The Science of Smoking Cannabis
What's Healthy and What's Not?
And what about those new metal cooling pipes that claim a healthier smoke?
What does science reveal about Fire, Cooling the Smoke, Screens, Bowl design & other factors?
A recent study confirmed that people who only smoke cannabis, are not getting cancer of the lungs. Yet, people are experiencing varying amounts of harm based on their smoking methods and techniques.
It's not uncommon to see cannabis smokers using bacteria infested moldy pipes and similar devices with no screen or effective filtration! Chunks of hot burning material and particulates enter the mouth, throat and lungs leaving devastation in their wake. Ash and toxins are also inhaled in huge quantities causing severe harm to bloodstream and immune systems. Many are experiencing respiratory damage and conditions including chronic bronchitis, frequent coughing, excessive phlegm production, wheezing, chest congestion, and more.
An increasing number of people are smoking cannabis to treat their health conditions. Many medical cannabis users find that they only get pain relief, inflammation reduction or other symptomatic relief from smoking. Harmful smoking methods increase harm to already damaged immune systems and lungs, especially to those with conditions like COPD. Elimination of burning particulates along with reduction of toxins and ash are huge issues. Healthy smoking solutions help reduce smoking harm for all cannabis smokers.
Are water pipes or metal cooling pipes the answer? What do they really remove? The answer may surprise you! And what about the common roll your own Joint?
Cannabis smokers reaching their specific desired level of cannabinoids & terpenes, and the relative level of harm incurred in doing so.
We will examine 7 factors which bear directly on this ratio.
Please note the 4 major factors noted with * *
I. Fire Kills
All flames destroy THC/CBD/Terpenes on Contact!
All Cannabinoids & Terpenes vaporize between 125°F & 500°F. (see chart) These are volatile elements, so they are destroyed easily with higher temperatures. What temperature kills? Scientists theorize that some cannabinoids are destroyed at only a few hundred degrees above their vaping temp. Let's say for the sake of argument, that when heated to 1000°F, they are all destroyed. What do you think direct contact with a Flame does? Lighters, matches, wicks, torch lighters; have flame temperatures that vary from 2000°F to 3500°F. True, a wick flame is cooler than a torch lighter, yet it's more about technique than the temperature of the flame. Even a candle can get above 2500°F.
Holding the flame to the smoking material while inhaling is counterproductive because you are destroying much of the elements you want to preserve. Make it a habit to never inhale when lighting up or anytime you apply the flame. Use short puffs and take the flame away before taking a hit. A secondary benefit to this technique is that you will not be inhaling butane fumes. Changing bad lighting habits is worth the effort.
**Avoiding Fire Abuse increases desired elements thereby reducing smoke toxins & particulates inhaled to reach your specific desired level of cannabinoids.**
II. High Rate Extraction
The proper lighting technique to limit fire exposure only works if the herb will stay lit after you remove the flame. A proper bowl design allows the herb to be packed firm so it will continue burning while taking a controlled draw. Grinding up your herb is highly recommended for even burn.
A controlled draw allows user to control the temperature and release desired elements gently. When you extract at a much higher rate, you have higher ratio of desired elements compared to smoke toxins and particulates.
**Controlled Draw High Rate Extraction reduces smoke toxins & particulates inhaled to reach your specific desired level of cannabinoids.**
The main purpose of a screen is to contain the burning material in the bowl, and, to allow packed herb to draft properly for high rate extraction of desired elements. A screen will also reduce the size of the burning particulates inhaled, but you will still burn your throat, possibly leading to chronic throat infections and you still inhale the ash and burning particulates that make it through the screen. Most don't finish their bowls because the volume of sparks inhaled increases significantly as the burn progresses, even when using a screen.
Most people are not using a screen in their pipes allowing even larger burning chunks to do their damage. Most bowls are not designed to retain a screen.
Screens should be Stainless Steel to prevent melting and dangerous degassing associated with brass screens. Stainless Steel Screens are very durable and do not need to be changed often.
The screen plays a huge roll in being able to control the drafting when the herb is packed firm. A screen is essential to achieve high rate extraction of desired elements.
IV. Micro Fiber Filter
Research shows that we inhale 2 to 3 times the amount of TAR (Total Aerosol Residue) when smoking without a filter and these studies did not even evaluate burning particulate harm! Did you know that tobacco pipe smokers don't draw hard or inhale the smoke? For them, it is all about the flavor. Cannabis pipe smokers typically draw hard and inhale deeply, which significantly increases respiratory harm.
Utilizing micron filtration in stages is crucial to eliminating burning particulates which cause severe damage to the mouth, throat and lungs! Using a micro fiber final stage filter significantly reduces heat & ash also. As noted above, even if your smoking device has a screen of some type, a screen alone is not enough! The addition of a micro fiber filter results in huge reduction of harm. The trick is to get the vaporized desired elements through the filter above their vapor/boiling temperature.
Some ask about using cotton filters? Loosely packed cotton, used in some devices, does not block particulates. Testing shows that "roll your own" cotton filters absorb desired elements at a high rate and clog very fast resulting in huge loss of desired elements. The ideal filter is one that provides sufficient micron filtration with minimal absorption of the desired elements. Cellulose acetate filters used worldwide do this well.
**The Micro Fiber Filter significantly decreases harm while reaching your specific desired level of cannabinoids. Look how dirty the filter gets from just one bowl of use. (see picture)**
Elimination of burning particulates & significantly reducing heat is imperative to protect cannabis smokers mouth, throat and lungs.
Some will say "That's What Water Is For!" Let's now examine this issue.
V. Water Filtration
What have scientific studies shown to be actually removed by water?
Studies show that water filtration results in extreme loss of THC/CBD/Terpenes/etc., but does not remove the harmful elements that many have claimed it does. Why?
Gaseous bubbles passing through water is not true filtration. A more appropriate term is "water scrubbing" since only the particulates and toxins at the outer edges of the bubbles have even the possibility of being removed but they tend to bounce off of the inside of the bubble walls like a bug walking on water. Water scrubbing is very inefficient in removing particulates and toxins. Some say that THC is not water soluble and therefore cannot be removed by the water. They are partly correct, water absorption is not responsible for the removal of the THC. So what scientific factor is responsible for the THC loss? And, why is THC removed at a much higher rate than toxins or ash?
Water does cool the smoke very well, and, this is the heart of the problem! Water scrubbing easily removes VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds include flavors, cannabinoids, etc. that vaporize at low temperatures). How? By cooling them below vaporization temp & condensing them on top of the water and surfaces. What does that mean?
Let's break this down a little more. Cannabinoids/Terpenes/Flavonoids vaporize between 125°F & 500°F.
THC vaporizes at 315°F. (see chart) Water reduces the temperature of your Desired Elements well below their vaping/boiling temperatures. Your desired vaporized elements then return to their liquid/oil state, drop out of the vapor stream and settle onto surfaces. This is called condensation. The amount of condensation loss is relative to the level of cooling exposure. Larger more efficient water scrubbing devices which utilize more bubblers and diffusers will result in complete removal of your desired elements!
On top of it all, many water pipes are not cleaned often or thoroughly enough resulting in serious mold and bacteria concerns. Bacteria in bongs can produce biofilm that is antibiotic resistant. Those with weakened immune systems and autoimmune diseases are especially vulnerable to these serious health risks.
**Water filtration fools people into thinking it's better because it cools the smoke, when it's actually significantly increasing lung harm, immune system damage & toxins in the blood. Bong users are inhaling extremely higher levels of ash and toxins while reaching their specific desired level of cannabinoids.**
Repeated bong abuse has resulted in chronic cyclic vomiting episodes and emergency room visits.
In this writer's humble opinion, the Bong is the most harmful smoking method used today!
What does Charcoal remove?
Some testing indicates that, just like water, charcoal removes the good stuff more than the bad. Some have claimed that charcoal does remove some really bad toxins. Here is the problem as I see it. Charcoal is very slow at absorption and the gas or liquid needs to stay in contact with the charcoal for a period of time to absorb significant amounts.
For the sake of argument, let's say that charcoal does reduce some toxins and could offer some benefits with a fresh chamber of charcoal. How much of your desired elements get condensed out at the same time? With cannabis smoke, the oily resins condense out very quickly when the vapor stream is slowed and cooled by the turbulence and highly increased surface area of the charcoal. The charcoal quickly gets coated with resin, sealing it off and thereby stopping any possible absorption. You certainly would have to change the charcoal very often when smoking cannabis.
So why does charcoal that is already coated appear to be making the smoke less harsh in the opinion of some? Because turbulence and increased surface area reduces heat and gives sparks a chance to go out, making the inhaled vapor much less hot. But, even though the charcoal is absorbing nothing at this point, the desired elements continue to condense out onto the charcoal at a high rate, thereby increasing the particulates and toxins inhaled while reaching your specific desired level of cannabinoids.
I have yet to find any testing that disclosed toxins removed and cannabinoids removed by fresh charcoal filter chambers. There may be a reason they left this data out. Charcoal filters may not be wise for now, but the door should be left open for advancements in charcoal technology.
Pipes get mold and bacteria growing inside them. Not using a screen allows unburned organic material to lodge inside the pipe resulting in mold. Moisture and saliva mix in with the mess increasing bacteria growth. Particulates stick to the resin inside the pipe, making a filthy mess.
You cannot see inside many smoking devices, making it easy to ignore this serious health risk. Some pipe smokers do not clean their pipes often or thoroughly. The design and shape of most smoking devices are just not cleaning friendly.
Using cleaning chemicals is risky since they can be absorbed into the resin that is left behind in corners or places you cannot see, causing additional harm by inhaling harmful chemicals. You must be able to clean your pipe completely! Using Clear glass, or partially clear helps with visual inspection so you can be sure it's clean.
Being able to thoroughly clean your smoking device is very important.
Metal Cooling Pipes, Metal Cooling Coils, etc.
There are some new aluminum pipes on the market that claim to cool and filter. And now they have metal cooling coils and other attempts at reducing the burn of smoking. They have very persuasive websites. Well, they do cool, but filter they do not! They don't have a filter, just a screen (or similar) to stop large chunks.
By now you probably have figured out that these metal cooling devices remove your desired elements and therefore increase the ash and toxins inhaled. These devices do not block burning particulates or ash! They fool you by cooling, just like the bong does, when what they are actually doing is removing your desired elements causing you to inhale more bad stuff.
Drawing hard enough in an attempt to overcome the condensing out of desired elements, results in even more harm by driving burning particulates deep into the lungs. They simply do not provide a healthier smoke, but rather, are increasing lung and immune system harm!
"Rolled in paper" joint smokers see the bulk of their ash fall away and burning particulates are reduced by passing through the length of herb. The common joint, without a filter, has been shown in testing to deliver comparatively higher levels of your desired elements vs ash and toxins, than pipes and water devices tested. Of course, they did not have the PerfectPipe® to test. The common unfiltered joint reduces toxins and ash more than unfiltered pipes, water pipes or bongs while reaching your specific level of cannabinoids!
Don't bother trying to put a filter on a joint. It does remove THC just like you were told! Turns out it was not a myth, it is science. The cannabinoids must be kept above vaping/boiling temperature to get them through a filter. The length of herb in a joint cools the smoke enough to start condensing THC/Cannabinoids/Terpenes onto the herb and paper before they get to the filter. The filter clogs up with THC/Cannabinoids/Terpenes from the very first hit, and it goes straight downhill from there.
When smoking with an unfiltered joint, your desired elements that get deposited/condensed on the herb and paper are re-vaporized and inhaled to some degree as you smoke down the length of the joint. This recovery cannot take place with desired elements trapped in a filter. And, the filter increases it's rate of removal of desired elements as the joint gets shorter and the filter becomes more clogged. Micro fiber filters don't work on joints.
The PerfectPipe® incorporates all of the above science into a very simple device. It is my sincere desire to reduce smoking harm for cannabis patients and recreational users.
The PerfectPipe® really does stop the chronic cough. You will so appreciate the greatly reduced amount you will be smoking to achieve your desired level of cannabinoids, without burning your throat and lungs. Good health to you all.
Thank you for reading this page on Cannabis Smoking Health!
Use a new filter with each bowl of use.
Your throat and lungs will thank you!
Disclaimer: The information on this website is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information is not intended as medical advice, but rather a sharing of knowledge and information based on research and experience.
This content may be copied in full, with copyright, contact, creation and information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing is required.