As with much of my work, it’s not any fun being “prophetic” about dangers in certain things (mentioned in light of the current [October 2019] “epidemic” of vaping related injuries and deaths.)
Now that cannabis is legal in several states (is the count currently up to 18?), many people are experimenting with different ways of enjoying it – with smoking still being the most popular. People exploring this often search for the perfect vape, water pipe, bong or other “tools of the trade”. Some folks like sticking with a more traditional “smoking pipe”, and if that’s the case for you, here are some tips for making your smoking experience less toxic.
Tip #1.) Avoid metal screens in your pipes!
Metal screens (including the faucet aerators often used in decades past) can have plating or other coatings (and/or substrates) which can be toxic. These may contain Cadmium, Zinc and Lead – which when heated could be inhaled! I haven’t yet tested the glass daisy screens (pictured below), but they are very functional (in my experience) as well as inexpensive and a great alternative to metal screens. I will be posting the test results for these shortly.
Tip #2.) Avoid metal pipes!
They can also be made of toxicant-containing alloys, have toxic platings or coatings, and are therefore less likely to be inert when heated (compared to glass).
#SaferChoices for pipes include: blown borosilicate glass pipes (choose pipes with fewer colors – and more clear glass (mixed in with just a bit of color), to have fewer potential toxicants); these are generally among the safest choices.
Glass pipes may also have traces of cadmium or other metals in the colorants, but given the colors are contained in the glass – and usually present at very low levels, nowhere near the levels found in metal pipes – they are not likely to leach or cause issues with the amount of heat used in normal use. Some natural, unfinished wood pipes (not made with glues or metal or painted/dyed components) can be a good choice- though these can burn (and frankly wood pipes are really hard to find without plastic, glues, dyes or metal components), and burning wood smoke is not something you generally want to inhale either.
Tip #3.) Don’t use a lighter…
Smoking Safety Tip: Don’t draw from a pipe while using a lighter — if you do that you will be inhaling butane fumes – which is probably one of the most toxic methods of THC and/or CBD delivery! Instead, consider lighting an organic beeswax candle or (even better) a piece of organic unbleached hemp wick (yes, that is something you can buy…see links below!). If you use a small natural candle, you have to be careful not to drip wax into your pipe (it’s not a good idea to inhale burning beeswax either!) but a beeswax candle can be a good second choice if you can’t find some natural bare hemp wick (there are several options for sale on Amazon!) For the bare wick method, you just keep a foot or so of it with your pipe (or wrapped around your lighter as shown in this pic!), and use the lighter to light the wick (instead of your pipe directly), and then use the wick (which will stay burning much longer than a match) to light your pipe!
Tip #4.) Find a really good vape..
Finally, a really good vape – which provides controlled heat sufficient to vaporize the volatile elements (THC/CBD/terpenes) in the cannabis, rather than burning the weed – can be a great (safer) alternative to smoking (but that’s another post!) When looking for a vape try to make sure (via conversations with [and documentation from] the manufacturer OR sending a sample to me for testing and reporting on this blog) that the vape itself does not contain heavy metals. I have tested several that I have found to be positive for Lead, Cadmium and/or Arsenic in one or more components. [To see vapes I have tested, click here.]
Tip #5.) Buy organic!
…a very important P.S. … always buy organic weed if you have the option! Non-organic and/ or illegally farmed weed can be grown with leaded pesticides that contaminate our forests and rivers, as well as contaminating the plants themselves! I wrote about that years ago.. link here.
Amazon Affiliate Links:
- Lighter (for this purpose, almost any lighter is fine, but we like refillable ones – and metal refillable ones if possible – given of the environmental impacts of plastics): http://amzn.to/2F99Nxr
- Natural (Organic?) Beeswax Candles: http://amzn.to/2CBj93p
- Blown Glass Pipes (one example): https://amzn.to/31o6fRO
- Natural (Organic ?) Hemp Wick (one example): https://amzn.to/32o4tld
- Glass Daisy Screens (image below): https://amzn.to/2MMzFUG
Links on this post are Amazon affiliate links are set up so that if you purchase something after clicking on one of my links Amazon gives me a referral fee at no extra cost to you. Thank you!