Do joints waste flowers?

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Rolling joints is the most common way but it’s also the easiest and one of the more discrete ways of medicating with cannabis.

However, as times have evolved, so has consuming cannabis and many people started claiming that joints are wasting flowers. The logic behind the claim is that since joint burns between puffs, THC is lost in the air.

But is this really the truth?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: Smoking is a less efficient way to consume cannabis than vaping for example, but the difference is not that big and the reasons vary.

If you want to know more about whether and how smoking joints wastes flowers, continue reading.

So, joints burn and they smoke, which means they do reduce the amount of THC that you get out of it.

In one study in the 90s, researchers identified two factors that contribute to THC loss, academically known as “sidestream smoke” or “pyrolysis”.

When you smoke, two streams of smoke are produced. The first one is what is known as mainstream smoke – that’s the smoke that you suck from a cigarette, blunt, spliff or joint.

You then inhale that smoke and the rest of the smoke, the “sidestream” smoke is the one that lingers in the surrounding air.

Researchers estimate that sidestream smoke can carry away up to 50% of the original THC content of cigarettes. Plus, when you light them, the excessive heat of the flame can destroy up to 30% of available cannabinoids.

So, the conclusion is that, in the best-case scenario, 37% of THC in joints is inhaled as mainstream smoke and the lowest is at around 20%. However, you have to remember that this is not the only factor that affects how much THC your body absorbs.

Since THC enters the lungs a lot of things affect its bioavailability (how much THC enters the bloodstream). Those things include:

    1. 1. Recovery rate

      Recovery rate means how much cannabinoids are being absorbed from a given volume of smoke or vapor.

      One research study from 2019, shows that vaping has a recovery rate of 75% whereas smoking has a recovery rate of 27%. In other words, vaping is way more absorbent than smoking. So, not only do joints burn away more THC but our lungs do not pull the THC as efficiently from smoke as they do from vapor.

    2. 2. Self-Titration

      Self-titration means that you are slowly increasing the dosage size, so you can see what works best for you. This is done by reacting or not reacting to excess cannabinoids in the body itself.

      So, optimizing your cannabis consumption for your ultimate pleasure could be the key to getting the most out of your THC experience and is an important factor in how much THC you get out of your flowers.


    How can I make my flowers last longer then?

    There are two methods to maximize the effects of THC:

    1. Concentrates – this is the most effective way to consume cannabis since they waste the least cannabinoids and no plant is being burnt nor the vapor floats away when you take breaths. But, they are not perfect either – only 54% of available THC evaporates from the leaf.
    2. Bongs – bongs are better than joints according to experience, but there is no research currently to support this claim.


    There is no absolute best way that will get you a 100% absorption of the THC present in your flowers. All ways of consumption will lose a little bit of THC and how much you get out of it also depends on a plethora of factors in your body.

    However, any amount of smoke inhaled in three breaths will make you higher than that same amount smoked in several minutes. So, yes, joints can be a waste, but no method is perfect.

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