A lot of cannabis users are very familiar with the trend of sharing a joint. But, is such practice safe, or should it be entirely avoided? Are there valid reasons for concern or there’s really no harm in sharing a joint? This article explores all these questions, and further suggests the safest ways to share weed among our friends.
A joint shared keeps friends together. One of the decent cultures among stoners is sharing a joint. It’s been a part of the culture for many years and the tradition won’t be ending anytime soon. It’s believed to be the best way to bond with old friends and connect with new ones. Puff, puff, pass didn’t happen by accident in cannabis folklore.
But on the other hand, there are concerns about hygiene, especially among germaphobes, who consider ingesting another’s oral fluid a disaster. And that stance is quite understandable. Does this concern hold water? Is it paranoia? If not, what’s the deal then? To answer these questions, we first need to explore how germs spread. And while we might have a general idea of what germs are, we need to get more scientific here.
The good and saliva of it
While addressing the Cleveland Clinic, otolaryngologist Dr. Michael Benniger claimed that human saliva consists of enzymes and antibodies which help to reduce contagious risks. Although, he notes that activities that involve exchanging spit are quite a high risk. This implies that germ spread as well as those that transmit serious infections is easier to do with a “wet” jiont.
It is also crucial to point out that various kinds of bacteria live and inhabit our surroundings. According to Dr. Christine Zurawski, bacteria and viruses are part of our everyday lives. All that matters is being able to identify the good ones from the bad ones. Dr. Zurawski noted that bacteria present on personal items such as our clothes, and phones do not present any harm and are of no cause of concern. However, pathogens outside of our homes are the main cause of concern.
Can sharing a joint make you sick?
Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of NYU at the department of Microbiology and Pathology, claimed that approximately 80% of widespread infections spread via indirect and direct contact. This includes contact with surfaces and subsequently touching a sensitive part of the body such as the eye.
Regarding sharing of saliva, Tierno pointed out that such activities as well as sharing a joint expose people to the risk of catching infections like herpes and flu. One is also exposed to contracting staph infections strep throat, stomach flu, including meningitis.
Can you contract herpes from sharing a bong or joint?
Germs’ survival outside the human body is dependent on a moist environment. Thu then prompts the question; Can these germs survive on a jay crutch? How does moisture and germ survival apply to sharing joints?
Tierno explained that the moisture of surrounding air is more than enough needed by germs to strive. So, sharing joints indoors, absent of UV light, presents the perfect opportunity for germs to thrive for months. This means sharing a joint with several individuals increases the risk of passing or contracting several infections like herpes. But, Tierno clarified that exposure to any kind of UV light will help kill germs within minutes of exposure.
Does this mean the common practice of burning off pathogens on the filter or crutch of a joint is an alternative solution? Frankly, that continues to be a smoker’s myth as no empirical evidence suggests an affirmative answer.
But does this apply to bongs? Well, considering little saliva is involved compared to a joint, does that make a difference? Sadly, the answer is No. Given there’s still lip contact with the bong, there’s a risk of contracting herpes, flu, and other infections.
When it comes to herpes especially, sharing bongs or joints could lead to contracting HSV-1; Herpes Simplex Type 1. In comparison, HSV-1 is contracted through oral transmission while HSV-2 is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact. As regards HSV-1, the highest risk of transmission ensue when there’s direct contact with an infected person. So, if an individual in the group has the virus, there’s a high probability they transmit it to everyone they share a joint with.
Well, the good news is most cases of HSV-1 are not severe. Studies have shown that it can induce damage to the temporal lobe and even Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is just best that one avoids it.
How to share weed safely
Given the concerns of transmission of infections, germaphobes now need answers to if weed can be safely shared?
Fortunately, there’s a contactless, and safe way to share joints, although it involves some little hand tricks. You start by putting the non-burning end of the joint between your smallest fingers. Then, you connect your thumb and index finger to form a circle.
While the first hand acts as the underside to the rounded paw, you shape the hand to achieve a cup-like form. Connect both hands by placing the fingers of the cupped hand on the smaller fingers of the rounded hand. The whole created will serve as a chamber to drag some puffs. Have a friend light up the joint and take a puff, you’ll get to see there’s no contact between the joint and your mouth, reducing the chance of transmission. While it may take several practices, having a decent hit is achievable.
It’s also important to mention that having just friends in your joint circle reduces the risk of contracting diseases. That is provided they are honest about their health conditions.
Whatever the case, ensure you keep your joint circle as small as possible and always observe if anyone is showing symptoms of infections. Anyone displaying such symptoms should be temporarily excluded from the circle.
Whether or not you are a germaphobe, it’s quite necessary to be careful with bacteria and germ transmission. Subsequently, it’s better to be familiar ain’t the dos and don’t so you can enjoy bonding with friends over shared joints.
By being familiar with the right information, you can share a joint with friends while making every attempt to prevent the transmission of infection. The truth is, one can’t completely avoid the risks of sharing a joint but this smoking trading is what keeps the cannabis community connected. So it’s really up to you to participate or not.