As more and more states legalize recreational cannabis, numerous studies investigate potential long-term effects, such as youth use and addiction. But one new study shows that puffing and passing carries a more immediate risk: a head cold.
That sharing pipes, bongs and joints would increase exposure to bacteria only makes sense, but research by a pipe accessory company, of all things, shows that our smoking pieces are likely covered with even more germs than we think. According to the study’s results, widely shared pipes can have nearly 50 percent more bacteria on their mouthpieces than an average public toilet seat, and 90 percent more bacteria than the inside of an average dumpster.
“Many viruses and bacteria can be transmitted simply by sharing pipes amongst friends and roommates, not to mention being at a public event sharing with hundreds or thousands of people from different states and countries,” the study’s report reveals. “Viruses, such as influenza, can survive on surfaces for up to eight hours.”
Researchers also used isophoric rubbing alcohol wipes to clean the pipes between users, and found that more than half of the bacteria still remained. The wipes were made available to users, too, but only 5 percent of them applied the wipe unprompted, according to the study.