The world of cannabis is no stranger to myths. Some people think 420 is named for the death day of Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin; heads up: it's not. Others heard George Washington grew weed in his backyard; he didn’t. There are even a few lingering people who believe in the outdated, "marijuana is a gateway drug" mantra.
Weed is part of an ever-evolving and expanding industry, so it’s natural to have a few rumors pop up along the way. Education is considered a vital process in cannabis reform, which includes correcting issues of misinformation, large and small, internal and external.
Here’s another false claim: Aluminum grinders are not safe to use.
Aluminum grinders are absolutely safe to use.
What are Grinders?
Grinders are tools used to break cannabis into small pieces. They come as a small tin that’s broken into two main sections held together magnetically. The top has metal blades for cutting, and the bottom attachment acts as a kief catcher. Most grinders are handheld, sleek, and discreet for the modern marijuana user.
Aluminum grinders, then, are exactly how it sounds: a cannabis grinding tool made out of the metal aluminum.
Apparently, the trend of #FakeNews is not limited to media. An advertisement video disguised as an editorial discussed the best grinders in the industry; they claimed that aluminum grinders should be deemed unsafe. What started as a marketing tactic has erupted into consumer concern.
There were two main concerns discussed:
- Aluminum grinders can create metal shavings, which then can be dropped into your cannabis.
- Smoking the aluminum shavings is unsafe and dangerous for your health.
The Truth About Aluminum Grinders
Don’t worry: Aluminum grinders are safe. These concerns, which appear to be logical on the surface, do not carry any legitimate weight. Here's why:
- Metal shavings are rare. Metal shavings are so infrequent, this concern is a non-issue. The most common case of little aluminum particles appear is when a grinder is brand new, straight out of the package. During the manufacturing process, it's possible that the cutting of the metal left a few shavings behind. The fix? Wash your grinder before you use it.
Also, be on the lookout for wear and tear. When the grinder's teeth are old and worn, it’s possible for the grinder to produce shavings. However, with appropriate upkeep and cleaning, grinders have a tendency to last without any issues. Investing in a more expensive, anodized aluminum grinder can alleviate any stresses associated with heavy use.
- Aluminum is dense. While aluminum has a reputation for being soft, it's still a dense metal. This makes shreds hard to come by if unintentional. For example, many people cut their food with aluminum knives without worry of particles falling off the cutlery and into their food. Similarly, many people use aluminum knives to cut and handle their weed without assigning any additional risk. Aluminum grinders work using the same logic.
- It's extremely difficult to vaporize aluminum. The major concern is that once the shreds of aluminum mix in with the weed, smoking the aluminum is an extreme danger to your health. Here's the good news: you can't really smoke the aluminum anyway.
Essentially, it’s not probable for a regular lighter to heat up the aluminum enough to vaporize it. According to “World Atlas”, the melting point of aluminum is 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit (660.32 degrees Celsius), and the point of vaporization — also known as the boiling point — is 4,566 degrees Fahrenheit (2,519 degrees Celsius).
A handheld lighter would have to work overtime in order to produce that much heat. So, while there might be a chance for aluminum particles to get mixed in with your weed (again, rare), the most likely scenario includes them sitting in the weed in their solid form, unchanged. Inhalation would not happen with an everyday lighter.
Be Wary of Acrylic Grinders
The video in question did, however, pose a valid warning. Grinders made with acrylic do pose safety issues.
Acrylic, which is a type of plastic, is known to have a significantly lower melting point (closer to 320 degrees Fahrenheit/160 degrees Celsius), obtainable by a handheld lighter's reach. Additionally, since these grinders are less dense than metal, they are more vulnerable, which makes them a worse option overall.
When consumed, acrylic poses a threat to the human body. The Ecology Center cites issues of chemical toxicity and endocrine disruption, which has been linked to cancers, immune system suppression, and birth defects. Do not welcome these toxins into your body by using acrylic grinders.
Look into Alternatives
If you’re convinced aluminum grinders may still pose a threat and your nerves simply cannot be tamed, invest in other kinds of grinders made from different types of materials, like wood.