Do I Qualify?

Make an Appointment

Content Hub


Find a Dispensary Read Articles


Applying for your medical marijuana card is easier than ever. Just book an appointment. Talk to a doctor. And get your card. Bing. Bam. Boom.

Marijuana Doctors

Get your medical marijuana card

Cannabis Consultation

One on one with a cannabis coach

Patient Login

Sign in to your Veriheal patient account

Lifestyle, Research

Is Smoking Out of Plastic Harmful to Your Health?

Lemetria Whitehurst

by Lemetria Whitehurst

February 3, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho
Is Smoking Out of Plastic Harmful to Your Health?

As recreational cannabis smoking becomes more mainstream, the focus is no longer only on what is being smoked but also on how it is being smoked. In this ever-changing era, a growing health concern has emerged: the use of plastic in smoking equipment. While often overlooked, the material used for smoking cannabis can have a profound impact on health. This article examines the often-ignored risks associated with smoking out of plastic, a practice that may undermine the very benefits sought from cannabis itself.

The Inherent Dangers of Plastics

According to 2017 research published in the journal Science Advances, approximately 12,000 million metric tons of virgin plastics will be produced and disposed of in landfills, wastewater, and wild habitats by 2050.

The risks associated with plastics, particularly when heated, are not yet universally known. These risks pose serious health issues. Plastics are everywhere in our daily lives, yet their potential toxicity and various carcinogens are often underestimated and downplayed for compliant mass consumption. 

According to The Society of Plastics Industry, plastics are broadly classified into seven categories, with Categories 1, 3, and 6 identified as the most hazardous.

Category 1 plastics, which include polyethylene terephthalate (PET), are commonly used in water bottles and packaging materials. Despite their widespread use, these plastics can release harmful chemicals, especially when heated.

Category 3 plastics, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are found in various household items and packaging materials. PVC is notorious for its potential to cause liver cancer and disrupt the nervous system. 

Similarly, Category 6 plastics, such as polystyrene (found in Styrofoam), have been linked to several health issues and are so toxic that some jurisdictions have banned their use in food containers.

These categories of plastics, when used in smoking gadgets, can release carcinogenic compounds, posing a severe threat to the user’s health.

The Risks of Smoking Cannabis From Plastic Equipment

Many cannabis enthusiasts, in pursuit of a quick and accessible means to smoke, resort to making bongs from readily available plastic water bottles or purchasing inexpensive plastic smoking tools.

Why You Should Get Your Medical Marijuana Card

Veriheal has satisfied millions of patients nationwide by giving them access to these benefits

  • Larger purchase limits
  • Peace of mind
  • Enhanced legal protection
  • Access to higher potency strains
  • Save up to 25% on cannabis purchases
  • Skip the line at the dispensary

Some of the most commonly used plastic smoking gadgets include:

  • Plastic Bongs: Often homemade, these are made using plastic bottles and tubes. Commercially available plastic bongs are also popular due to their low cost.
  • Plastic Water Pipes: Similar to bongs, these devices use water to cool the smoke. They can be made from various plastics and are sometimes combined with other materials.
  • Plastic Smoking Bowls: These bowls are used to hold the cannabis being smoked. They can be standalone or part of a larger plastic smoking pipe.
  • Plastic One-Hitters: Compact and convenient, these are small pipes often accompanied by a storage container (dugout). Consumers use one-hitters for quick, discreet smoking sessions.
  • Disposable Plastic Vaporizers: These vaporizers are often made with plastic components. They are used for vaping cannabis concentrates and e-liquids.
  • Plastic Mouthpieces: Found on various smoking apparatuses, including vaporizers and hookahs. They are often detachable and made of plastic that is easy to clean and use.
  • Plastic Hookahs: While traditional hookahs are made from more durable materials, some modern versions incorporate plastic parts for portability and cost reduction.

Although generally more affordable, these products are not designed to withstand the high temperatures generated during smoking. As a result, they release a cocktail of toxic chemicals, directly exposing the user to harmful substances.

The lack of stringent manufacturing regulations in various countries, mainly where these low-cost smoking products originate, is also of concern. When there are no safety standards, these plastic smoking tools can contain an array of hazardous materials.

Are Acrylic Bongs Safer?

Despite the lack of specific research regarding the risk of microplastics in acrylic bongs, there’s ample evidence that acrylic materials can shed microplastics. Plastics, like those used in water bottles, start to release harmful compounds like BPA when heated to approximately 140 degrees or more.

Acrylic, being more heat-resistant, can tolerate temperatures up to around 570 degrees. However, this doesn’t entirely eliminate the risk, especially when exposed to the intense heat of a direct flame.

Furthermore, the cheap quality of acrylic bongs, along with their metal components, raises additional concerns about their long-term safety and effects.

Final Thoughts: The Need for Caution

The dangers of smoking out of heated plastic, while not entirely quantifiable, are undeniably alarming, resulting in many negative health effects. This concern is exacerbated by the lack of stringent safety measures and regulations governing the production of plastic smoking devices

In light of these risks, smokers should take caution and make informed choices. Safer alternatives, such as silicone or glass pipes, are healthier options. Ultimately, prioritizing one’s health over convenience or cost is the key.

By choosing safer materials and being mindful of the risks associated with plastic smoking devices, folks can better protect their health while enjoying the numerous benefits of cannabis.

Post Your Comments

Get your medical marijuana card today
Sign up in under 5 minutes