Cannabis smokers may use pipes or bongs with a metal screen in order to keep pieces of flower or other smokable materials from being drawn into the mouth while smoking. Metal screens also keep plant material from entering the water if you are using a water pipe. Screens can also prevent you from inhaling ash, which can result in uncomfortable coughing fits. And if you’ve ever smoked on a screenless piece and unexpectedly inhaled a mouthful of ash, you know how not delicious that experience is.
Screens have other benefits too. They reduce wasted flower during your smoke session. They also keep the flower lightly compacted for a nice, even burn. In this article we will discuss different types of screens, and whether it is healthy smoking accessory to utilize.
Why Are Metal Screens Used By So Many Smokers?
There are many advantages to using metal screens. They are easy to adjust to fit the size or shape of just about any bowl in a smoking device. The screen will need to be cleaned regularly in order to be effective, and will eventually need to be replaced. In terms of preventing ash from getting through, they are quite effective.
A common metal used to make screens include brass. Brass was the first type of metal used to make screens for tobacco pipes. They have been available to purchase for decades, and they are very effective when it comes to preventing clogs to the stem, shank, and draught hole of your smoking device. They are highly versatile and inexpensive. So it’s no wonder so many people use metal pipes in their smoking devices.
That being said, there are also some downsides to brass screens. Brass does not remain stable when exposed to high heat. It has a low melting point, making it easy for a pocket lighter to burn a hole right through the center of the screen. This low melting point could result in the off-gassing of harmful chemicals, which are then inhaled as you’re smoking. Consequently, this could produce health deteriorating effects over time.
The intense heat can also cause the smoke to have a metallic taste in addition to impacting your well-being. If possible, avoid this type of screen. If it is your only option, keep the flame as far from your bowl as possible, and change the screen frequently.
Aluminum Mesh Screens
Some mesh metal screens are also made of aluminum, and these should be avoided if possible. Aluminum is another metal that does not have a very high melting point, increasing your risk of exposure to harmful pollutants.
There is lots of documented evidence about the dangers of aluminum. Particulates of aluminum are harmful if inhaled. Exposure to fine dust can cause scarring to the lungs over time too, so this is by far the least desirable material as far as metal screens go.
Stainless Steel Screens
Stainless steel is a much healthier material to use for a metal screen. It is slightly more expensive than brass, but its advantages are well worth the increase. Stainless steel is much more stable, with a higher melting point than brass.
Furthermore, it’s practically invulnerable to the heat of a typical pocket lighter or mini-torch. It can be used hundreds of times without the integrity of the material being broken down at all. This is by far a more sustainable option, and comes with the added bonus of great filtration for your smoke, without any anxiety about exposure to pollutants.
Healthier Alternatives to Using a Metal Screen in Your Pipe
An alternative to metal screens that is another healthier option for your smoking tools, is glass or quartz screens. These are usually either made from borosilicate glass, or in the case of quartz screens, pure silica. The latter is sometimes called fused quartz or fused silica as well. Both can withstand high temperatures.
There are a lot of advantages to using screens made from these materials instead of a metal screen. The main downside to glass or quartz is that the material is not as malleable as a metal screen. The will need to be the correct size in order to fit the bowl of your smoking device properly. If you enjoy working with more than one type of pipe, you may find that you need different size screens for each.
While they are not as versatile, they do offer the advantages of long-term durability. They also have high heat tolerance. These types of screens will cost you a bit more money than a metal screen will, but they save you hours of anxiety. Which, if you’re anything like me as a smoker, is priceless.
Many cannabis users also report that the taste of their smoke is cleaner and more flavorful when using a glass screen, with no aftertaste. These screens are often designed to resemble flowers, so they are aesthetically pleasing as well. Even though they are more expensive, they do not need to be replaced, so they are a sustainable option.
Smoking in General Comes With Its Own Set of Risks
Of course, it is important to remember that smoking cannabis or dabs/hash does come with its own share of health risks. While the health risks are not as extreme as they are from smoking tobacco, there are still some very real health implications that cannabis smokers would do well to consider. For example, there is an association between people who regularly smoke cannabis and increased inflammation of the airway, and lung hyperinflation. Regular cannabis smokers also report more symptoms of chronic bronchitis than those who do not partake.
Studies suggest that this could be due to THC’s immune-suppressing effects, which could make the lungs more vulnerable to certain infections, in serious cases, this could even include pneumonia. The good news is that there is no evidence in any study that has been conducted on either animals or humans that indicates that smoking cannabis increases the risk of emphysema. Studies have not found that there is a direct correlation between smoking cannabis use and lung cancer.
Oral Health Issues
Just as with smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis can be bad for your oral health too. In general, heavy smokers are more likely to experience oral health issues such as gum disease and inflammation. Due to the factors listed above, it is a complicated question to determine how cannabis smoke affects oral health. These factors include one’s oral hygiene habits, use of preventative care, frequency of dental visits, whether they smoke tobacco as well, dietary habits, etc.
Many cannabis smokers report experiencing “cotton mouth”, also known as xerostomia or dry mouth. This is caused by an under-functioning of the salivary glands. THC sends signals to endocannabinoid receptors to limit saliva production, this is why you may experience that dry mouth sensation after smoking cannabis. This is bad for oral health because saliva is important for preventing plaque build-up, it also flushes out bacteria, prevents bad breath, slows down tooth decay, and helps you break down food to digest.
Avoid the Health Risks Using A Metal Pipe Screen
Ultimately, we’d recommend avoiding putting a metal screen in our smoking device. It’s not a wise choice and there are much better options. If you wish to avoid these health risks, but still want to enjoy the health benefits of cannabis, working with tinctures and edibles is a great alternative. There are lots of sugar-free edibles available, as well as vegan and gluten-free options if you have concerns about your dental health or dietary sensitivities.
Both tinctures and edibles have precise dosing instructions so that you can control the intensity of your experience and use it effectively for any symptom management. There are many tincture and edible cannabis products that are available that contain no THC or a blend of THC and other cannabinoids such as CBD and CBN. These cannabinoids can mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC, or remove them altogether. These products are a great option for those who benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabinoids but need to function without feeling “high”.
As the number of states adopting the legalization of cannabis increases, it will become easier and easier for more research to be conducted on the healthiest ways to consume this fascinating plant. Innovations and a greater understanding of healthy and sustainable ways to consume cannabis will continue to be developed. All types of methods of infusing cannabis into food, beverages, and even topical products are becoming more widely available. As we come to understand more about cannabinoids and terpenes, the diversity of products and applications will only increase further. It’s an exciting industry to keep an eye on.
About OMG THC
We’re homegrown in Las Vegas, Nevada. We embrace niches others in the Cannabis market ignore or reject. Vegan? Diabetic? Gourmet cook? Old-school hash connoisseur? Looking for a specific ratio of CBD and THC in your products? You got it! We’ve got you covered!
Additionally, we care about quality and the effects our products have on people’s lives & health. OMG THC use only CO2 and ethanol extraction methods. We NEVER use butane or other petrochemicals to extract our oils. We want our products to be easy on the body and safe for our team to make.
Our products are simple and they are great. From the cannabis oils, we use to the packaging and the varieties of our products. Finally, and best of all, our edibles are damn delicious! In other words, if we wouldn’t want to eat them, we aren’t going to sell them to anyone else. We NEVER cut our concentrates with anything – period! EVER! We use top-of-the-line C-Cell hardware – always. We ensure quality and purity.
For Adult Use Only
OMG THC products are intended for use by and available to adults 21+ and over. Keep our products out of reach of children and pets. Furthermore, be smart about handling and use, and dosage. Be Vigilant. Keep yourself in check. Finally, enjoy our products responsibly and keep everyone safe.
As always, feel free to Contact OMG THC with any questions or comments you might have. We’re here for you and we’re responsive to your needs. If you’d like to locate OMG THC products, check out our dispensaries list. You can also find out more about OMG THC on Leafly.