Guidance on cannabis products with intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC

On this page

Who this is for

This information is intended for:

It provides guidance on cannabis products deliberately made with intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC).

Health Canada recommends that licensed processors apply the regulatory controls applicable to delta-9-THC to all other intoxicating cannabinoids in their cannabis products.

What are intoxicating cannabinoids

Health Canada uses "intoxicating cannabinoid" to refer to cannabinoids that bind to and activate the type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1 receptor). Delta-9-THC is the most researched intoxicating cannabinoid and causes the "high" of cannabis. The data on the effects of other intoxicating cannabinoids is very limited or unknown.

Other than delta-9-THC, there's evidence to establish that the following cannabinoids also bind to, and activate the CB1 receptor:

We may revise this list as new evidence becomes available about these, and other potential intoxicating cannabinoids.

Some cannabis processors have made cannabis products containing intoxicating cannabinoids like these, either instead of delta-9-THC or in addition to it. We understand that not all intoxicating cannabinoids may cause the same level or type of effects as delta-9-THC. However, we don't have enough evidence to fully understand the effect of these other intoxicating cannabinoids relative to delta-9-THC, either alone, or in combination with others.

Deliberately including intoxicating cannabinoids to cannabis products to circumvent regulatory controls on delta-9-THC could increase risks to public health and public safety. Health Canada is concerned that consumers aren't aware of these products and of their potential risks.

Guidance on intoxicating cannabinoids

The Cannabis Regulations (the Regulations) set out requirements specific to delta-9-THC.

These include a maximum quantity of delta-9-THC in a cannabis product. This quantity takes into account the potential to convert delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (delta-9-THCA) into delta-9-THC ("total delta-9-THC"). For example:

The Regulations also include requirements to:

These important controls reduce the risks of accidental consumption and overconsumption of cannabis. At the same time, they provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions before using a cannabis product.

We recommend that cannabis licence holders apply the specific controls on this page to all cannabis products made to deliberately contain intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC. This is to minimize the risks of accidental consumption, overconsumption and adverse effects.

Important: Intoxicating cannabinoids can occur naturally at low amounts in cannabis plants or be produced at low levels during processing, handling or storage. Health Canada is not recommending that the specific controls on this page apply to cannabis products containing background and naturally-occurring levels.

Recommended specific controls

THC limit: The total amount of all intoxicating cannabinoids including delta-9-THC shouldn't exceed the regulatory limits for total THC per immediate container or discrete unit.

For example, an edible cannabis product containing 2 mg of CBN and 8 mg of delta-9-THC would align with our recommendations. This is because the total amount of intoxicating cannabinoids wouldn't exceed 10 mg, similar to section 102.7 of the Regulations.

However, an edible cannabis product containing 3 mg of CBN and 8 mg of delta-9-THC would not align with our recommendations. This is because the total amount of intoxicating cannabinoids would exceed 10 mg.

Validating the quantity or concentration of intoxicating cannabinoids: For products that deliberately contain intoxicating cannabinoids, use suitable validated methods to accurately measure the quantity or concentration of the intoxicating cannabinoids for each lot or batch of cannabis. This is similar to sections 90 and 92 of the Regulations.

Labelling: Accurate information on all intoxicating cannabinoids should be put on the product label, including the name and quantity or concentration. The label should also display the standardized cannabis symbol (THC), similar to paragraph 123(1)(f) of the Regulations.

Requirements for all cannabis products

Besides delta-9-THC, many other cannabinoids, including their isomers and derivatives, are subject to the Cannabis Act (the Act). This means that cannabis products containing other intoxicating cannabinoids are:

Note: Whether a substance is controlled under the Act or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:

  • depends on different factors
  • is determined on a case-by-base basis and at a point-in-time

If you have any questions about whether or not a substance is controlled under the Act, email

Licensed processors must comply with the following applicable requirements when producing cannabis products, regardless of whether their products contain delta-9-THC or other intoxicating cannabinoids. This list is not exhaustive. Licensed processors should ensure that they comply with all requirements set out in the Regulations, including:

Preventive control plan

A preventive control plan is required for edible cannabis and cannabis extracts. The plan must include a description of:

It must also:

Preventive control plan

Testing for contaminants

Unless otherwise specified, test each lot or batch of cannabis for microbial and chemical contaminants as per section 91 of the Regulations. Pay attention to potential chemical and microbial contaminants that may result from the production of cannabinoids through synthesis, such as precursors or other impurities. Conduct tests using validated methods on a representative sample as per section 92 of the Regulations.

Good production practices guide for cannabis

Adverse reaction reporting

As per section 248.1 of the Regulations, a holder of a licence that sells or distributes a cannabis product is required to:

As per Health Canada's Cannabis adverse reaction reporting guide, it's expected that licence holders collect as much information as possible. This way, reports submitted to Health Canada capture clinically relevant and complete information for evaluation. This would include providing information of all known cannabinoids in the cannabis product in the adverse reaction report.

Cannabis adverse reaction reporting guide

Compliance and enforcement

We strongly encourage licensed processors to follow the recommended specific controls for cannabis products deliberately made with intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC.

It's always the licence processor's responsibility to:

Health Canada asks licensed processors to undertake actions to address public health and public safety risks or non-compliance with the Act and the Regulations. However, we may take enforcement measures, if required, in order to mitigate the risks to public health or public safety.

For example, we may order a licensed processor to:

If you have any questions, email

Compliance and enforcement policy for the Cannabis Act


This guidance aims to support the purpose of the Act and the Regulations. It isn't intended to provide legal advice regarding the interpretation or application of the Act and the Regulations.

The Government of Canada can advance amendments to the Act or Regulations to address the public health and public safety risks posed by intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC. Health Canada will continue to conduct research and monitor trends in the make up and availability of cannabis products containing intoxicating cannabinoids other than delta-9-THC and will take regulatory action if warranted. Health Canada publishes information on regulatory initiatives that are proposed in the next 2 years in the Forward Regulatory Plan.

Health Canada reserves the right to modify this guidance as appropriate and without notice.

Forward Regulatory Plan

Page details

Date modified: