Now's a good time to review proper weed hygiene

A tried-and-true cleaning method is to use coarse salt and isopropyl alcohol.
A tried-and-true cleaning method is to use coarse salt and isopropyl alcohol.

As coronavirus continues to spread, proper hygiene is taking center stage as the front line on the battle for public health. So this is a good time to revisit some of the basic, simple and common-sense tenets of weed hygiene.

No matter your means of consumption — be it a joint, edible or bong — you're part of the equation. Whatever germs are on you can wind up on your weed. So, even though I'm sure you've been told this countless times already today, wash your hands. Before you pick up your pipe, wash your hands. Before you roll a joint, wash your hands. Before you put that edible in your mouth, wash your hands. As soon as you're done reading this, for good measure, go wash your hands.

Once you've done that, you can wash your gear. Pipes, bubblers, bongs or whatever you're using to smoke: If you use it more than once, it's going to get dirty.

A tried-and-true cleaning method is to use a mixture of coarse salt and isopropyl alcohol. The salt helps remove resin and the alcohol kills off anything on the glass. But groups like the Environmental Protection Agency and others list isopropyl alcohol as toxic to humans. Unfortunately, there's no evidence that the safer option of vinegar will cut it against coronavirus. Whatever you do, don't go for something even stronger like bleach or chemical cleaners, because they're even more toxic than alcohol.

So, clean first with isopropyl alcohol to kill the germs, then rinse again without it to eliminate the alcohol. But what about single-use methods, like a joint, that you can't really clean before use?

Earlier this month the New York Times interviewed virology experts for an article on how coronavirus can and can't be transmitted. We don't yet know every way the virus can be spread, but the experts they spoke with said it certainly could be transmitted through kissing.

Now, sharing a joint and making out with someone are two very different things, but they're certainly both ways to swap spit. So, get your own joint. Simple as that.

Practicing proper weed hygiene is the first step in protecting yourself and others from contagious illnesses. It's not the end-all, though. Coronavirus specifically is a respiratory illness, and putting a ton of smoke into your lungs is no way to keep them healthy. Fortunately, there are countless ways to get high without using your lungs. Now's as good of a time as ever to expand your horizons. ♦

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