Cannabis - Harm reduction tips

  • No use is the safest choice. If you choose to use cannabis then moderate, occasional use is safer than continual use.
  • Taking deep tokes and holding smoke down for a long time is very harmful to the lungs and is not necessary to get the full effects!
  • If a friend is spinning out, reassure them and get them to focus on relaxed breathing (refer to safer partying section).
  • Avoid using cannabis to deal with bad trips as this often intensifies the experience.
  • Be aware that mixing cannabis and another depressant like alcohol makes the effect much stronger.
  • Avoid mixing tobacco with pot as it increases lung damage and risk of nicotine dependency.
  • Cannabis strength varies. Try a small quantity of any new smoke first. Although uncommon, cannabis can trigger psychosis in some individuals. If having delusional thoughts or other distorted sensory experiences when not stoned see your GP or local CADS service.
  • Cannabis burns at a much higher temperature than tobacco – ‘spotting’ can be especially harsh. Using a bong or pipe especially with iced water reduces damage from hot unfiltered smoke. Ensure that droplets of water are not inhaled - this is not good for your lungs. Avoid inhaling deeply and holding the smoke in your lungs.
  • Replace bong water each time to avoid bugs and bacteria. Adding an antibacterial tablet (available at chemists) helps sterilise bongs. Plastic or rubber equipment can give off toxic fumes – glass is best. A pipe for sucking in smoke is less damaging than a wide opening. A long glass or stainless steel pipe kept cold (in a plastic bag in the freezer) will cool smoke effectively.
  • The least harmful way to smoke cannabis is with a vaporiser.