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?
Best Places To Smoke Weed At Home
We all have our favourite place to have a smoke in the comfort of our home. For some it depends on what’s the most discreet. For others it’s simply a case of luxury. Whether you’re a stealthy smoker or you’re seeking the comfiest spots. This guide can help you to pick the best places in your house to get high.
Whether you live on your own, with your friends or with your family. Everyone has their favourite place to smoke a spliff, bong or puff their vaporizer. Where that is exactly probably depends on a number of factors: how nosy your landlord/lady is, whether your parents or friends are in agreement about your pot habit, or just how lazy you tend to be.
Best Places For The Ultimate Weed Experience
Everyone has a place they love to get lit. For some it’s in the great outdoors, for others its right next to their sound system. Most just like somewhere they can lay down and sprawl out as much as possible.
Patio Or Garden
If you love to get stoned outdoors, why not try the garden. We have to say, in our opinion, the outdoor smoking experience is great and is always enhanced by how lovely your garden looks. It could even offer you a motivational boost to get your garden looking beautiful. Maybe you could even start a guerrilla grow in your back garden to fill up the time! For most of us, a good chair and a blue sky overhead is plenty to keep in wonder and awe as we enjoy our smoke.
Your Own Room
The greatest lazy luxury of all, you can roll up, stick on your favourite music, dim the lights and lean back – all without having to move more than a few feet. This can be the greatest of all as you can feel totally free in your own space. Just be careful not to get too comfortable as you can get stuck there for too long! Go outside, lazy!
Another lazy but awesome option. You can take full advantage of all the space on your sofa and any devices within reaching distance such as the TV, games console, music. Just be sure to pack drinks and munchies before you go because you may not want to get up for a while.
Possibly the greatest spot of all. Out of sight of anyone, with added possibility of a lovely view – and the special ability to people watch. What could be better than enjoying your session while elevated high above the streets below? If you’re lucky enough to have a roof spot I’m sure you know how great this is! Just be careful – don’t mess around on the roof, and if your roof is inaccessible, leave it at that. Going out of your way to get on a roof can be dangerous.
Best Places For Not Getting Caught
If avoiding detection is your primary concern when getting high at home – you probably have or should consider some places in your house that prevent you from being snooped on. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in the middle of your smoke session.
Some stoners love to have a smoke in the bath. Others find ways of avoiding getting caught by using the bathroom, like using the A/C or pretending you’re having a shower. The sly smokers opt for the hot shower because they believe that when the steam dissipates the smell will follow. You can also use some spray or run some hot water in the bath with shampoo or body wash to offer a lovely fragrance as you leave.
We know some die-hard stoners that loving nothing more than to run a hot bath in the afternoon on their day off and enjoy a nice joint with their bath. We have to admit it’s not a bad idea, although we can bet we would end up falling asleep in the bath and end up leaving the bathroom looking like a wrinkly raisin. If you think you can avoid falling asleep when you’re high in the tub; maybe you could even light some candles and get all romantic with it.
Probably not as luxurious as a bath, but you will definitely be reducing the risk of getting on anyone’s nerves. The smell is likely to stay in the garage – if not seep out into the street outside a little. But unless you live in a densely populated area, it is unlikely to be an issue – stay smart, though.
You could even pimp your garage out and throw an armchair in there, or anything else you can think of that would enhance your downtime. Maybe if you have a large enough shed at the end of your garden, you could take advantage of this too.
Just imagine what you could do with a basement smoke spot! Throw in a pool table, pinball machine, games console, sound system, sofa or even a beanbag – the basement is your oyster. Perhaps if you’re on a budget this kind of dream is not realistic. But a basement is still a good idea if you want to avoid detection – especially from nosy neighbours!
Extra Weed-Hiding Solutions
Stash Your Gear
If you really need to hide what you are doing it might be worth stashing your gear somewhere safe so that if anyone becomes suspicious you are already covered. There are all kinds of stash gear available: wall clocks, camera lenses, or you can just use something small and discreet that you can stash away easily.
A crucial part of staying hidden when you’re smoking is timing. If you can find a certain time when people are out of the house, or your neighbours aren’t in then you could consider taking advantage of this. If you can’t find a quiet time, maybe you can make the disguise of a call from your boyfriend or girlfriend or take a sly shower after dinner.
Use A Window
Open your windows right up and be sure to poke your head out. This will help to reduce the smell inside the house and keep the air flow moving.
Mask The Smell Of Cannabis
Use a fan – Especially if you have it running with the window open, this can be a great idea to diffuse the smell. Best to use a room that already has a fan in it so that you don’t look questionable carrying a fan around the house.
Remember to brush your teeth, clean your hands, wash your hair. The smell can cling to you because your hair is porous and the tar can also stick to your skin.
You could burn some incense or even a big stick of White Sage to cover up your smoke operation with some lovely fragrance, added bonus of extra ambience! If you’re not a fan of the smell, you could use some odour neutraliser or deodorant. A candle such as a Yankee candle could work too. All of these things will confuse the odour receptors in the nose so are a perfect choice.
It might be worth trying out a vaporizer if you haven’t already, although it does produce a smell, it doesn’t tend to be as strong or linger or cling to fabrics for as long. Another benefit is that you can get high a lot quicker, so the time you’re spending seems less suspicious.
Essential if you’re smoking in the bathroom or bedroom – block the gaps in the door! Some fresh towels will help to keep the surrounding area smelling fresh as air goes through to the other side.
Everyone has different needs and requirements when it comes to the ideal smoking spot. For some it’s stealth, for others, it’s comfort, while many prefer the ideal scenery. If you are struggling to find your favourite place, we hope this article helps!
Written by: Zamnesia
Zamnesia has spent years honing its products, ranges, and knowledge of all things psychedelic. Driven by the spirit of Zammi, Zamnesia strives to bring you accurate, factual, and informative content.
Check our complete guide to the best smoke spots in the house. Whether you’re looking for stealth, tranquility or comfort – we’ve got all the bases covered!