Is There a Safer Way to Smoke Cannabis? How the Methods Stack Up
If you’re looking for the healthiest way to smoke cannabis, keep in mind that there’s no totally safe way to do so — even with the purest, most pesticide-free bud. Cannabis smoke contains most of the same toxins and carcinogens that make tobacco smoke harmful to your health.
There are, however, methods that may be slightly less harmful than others. Here’s a look at how different methods compare, plus some smoke-free alternatives to consider.
The dangers of smoke inhalation are well known, so it’s not surprising that a lot of folks assume vaping is the healthier alternative to smoking. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
There’s mounting evidence that vaping can have serious health effects. Much of the concern comes from inhaling vitamin E acetate, a chemical additive found in many vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
However, this risk seems to apply only to vaping concentrates, not flower. A 2006 study suggests that vaping actual cannabis, not concentrate, is less harmful to your respiratory system than smoking. Still, research on vaping cannabis is pretty limited.
Lung health aside, there’s also a matter of potency. People who vape cannabis report experiencing stronger effects — regardless of the amount of THC in the product — than they do when smoking. This means a higher chance of overdoing it, or greening out, when vaping.
Maybe a teeny, tiny bit, but nowhere near enough to make a difference.
Bongs offer a smoother toke because you don’t get the dry heat from smoking cannabis rolled in paper. Though it feels less harsh when you inhale, your lungs don’t know the difference.
Well, both still involve inhaling smoke, so there’s that. But if you had to choose the lesser of two evils, joints are probably the better option. This is because blunts are made with hollowed-out cigars, and cigars and their wrappers are highly toxic.
Even after removing all the tobacco from a cigar, cancer-causing toxins, such as nitrosamines, can remain. Plus, cigar wrappers are more porous than rolling papers, so the burning is less complete. This results in smoke with high concentrations of toxins.
Then there’s the matter of size. Blunts are a lot bigger than joints, and they hold way more pot. Smoking an entire blunt is like smoking roughly six joints.
Dabbing is supposed to give you a “cleaner” high, but what does that actually mean? Not much.
Budder — another name for dabs or marijuana concentrate — delivers a lot more THC than other weed products, often as much as 80 percent more.
Dabbing is still pretty new, so experts still don’t know the full impact.
There’s evidence that exposure to high THC may lead to long-term mental health effects, like psychosis. The risk of misuse and addiction is also higher when using high-THC products, especially for young people.
Plus, unless you have high-tech lab equipment and are trained in extraction, your dabs may be far from pure. Research shows that dabs can contain contaminants and residual solvents that can to neurotoxicity and cardiotoxicity.
Dabbing also has respiratory effects, even though you’re not technically “smoking.” There have been cases of people developing lung damage from dabbing.
The bad news? There’s no safe way to smoke cannabis. The good news? There are plenty of other ways to consume it.
Here are your main options:
- Edibles. Unlike smoking and vaping, ingesting cannabis won’t harm your lung health. The downside for some is that edibles take longer to kick in because they need to clear your digestive system before getting into your bloodstream. The upside is that the effects also hang around longer. You also have an endless variety to choose from, with everything from gummies to baked goods to cannabutter.
- Sublinguals. These are usually lumped together with edibles, but they’re not quite the same. Unlike edibles, you don’t actually swallow sublingual forms of cannabis, which include things like tinctures, films, and dissolvable tablets. Sublingual cannabis is placed under the tongue for absorption, and is absorbed through your mouth’s mucus membranes, so the effects are felt faster.
- Tinctures. Tinctures are made of alcohol-based cannabis extracts that come in bottles with droppers. You can add tinctures to drinks, but you can also get the effects faster by placing a few drops — depending on your desired dose — under your tongue.
- Topicals. Cannabis topicals are for people looking for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the cerebral effects. Creams, balms, and patches can be applied to the skin to relieve inflammation and pain. There’s also cannabis lubricant made for, well, sexy time.
- Suppositories. The idea of shoving cannabis up your butt (or vagina, depending on the product) may make you clench, but it’s definitely a thing. Most of the suppositories on the market are CBD-infused and used for therapeutic reasons, like pain or nausea relief, but some brands have upped their THC content for added effects.
If you’d still rather smoke your weed despite the risks, consider these harm-reduction tips to help make it a little safer:
- Don’t hold the inhale. Inhaling deeply and holding it in exposes your lungs to more tar per breath. Don’t be greedy; exhaling faster is better for you.
- Use rolling papers approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rolling papers may seem like NBD, but some contain chemicals and flavorings that can be toxic.
- Stick to glass bongs and pipes. Plastic bongs can contain chemicals like BPA and phthalates, which have been linked to serious health effects, including cancer.
- Keep your stuff clean. Keep your bongs and pipes clean, and don’t roll your weed on dirty surfaces.
- Don’t share mouthpieces or pass joints. Sharing your stash is fine, but not your pipes, bongs, or joints. When you share these, you’re basically swapping spit with that person and putting yourself at risk for infections.
No matter how you dice it, there’s really no safe way to smoke cannabis, whether you prefer to roll one up or are partial to bongs. As cannabis becomes more popular, so do products that allow you to indulge without the smoke.
That said, if you’re partial to puffing and passing, a vaporizer that allows you to use flower, not concentrates, may be a less harmful option.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddleboard.
You can smoke cannabis in a variety of ways, but is one safer or healthier than others?
What is the Healthiest Way to Consume Marijuana
What is the Healthiest Way to Consume Marijuana
While a lot of recent research over the past few decades has started to show the many potential health benefits of marijuana consumption, there are many concerns about the healthiest way to smoke weed. First of all, even though smoking is the most common form of cannabis ingestion, the smoke itself is not healthy!
Yet many physicians have agreed that there seems to be no correlation between marijuana smoke and cancer, inhaling anything that contains the toxic byproducts of combustion (the process of burning) over the long-term can cause other lung problems such as emphysema or COPD. Still, you do have some other options. Let’s take a quick look at healthier ways to ingest cannabis without any damaging smoke inhalation.
What is the healthiest way to consume cannabis?
Luckily for us, there are a number of weed consumption methods that are harmless and don’t involve smoke at all. Some of the best ingestion options, that you can choose from, include:
1. Edibles and beverages
Weed edibles and drinks are one of the safest options on the market. Cannabis has always shown to be very easy for the body to digest. Oral cannabis products completely bypass the lungs while also offering some of the most powerful, long-lasting effects!
2. Sublingual tinctures
Sublingual marijuana supplements are products that are dropped on top of the sensitive mucous capillaries located underneath the tongue. Through these membranes, THC, CBD, and other beneficial cannabinoids can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream! Sublingual products cause effects that are felt very quickly (usually within 15 minutes).
3. Topical applications
Cannabis lotions, creams, and skin patches allow benefits to be absorbed directly through the skin. While this process takes upwards of 30 minutes to work, it causes nearly no negative side effects and can be used to treat specific areas of the body.
If you still want to inhale cannabis because the lungs offer the quickest onset of effects (usually within 5 minutes), there is a way to completely dodge smoke inhalation. Over the past decade, the art of weed vaporization has been perfected to the point that safe, handheld, easy-to-use vaporizers are now available at scale at very affordable prices. Vape pens offer quick, inconspicuous ingestion without burning anything at all. They instead heat up weed extracts into a vapor that is quite a bit healthier than cannabis smoke.
If I want to smoke anyway, what is the safest way to smoke marijuana?
If you prefer the quick, effective onset of effects that smoked cannabis provides, there are a few ways to help make smoke a bit healthier for you. The main problem with weed smoke is that there is burnt particulate plant matter in it that can that damage the lungs. But there are some effective ways to eliminate some of this potentially harmful material!
The main thing you will need is a type of filter that catches this particulate matter. Luckily, it is possible to add one to almost every popular weed-smoking device. For example, if you use a pipe, you can add a screen to the bowl that will catch a lot of the harmful particles. A water bong uses water as a type of filter where the heavier toxins dissipate out of the smoke and into the water. If your favorite way to smoke is with a joint or a tobacco-wrapped blunt, a mouthpiece that also works as a filter will eliminate much of the potentially damaging burnt material before it hits your lungs!
Now that you know the healthiest way to smoke marijuana, perhaps you are feeling more ready to further research the field of medical cannabis. If this is the case, feel free to contact Biofit. There is no need to delay contacting us for more information!
If you are feeling more ready to further research the field of medical cannabis or you need help getting marijuana medical card contact Biofit from Miami.