural response to a healthy and exciting activity in life. It is our natural way of achieving the same feelings and sensations that we can feel with substances but without the risks and negatives consequences. These are also typically associated with increased positive health impacts. 

With natural highs, you can also maintain your clarity, functionality, and health whereas substances impair us in return for the short-term high.

Ways to achieve a natural high: 

  • Incorporate mediation or mindfulness in your daily activities 

  • Exercise, specifically running, swimming, walking, boxing, biking or playing a sport that you like

  • Thrilling activities that get your heart pumping. Consider your own interests such as: 

  • Riding a rollercoaster

  • Playing an escape game

  • Get involved in a competition such as sports or video games 

  • Watch a scary movie 

  • Try weightlifting 

  • Laser tag 

  • Go karting 

  • See a comedy show or other entertainment show 

  • Savor a good meal

  • Watch the sunset or go stargazing 

  • Visit the wilderness and appreciate nature at a trail, park or beach 

  • Listen and dance to music 

  • Garden or buy new plants 

  • Go for a long walk with loved ones or your pet 

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