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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Nature Basics: Sanitation 101

Jun 29, 2020 03:25PM ● By J Garnett
Being conscious of germs and viruses has been on people’s minds for months now. Because of this pandemic, sanitizing supplies have been difficult to get. Bleach, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizers couldn’t even be found just two months ago, and when these products are found in stores today, customers are limited on how much can be purchased. It seems that people are sanitizing door knobs, shopping carts, mail, packaged groceries and just about anything that has come in contact with other people a lot more now than in the recent past. People are in a cleaning frenzy.

It’s to be expected, really, because it’s uncertain where viruses are lingering, and new information about COVID-19 is still being discovered each day. It’s scary when something as vicious, and sometimes fatal, can’t be seen with the naked eye. It’s rattling to think about what might be camped out on this surface or that surface, so the process of sanitation has increased dramatically over the last several months. Cleaning of medical supplies seems to be common sense, but there may be a few that people are forgetting about.

Prior to, and long after this recent surge in sanitation activity, there were, and are, items that people sanitize on a regular basis. Toilets, sinks, cell phones and a teenager’s bedroom are just a few examples of objects and areas that have been, and will continue needing attention. Hospitals and doctor’s offices go through deep sterilization processes on a daily basis. Pharmaceutical manufacturing plants and laboratories have strict protocols that must be adhered to as far as sanitation and cleanliness goes. Medicine and medical equipment must be clean and sterile for the patient’s safety and to ensure that the medicine and health instruments are not being compromised by germs, viruses or any number of miniscule contaminants.

With the ever growing trend to move toward natural and health-friendly medicines, there’s also a need for sanitation of the products associated with plant medicine. It has long been understood that particular herbal teas can help combat illness and disease. Certainly, a nice medicinal brew of chamomile tea wouldn’t be poured into a dirty tea cup, so similar precautions must be made to ensure cleanliness of marijuana dispensing supplies.
Dr. Joseph Rosado, the Chief Medical Officer for, has reviewed research that shows the most popular way, currently, for using medical marijuana is by smoking the product. When patients smoke the medicine, the effects are felt immediately. The patient is able to use as much or as little of the product as needed and can consume it as often as is necessary. The buds from the marijuana plant, or flower, is burned with flame or high heat so the smoke can be inhaled into the lungs. There are numerous tools that can be used for this method, including pipes, water bongs, vaping pens and marijuana cigarettes. Also, according to a general poll, pipes and water bongs are among the most popular tools being used.

Pipes and bongs are made using a variety of materials. Glass, metal, ceramics, wood and some very creative homemade varieties are common. These tools come in an array of different shapes and sizes. The equipment can be a simple basic pipe, or an elaborate water bong with numerous tubes, chambers and water storage areas. No matter the type of instrument that’s being used to smoke medicinal marijuana, there is something that they all share in common—they must all be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis, just like mainstream medical equipment.

When the flower of the plant is smoked, tar and resin build up inside pipes and bongs and need to be cleaned regularly. Not only can an unclean pipe or bong give off unpleasant odors, but the buildup of tar contains unhealthy components, including carcinogens. There are a number of ways to clean marijuana accessories. One of the more popular methods is to submerge the pipe or bong into a solution of isopropyl alcohol with a concentration of at least 90 percent. Soaking the products in this solution for 30 minutes can help with a lot of the resin and tar.
Another method is to use a very coarse salt or sugar with the alcohol in a plastic bag. Again, make certain that the entire piece being cleaned is submerged. Shake the bag gently in order to get the coarse granules moving inside and outside the pipe or bong. Along with the effects of the alcohol, the abrasiveness of the salt or sugar scrubs the resin and tar away. There will be remnants left, but that can be easily wiped out with a cotton swab or paperclip. It is very important to rinse the products thoroughly if using an alcohol solution. Let the piece dry naturally, as this will help with alcohol evaporation.
There are also many products that can be purchased to help clean marijuana paraphernalia. A few oil-based solutions can even be added to the water of a bong to prevent the tar and resin from adhering to the glass. It’s important to read and follow the directions when purchasing cleaning products.
Having clean smoking supplies is beneficial for a number of reasons. The pieces will look better. They won’t be black, sticky or smelly. Having a clean pipe or bowl will ensure that the dosing of the medicine is not tainted with any of the unwelcome build-up. Because the tar and resin are byproducts of smoke, it can have a bitter and unpleasant taste. When the smoking apparatus is clean, it allows the patient to experience the true and earthy taste of the marijuana flower, which makes for a more enjoyable dosing.

J. Garnet, M.Ed. is a writer, teacher, speaker and healer. Garnet’s passion is helping the public see that nature is medicine. Connect at 520-437-8855 or [email protected].