An excessive and harmful amount of bacteria is passed between cannabis consumers who share cannabis pipes, vaporizers, and joints both at home and at cannabis consumption events.
Using an ATP Monitoring System, various cannabis pipes, as well as neutral objects, were tested to determine the levels of bacteria present.
Testing took place at two social consumption cannabis events in California. At each event, a pipe was placed on the table and 100 participants (200 total) were asked to consume cannabis through said pipe. Using an A/B testing method against baseline results, the first 50 participants at each event were given a MouthPeace, a sanitary smoking device, and instructed to use it when smoking from the pipe. The MouthPeace device is made of silicone and provides a personal and universal mouthpiece for pipes, vaporizers, and joints, preventing direct human contact. The following 50 participants were given no instruction and were not provided MouthPeaces. At predetermined intervals the pipe’s mouthpiece was swabbed, the swab was tested using the ATP Monitoring System and the results were recorded.
Additional tests were performed on randomly selected pipes, vaporizers, and joints, as well as neutral objects, such as public restroom toilet seats, ATM keypad buttons, shopping carts, etc. The latter was done to establish real-world comparisons.
An astounding level of bacteria was found on cannabis pipes, vaporizers, and joints; significantly higher than what was initially expected. In fact, it was difficult to find a neutral object in daily life that was as contaminated as a cannabis pipe, which has on average, almost one and a half times more bacteria than a public toilet seat.
It was observed that very few cannabis consumers take precautions when it comes to sharing pipes, as only 5% of participants used available alcohol wipes to clean the pipe prior to consumption. However, utilizing alcohol wipes as a quick, sanitary solution at cannabis events has been shown to be ineffective in significantly lowering the bacteria level of a cannabis pipe.
Social consumption of cannabis can lead to excessive and unnecessary bacterial contamination and transfer. Sanitary devices, such as the MouthPeace, are proven to dramatically decrease the spread and amount of bacteria on a pipe by more than 5924%. Cannabis consumers should take precautions, especially in environments where social sharing among large groups is encouraged.
While it is true that bacteria is all around us, most people tend to take preventative measures to avoid intentional contamination. Cannabis users seem to completely disregard common sense health and safety practices when it comes to consuming cannabis both in public and privately at home. Any government or licensing board that is considering the viability of social consumption lounges or events should consider this study when implementing health and safety protocols and best practices.