Under normal circumstances, only medical marijuana patients with compromised immune systems worry about sterilizing marijuana and smoking accessories. Today, even recreational smokers are doing the right thing and taking precautions against the spread of infection such as sterilizing their pipes and bongs between smoking sessions. This article will offer a comprehensive introduction to how both immune-compromised medical patients and average consumers can sterilize their marijuana and prepare it for smoking.
The rationale behind sterilizing smoking equipment like glass bongs and pipes is fairly obvious, especially if multiple people use them. Frequent sterilization helps to prevent the spread of pathogens from one user to the next. Even extremely health-conscious recreational smokers don’t usually sterilize their marijuana, though, and they don’t generally need to take this extra step. However, for medical patients with impaired immune systems, sterilization is a must.
The primary danger associated with smoking unsterilized weed is a lung disease known as aspergillosis. This fungal infection is caused by the spores produced by aspergillus, a fungus known to attack cannabis plants. Research has shown that immune-compromised patients are much more susceptible to this disease than healthy smokers. Regardless or whether you buy dried marijuana online or grow your own indoor feminized seeds or outdoor canabis seeds, the reality is that Aspergillus can impact any weed stash if kept in unfavorable conditions.
Aspergillus thrives on moisture, so controlling dampness is the key to preventing contamination. This should always start during the drying and curing processes. To be stored or smoked safely, dried buds should contain no more than 15% water.
Even if it’s been properly cured and dried, most marijuana still contains trace amounts of aspergillus and other contaminants, and they aren’t all burned up during combustion. When patients smoke marijuana, that smoke passes through cooler, unburned material regardless of what smoking method they employ, allowing the pathogens to survive the combustion process and enter the lungs.
Sterilization kills the vast majority of pathogens in cannabis. Doctors recommend that immune-compromised patients sterilize all marijuana prior to smoking it, including commercially produced varieties grown using industry best practices. They recommend this mostly as a precaution, but patients already dealing with serious underlying conditions like HIV and cancer can’t afford to take unnecessary risks.
Some recreational users also sterilize their marijuana, especially if they aren’t confident that it was grown, dried, and cured in a healthy, mold-free environment. It only takes a few minutes to sterilize buds, so there’s nothing wrong with taking this extra precaution to protect lung health. If this is your first time trying to grow marijuana, then definitely sterilize your first harvest just to be safe.
Some strains may be perceived as more medical in nature, meaning that they are know to help treat specific symptoms of human disease. Strains from acdc medical seeds or white widow medical marijuana will be no more resistant to these pathogens than other regular strains of cannabis.
Sterilizing marijuana at home is easy. Patients can put it in their ovens and bake it for around five minutes to kill any remaining pathogens. Set the oven to around 300 degrees Fahrenheit. As long as smokers don’t leave it in the oven for too long, this temperature should kill any pathogens without vaporizing the THC.
Some medical marijuana producers sterilize their buds before packaging them using a different technique. They expose the buds to gamma irradiation to kill the pathogens. Obviously, that’s not a great solution for home sterilization unless smokers have labs in their basements. Even if the marijuana was sterilized before packaging, medical patients may still want to throw it in the oven for a few minutes to ensure that any newly introduced pathogens are killed.
Mold spores, including aspergillus, can be introduced to cannabis at any point in the production process. Always check for visible signs of mold. If the buds look moldy or are producing an unusual, earthy smell, don’t smoke them. Inhaling large amounts of mold can make even otherwise healthy smokers sick, so it’s not worth the risk.
In today’s age, even recreational users should sterilize their glass pieces between sessions. This includes bongs, pipes, dab rigs, and handheld vaporizers. Sterilizing glass is much easier than sterilizing actual marijuana, so there’s no excuse for neglecting this important step.
To sterilize glass pieces, just rub them down with 99% concentrated isopropyl alcohol. Those who want to clean their pieces while they’re sterilizing them can add coarse salt to get rid of built-up resin and perform a more efficient deep-cleaning.
Experienced smokers often love the ritual associated with preparing for a session. Whether they love it or not, it’s a necessary step for anyone who wants to have a good experience. Failing to prepare the buds properly for use can make smoking feel harsh on the throat and lungs and make the whole session less pleasant.
Those who buy their buds from medical or recreational dispensaries shouldn’t have to worry about seeds and leaves, but they’ll still need to remove the plant material from the stems. If the buds weren’t well-trimmed, now is a good time to remove any lingering leaves, as well.
Most marijuana sold in the United States is high-quality sinsemilla, meaning it does not have any seeds. Imported and home-grown weed is a different story. Depending on the grower’s proficiency at preventing pollination and how well they processed the finished product before selling it, there may be seeds nestled into the buds. Try to remove 100% of these seeds. They will pop when heated, ejecting themselves from the bowl, and produce a massively unpleasant taste. Some patients also report getting headaches after accidentally smoking seeds.
The most efficient way to remove seeds from small quantities of marijuana is to cut the buds up to release them. Smokers can also remove them by hand, but they should be prepared to get some resin on their fingers.
Once they’re sure there are no seeds or stems, smokers will be ready to grind up their weed. There’s no need to turn them into dust. The buds just need to be cut up finely enough to be rolled evenly or placed into a pipe, bong, or vaporizer.
Using a grinder isn’t strictly necessary. Smokers can break up their buds by hand as long as they don’t mind losing a little THC to their fingertips. However, there are a few benefits to buying and using a metal, plastic, or wood grinder.
Finely ground marijuana makes it easier to roll joints that won’t run and ensures that properly packed bowls will be burned completely, conserving valuable bud. Most patients and recreational users also report a smoother, more enjoyable smoking experience when using grinders, and many smokers save the kief that comes off the leaves for later smoking or even cooking.
Rolling the perfect joint requires a lot of practice while packing a bowl requires next to none. To pack a bowl, just place the ground-up weed in it and press it in place so it won’t all come flying out as soon as it’s lit.
When it comes to rolling joints, everyone has an opinion about the best papers, whether to use a carb, and whether or not it’s cheating to just use a rolling machine. No one rolls a perfect joint his or her first time, but here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to get a joint that’s at least smokable, even if it doesn’t look too pretty:
Nobody rolls a perfect joint on his or her first try. As long as the weed is packed in at the right consistency, it should smoke just fine. Try to avoid air bubbles near the outside of the joint, but don’t pack it in so tight that smoke can’t get through once it’s lit. If the joint runs, it’s too loose. If it won’t stay lit, it’s packed too tight. Take note of these problems and make adjustments to reduce the problem the next time.
Immune-compromised patients who buy medical marijuana have to worry more than most about contamination. Since there’s no way to guarantee that even high grade weed is 100% free from all mold, fungi, and other potential pathogens, the best way to reduce the risk of infection is to sterilize the bud before smoking it. Recreational users really don’t need to take this extra step.
Once the bud has been sterilized, smokers can remove seeds and stems, grind it up, roll it up, and smoke it up. All this work may feel like a hassle at first, but over time, the process of preparing to smoke becomes a ritual. Most seasoned smokers look forward to rolling beautiful purple punch or blue ice joints almost as much as they look forward to smoking them, so get started practicing now.