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Is It Safe To Use A Bong, Pipe, Or Cannabis Container Made From Silicone?

4 min
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Silicone pipes, bongs, and oil containers are rising in popularity. Not only are they affordable and virtually indestructible, they look really cool too. How could anyone pass up glow-in-the-dark gear? But, with the real health concerns of BPA in plastics, are silicone items safe to use with cannabis? We'll fill you in!

Silicone is one of the hottest new trends in the cannabis industry. It's eye-catching and lightweight, it's almost impossible to break, and it can be used to make almost anything a cannabis consumer could dream of—and some of it even glows in the dark!

But is silicone any better than plastic? Does it just look safe, while dangerous chemicals like BPA lurk beneath the surface, waiting for the right conditions to leach out and cause a dangerous or even lethal health condition? Read on to find out!

SILICONE: WHAT IS IT?

Silicone: What Is It?

Silicone is a 100% synthetic polymer. That simply means it's a man-made substance created from several different elements. In the case of silicone, most of those materials are natural. They include silicon, carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and sometimes other elements.

The actual manufacturing process is more complex:

To begin, quartz sand (silica) is heated until it reaches approximately 1,800°C. The high temperatures transform the sand into pure silicon isolate. Next, the cooled silicon is finely ground into a powder.

Silicon powder is mixed with methyl chloride, then heated again to create a chemical reaction that forms methyl chlorosilane. Methyl chlorosilane is made up mostly of dimethyldichlorosilane, the primary ingredient used to make silicone.

Silicone BongsVIEW SILICONE Bongs

Each compound found within methyl chlorosilane has a different boiling point. In a manner similar to separating water from alcohol when making liquor, this chemical can be heated in a controlled manner so that it releases each compound separately. This is how pure dimethyldichlorosilane is extracted from methyl chlorosilane.

Pure dimethyldichlorosilane will separate into hydrochloric acid and disilanol with the addition of plain water. This creates another chemical process in which the hydrochloric acid triggers the disilanol to condense and form polydimethylsiloxane.

Technically, polydimethylsiloxane has the siloxane bond that makes silicone. However, one more step is necessary to create silicone that's useful to industrial manufacturers. It's combined, or polymerised, with other organic matter to give it the specific traits that make it a desired raw material for a particular application, like the liquid silicone rubber that's used in injection moulding for kitchenware, beauty products, and silicone bongs.

IS SILICONE SAFE TO USE WITH CANNABIS?

Is Silicone Safe To Use With Cannabis?

The answer is a resounding… Yes!

But, you have to use some common sense. High-quality silicone made by a reputable company that's either food or medical-grade is perfectly safe to use. It won't start to melt until it's heated to more than 315°C, and if it does get that hot, it doesn't release any toxic fumes. Nothing will contaminate your smoke or vapor.

Then there's the cheap stuff. As silicone becomes more popular, sub-standard products are beginning to flood the market. If the price seems too good to be true, the best bet is to take a pass.

Here's something you might not know about silicone bongs and pipes: the bowl or nail will be made of glass, ceramic, or some other durable material. Otherwise, the silicone would quickly melt as even a normal Clipper lighter can get hotter than 315°C. But some silicone pipes and bongs go further than that. They're like a cell phone jacket for a glass bong, encasing the glass to prevent breakage. The end result: your smoke never actually touches the silicone.

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THE BENEFITS OF SILICONE BONGS

The Benefits Of Silicone Bongs

In addition to their unique, functional beauty, silicone bongs, pipes, and oil containers have many advantages over glass, wood, or practically any other material. Here are some of the reasons why you should put your fragile glass pieces safely on a shelf and make these durable goods your go-to gear for everyday use.

LESS BREAKAGE SAVES MONEY

This is the top reason for buying silicone. How many times have you tapped a piece of glass the wrong way and cracked it? Or, heaven forbid, let it slip out of your hands? Even sturdy borosilicate glass isn't indestructible, and broken glass is expensive to replace.

Silicone is practically indestructible. You can bang it around, drop it, even kick it across the room. It'll be OK. The most you'll do is break the glass bowl, and that's easy and cheap to replace.

CLEAN SMOKE, EVERY SINGLE TIME

Clean Smoke, Every Single Time

Silicone bongs are so easy to clean that it'll seem like you have a new pipe for every smoke session. Smoke and resin don't cling to the smooth surface, so all you have to do is give it a little rinse. Plus, silicone doesn't hang onto odours or flavours. That means no more smoke that tastes like a dirty ashtray.

When cleaning silicone, plain water will usually do the job. Use a little mild soap if it's particularly dirty. Never expose your silicone to alcohol, no matter how dirty it gets. It's one of the few chemicals that can cause silicone to break down.

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COOL DESIGNS FOR AN AFFORDABLE PRICE

Glass comes in amazing designs, some worthy of a museum, but that beauty comes at a price. Silicone bongs, on the other hand, can be made using any shape or colour you can imagine, from the super simple to the freakishly complex. And, they cost much less than a comparable glass rig.

OILS DON'T STICK TO SILICONE

Even the stickiest extract will slide right out of a silicone jar. Not only does that mean you won't have to work hard to get them clean—it reduces waste, too. This also makes it easier to re-use a dab container that once held a less desirable concentrate to store a more desirable product without the fear of cross contamination.

Silicone Oil JarView Silicone Jar

HOW LONG DO SILICONE BONGS LAST?

If cleaned properly and treated well, silicone bongs, pipes, and oil jars should, theoretically, last for years. Realistically, you should expect to get at least five years of use out of one. The biggest risk is simply losing them.

TIPS FOR BUYING SILICONE PRODUCTS

Tips For Buying Silicone Products

Unfortunately, all silicone bongs, pipes, and jars are not created equal. Use these tips to ensure you purchase a quality piece.

  • Food-grade or bust: Look for food-grade silicone. This will virtually eliminate the chance of it containing BPA or any other contaminant.
  • Don't buy a super-cheap product: You can find incredibly cheap silicone pipes at a corner shoppe for a few euros, but going cheap increases your chances of buying an inferior product. Besides, even the best silicone is much cheaper than the average glass rig, so splurge a little.
  • Prioritise ease: Some silicone is antimicrobial and dishwasher-safe. It's really easy to clean silicone bongs, but if you're extra-lazy, look for one that won't grow little beasties if you keep it less than sanitary, or one that allows you to throw it in with the dinner dishes once it gets grungy.
  • Do your due diligence: Pay attention to reviews, especially the negative ones. If you're ordering a silicone bong online, the selection will be virtually endless, but you won't be able to examine it for yourself to judge the quality. Always conduct your own research before you purchase.
  • Consider a glass-lined pipe or bong: If you want to be extra safe, look for a bong or pipe that includes a glass insert so your smoke never touches the silicone. They'll still be really hard to break. Just don't try to crush it.

THE WORLD OF SILICONE BONGS

The World Of Silicone Bongs

If you've been eyeing a silicone piece but were worried about whether it would be durable or safe to use, you can rest assured that these curious-looking bongs, pipes, and containers will stand up to years of use without making you ill. Choose a quality product made of food-safe silicone, keep it clean, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing it's almost impossible to break. Not sure what colour to get? You can't go wrong with neon green. It's classic!

Laura

Written by: Sherry
Featuring as a regular guest writer, Sherry lives in the wild heart of the American East Coast. Based at her family farm, she has developed a deep respect for cannabis, continuing to master and hone its cultivation.

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