You’re chilling with some friends. Good music, good weed, good times. For some reason, the talk turns to the “good old days” when you had to hide in the woods or a basement to smoke up.
You usually had trouble finding a decent flower; more often than not, you settled for cheap schwag. You certainly didn’t have a vaporizer or even a bong; you either managed to get your hands on some rolling papers or used a banged-up bowl you stole from a sibling.
And there were times when you might have had some pot but didn’t have anything to smoke it out of. That’s when you had to get inventive.
An apple pipe? A gravity bong? Tissue paper? Been there, done that — even if at least one of the experiments was a huge fail. (We’ll discuss all of those later on.)
But one of your friends mentions a smoking method you hadn’t heard of before: smoking weed out of a can.
If that made you curious, here’s how you do it. Spoiler: it’s not a very good idea, even though it works.
How to Smoke Weed Out of a Can
The can we’re talking about here is a soda can. (If it’s not empty, take care of that small detail first.) Turning that can into a DIY pipe only takes a minute or two and just requires a couple of items you certainly have around the house.
Let’s make a pipe.
- Make sure the can is clean and completely dry.
- Make a relatively-small indentation in the side of the can. You can use your hands or tap them gently on something hard like a table. (Or you can pretend you’re Bluto trying to cheer up Flounder in Animal House and use your head.)
- Find a needle or pin, and make a few tiny holes in the middle of the indentation.
- Use a knife or screwdriver to make a bigger hole on the opposite side of the can. It should still be small enough that your thumb can fully cover it.
Now you’re ready to smoke. You’ll put your weed in the indentation on the tiny holes. You’ll use the bigger hole as a carb. And you’ll inhale the smoke that builds up in the can through the opening at the top. That’s it — light up and blast off!
Smoking weed out of a can certainly isn’t optimal. But there are also very good reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
The can is made from aluminum, which can theoretically irritate the respiratory system and cause flu-like symptoms when it’s inhaled in the form of dust. That’s unlikely to happen, but it’s possible.
The bigger problems can be caused by what’s outside and inside the can. The inner lining of soda cans is made from polymers, a mix of plastics that may contain carcinogenic BPAs . The paint on the outside also contains plastic compounds, which could be hazardous. And generally speaking, studies have shown that inhaling plastic fumes can have negative effects on pulmonary function .
You probably won’t be destroying your lungs if you take a few hits from a soda can pipe — in the interest of science, of course. Making a regular thing of it, though, isn’t advisable.
What about some of those other methods that came up in the discussion of makeshift smoking devices? It turns out that some are better than others.
Ways to Smoke Weed When You’re Desperate
Water or Soda Bottles
You already know what we’re going to say, right? Those bottles are made from plastic, so you might want to find other alternatives. But again, for the sake of science, here are two different ways to do it.
The first method is almost identical to our can pipe. You poke a hole near the bottom of the bottle to be used as the mouthpiece. You wrap a small piece of aluminum foil around the mouth of the bottle and poke a few tiny holes in it. The foil is the bowl where you’ll put your weed; once you light it, the smoke builds up in the bottle, and you inhale it through the mouthpiece.
For the second method, called a gravity bong, you’ll want to use a two-liter bottle. Cut off the bottom half of the bottle, and submerge it into a bucket or large bowl of water. Poke a few holes in the bottle cap and flip it over to be used as a bowl on top of the bottle’s mouth. Fire up the herb and slowly lift the bottle most of the way out of the water. Smoke will fill up the bottle, and once you remove the bottle cap/bowl from the top, you can enjoy it all.
Remember our cautions, though. If you’re going to try this, don’t make it a habit.
An Apple Pipe
Not only is this one free of potential hazards, but it can also add a slightly-sweet taste to your weed. To make a pipe from an apple, all you’ll need is tin foil and something that can make tunnels in the fruit. A screwdriver or pen will work just fine.
Make one tunnel from the stem to the middle of the apple and another that starts on the side and connects with the first tunnel at a 90° angle. Fit a small piece of foil into the first opening at the top, poke a few tiny holes in it (hopefully, you still have that needle or pin around), and put your bud into the foil. Spark up, and inhale through the side hole. Pro tip: creating another connecting tunnel from the opposite side of the apple will give you carbs and produce more satisfying hits.
Other fruits or vegetables can be used if you’ve already eaten your apple a day. Round melons, squash, pears will work almost as well — and some people even use jalapeno peppers. If you’re willing to give that one a try, you’re braver than we are.
Smoking Weed Out of a Can FAQ
Q: Isn’t there a way to use two cans to make a water pipe?
A: Yes, and it’s similar to making the gravity bong we described earlier. The two cans are taped together to make a chamber that’s partly filled with water; a mouthpiece is used to hold the weed, and it’s then removed to inhale the smoke that fills the chamber. Just remember: two cans mean twice the possible health risk from aluminum and plastic.
Q: Which one of the methods you mentioned was a huge fail?
A: The toilet paper. It’s difficult to roll, and it burns so fast that you’ll waste most of your flower, and it contains hazardous chemicals. While we’re on the subject, most “substitutes” for rolling papers won’t work well and contain potentially dangerous chemicals you don’t want to inhale. Once you’ve removed the foil, the only surefire replacement for papers is a gum wrapper.
Q: Won’t smoking weed out of a can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease?
A: That one is an urban legend. In the 1960s and 70s, aluminum was suspected of causing Alzheimer’s, but studies since then have never found any link between aluminum and the disease.