When smoking cannabis, cigars, or anything else, butane lighters are the most common. Due to the fact that they are cheap, easy to find, and convenient to use, they have gained immense popularity. According to scientist Steve Gross, butane make ideal gas for use in lighters because “butane turns liquid quickly when compressed, and just as quickly returns to gas with reduced pressure.” This means that when the “pressure [is released] in the holding tank … some of the liquid immediately returns to its gaseous state and squirts out the opening to meet its flaming destiny at the spark.” Even though the chemical combustion makes butane a perfect pick for a lighter… there is minimal research on the actual effects that butane lighters have on your health and lungs.
Is Using a Butane Lighter Unhealthy?
President of and Co-founder of SC Labs, Josh Wurzer, claims that “for what it’s worth, butane is relatively non-toxic.” SC Lab is a leading cannabis lab in California that conducted residual solvent tests to “identify the presence of harmful solvents, impurities, and/or other added odorants and chemicals in cannabis.” Butane was placed as a class 33 solvent, meaning it has a low toxic potential to humans. According to this study, using a butane lighter has little effect on the body.
Additionally, according to data presented by the global energy company Hess, butane is non-toxic by inhalation. However, they did find that “inhalation of high concentrations may cause central nervous system depression such as dizziness, drowsiness, headache, and similar narcotic symptoms, but no long-term effects.”
With both of these sources considered, using a butane lighter is relatively safe in moderation.
What Are the Alternatives to Using a Butane Lighter?
Although still not as common as butane lighters, hemp lighters are recently gaining a lot of traction in the cannabis community. Hemp wick was created in order to help combat the health, flavor, and waste problems that grew out of using butane lighters. While not all help wick is created equal, this often has the reputation as a natural and safe alternative to butane lighters that burns cleaner, with fewer carbon emissions.
Some cannabis carnosaurs claim that using a hemp wick helps interferes less with the flavor of the cannabis opposed to butane lighters. Because hemp wick burns at a lower temperature than butane, the lower amount of heat helps preserve the flavor.
Both butane lighters and hemp wicks are popular and viable options to consume cannabis.