What Is The Most Sustainable Way To Smoke Weed?
For the environmentally aware among us wondering ‘what is the most sustainable way to smoke weed?’, this article is here to shed a light on the subject. Sustainability is a huge, complicated global issue and there are many definitions of the word. However, the general principles of sustainability relate to how we consume natural resources for things like food, energy, clothes and, in this case, cannabis products. Sustainability is about finding ways to do these things in ways that protect the environment and ecology.
Unfortunately many of the systems and processes that keep society moving forward are unsustainable because they have negative impacts on the natural world. Mankind has reaped more we should sow for a very long time, but there is hope. Awareness of sustainability issues is growing and more people are looking to source sustainable products and adopt more sustainable lifestyles. So what does that mean for consumers of cannabis products?
Sustainability Issues in the Cannabis Industry
The bad news is that the cannabis industry on the whole is not very sustainable. Not all cannabis production methods are the same in terms of resource consumption. However many large scale weed producers use more industrial production methods. For example, growing plants indoors under high powered lighting uses a lot of power. So does all of the equipment needed for effective environmental control. There is the widespread use of synthetic and organic fertilisers, which require a lot of energy to produce and transport. Then there are issues with things like pollution in waterways and eutrophication. Another massive issue with growing weed is the VERY high water consumption.
Another thing to think about as consumers of cannabis is that all of the resources that go into producing marijuana could actually be used to grow food. Food security is a global problem and edibles are not going to solve it. We will cover the topic of resource consumption in the cannabis industry in more detail in later posts, so for now we want to concentrate on the most sustainable way to smoke weed.
Some Cannabis Products Are More Sustainable Than Others
As mentioned, it takes a lot of resources to produce a gram of high quality cannabis flower. This is not the end of the story though because there are other cannabis products hash have that been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. As the cannabis industry has boomed, modern extraction methods have led to products like rosin or bubble hash, which are ultra refined for potency and flavour. They are highly concentrated products that are made by processing cannabis buds (and maybe leaves and trim depending on the quality).
Products like rosin or shatter take a lot of bud to produce. For every gram of bud you start with in the beginning, you only get between a 5-20% yield of hash, rosin or shatter. This is the reason concentrates are so expensive – not sustainable for the wallet. For this reason it is clear that ultra refined cannabis product are not a very efficient way to get high. They are very effective though, as THC concentrations can be as high as 70%, but this is not the most sustainable choice for smoking.
Indeed, smoking buds/ flowers/ nugs is probably the most sustainable option. It does not matter the weed has been grown outdoors with nothing but the sun and rain to nurture it, or it can be produced in an intense indoor garden.
Sustainable Weed Smoking: What Are The Best Options For Burning Cannabis Flower?
There are many ways to smoke weed. As consumers, we have a great deal of responsibility for the problems in the cannabis industry. There would not be so much production if there was not so much demand. People are also usually happy to pay a premium for convenience too, which presents opportunities for innovation and challenges for sustainability.
In the current age there are so many different ways to consume cannabis… When it comes to burning herb, it does not matter if you are smoking-pre rolled joints, taking hits from glass bongs, or puffing from wooden pipes, there are sustainability issues left, right and centre. Consider the manufacturing processes needed to make a bong, for example. Is the bong made of plastic, glass or some other material like quartz? Were were the raw materials sourced? Was the bong made in another country and shipped to your door by a delivery person in a delivery truck? Then what about the butane in your lighter, or the hemp wick you use to get a clean burn? There are implications to just about every aspect of smoking weed. But which one is the least worst?
The most sustainable way to smoke weed is probably with a wooden pipe.
The main reasons for this are that the pipe is made from a renewable material and is totally reusable. If you kept the same pipe for a lifetime it would be an ultra sustainable way to smoke bud. Even better if you found a fallen branch out back and carved your own pipe with your bare hands!
Smoking devices like bongs and dab rigs can be relatively sustainable depending on how they were made.
This one is not straightforward. If a bong is made from glass then it requires a lot of heat to make. If a bong is made from plastic it still requires heat, but it is made from a recyclable material that can be toxic to the natural environment. The other thing about bongs is that they are often designed to look appealing, which means they contains more raw material than is actually needed. Think about the difference between a small simple bong and a 4 foot sculpture bong with percolator and sidecar. The carbon footprint of a bong may be better if it was produced locally, but this isn’t always the case. However, the best part about a bong is that it can be reused. Much like a wooden pipe, the more you use your device, the more sustainable its existence becomes. This highlights the problem with smoking joints.
Smoking Joints Is possibly The Least Sustainable Way To Smoke Weed – Burning Materials With Every Puff
There is no reusing a rolling paper. Nobody should really use a roach twice, although it is possible to buy reusable roaches. It is also likely that joint rollers will include some tobacco product in their roll too. The truth is that rolling papers can be made in a wide range of ways. Some rolling paper brands offer more sustainable products than others. However the fact that you cannot reuse joint rolling materials isn’t all that bad. That is because most materials are completely compostable and non-toxic to the environment. A pile of old roaches may not look pretty, but it will biodegrade a lot faster than a plastic bong. Therein lies a great message. Always try to get the most from your resources before you throw them away. When you do come to dispose of them, do it in a responsible way.
The most sustainable way to smoke weed is not always clear. You may choose to consume concentrates and that is ok. You may prefer to have a joint sometimes, and that is ok too. What is not ok is waste. So let’s try to use what we have while we have it and dispose of it properly when we are done. Hopefully if consumers choose to pursue more sustainable cannabis brands and products, more companies in the cannabis industry will find ways to be more sustainable.