Aluminum foil pipes are commonly used for smoking marijuana or in emergency situations when another pipe is not available or affordable. However, these must be used with caution. Foil pipes are safe for only one or two uses. Over time, they can degrade and become hazardous to your health (though if the crater is small enough for vaping instead of smoking, high burning temperatures are avoided and relative safety achieved). If only using temporarily, however, they’re a great item to have when you’re in a pinch.
Get a large square of foil. Take a 12″ square piece of tin or aluminum foil (wording varies by region). This should be clean and not degraded by water contact. You will also want to keep it as smooth as possible. Fold it in half. Fold the square of foil in half, being careful to keep the foil free of wrinkles and tears. Fold it in half again. You will have a square, roughly 6″ wide, that is 4 layers thick. The thickness will help keep the pipe from overheating and also make it strong enough so that it isn’t crumpled the first time it’s used. Create a cone. Roll the square into a tube that is slightly flared at one end (like a very narrow cone). The narrow end will be the end you will smoke from. If you want to, use a pencil or barrel of a pen to roll the foil around at the point. This will keep the tube open and give you a nice round opening to smoke out of. Find the beginning of the bowl. Measure 1″ down from the wider end of the tube. This is the “bowl” end of the pipe. Create the bowl. Using a credit card, make a sharp crease at the 1″ mark and bend the end up to form the bowl. Be careful not to crumple the tube when you do this. Keeping the pencil in the tube can help. Add the smokeable material. Insert smoking material of your choice into bowl. You may or may not way to add an aluminum filter before adding in the material.
- You can make a quick filter to hold the material in place by taking a very small square, poking hold in it with a needle, and then covering the entrance to the stem of the pipe with it.
Light it. Apply fire to it and suck out of the other end. Use it just like you’d use any other pipe but remember not to reuse it.
The dangers of using tin foil to smoke drugs
Using foil or other aluminum-based products to smoke drugs has been linked to several adverse health effects such as burns, exposure to additional toxins, and even cognitive impairment. Foil adds even more danger to already dangerous drugs.
In pursuit of the next fix or high, some individuals go to great lengths to be able to use a drug, including fashioning tin foil (aluminum foil) into a smoking apparatus. Smoking a drug this way can make an already dangerous practice even riskier.
Drug abuse, regardless of the drug of choice or method of administration, exposes an individual to health risks. Smoking drugs out of tin foil add yet another risk to those already linked to each individual drug of abuse.
Risks of using tin foil to smoke drugs
Though using foil may make smoking a particular drug more risky, the majority of dangers are specific to the drug of abuse. Smoking any drug can lead to short- and long-term adverse health effects, including addiction and overdose.
Some reports claim that smoking from aluminum foil may result in headaches and a more pronounced cough. Aluminum foil is so thin that, when heated, the individual’s fingers and lips have little protection from the heat source, leading some to experience burns.
Smoking a drug on foil exposes the user to substance-specific toxins, some which may be linked to the foil itself. Prescription pills quite often contain chemical binders and filler agents which may be harmful when heated and inhaled. Many street drugs contain additives which present these same issues.
It’s also reported that processed aluminum foil is coated with food-grade oils, which may be toxic when inhaled. Certain types of foil have special coatings added to them to make them non-stick, substances which may also increase this toxic exposure.
Some research suggests that aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. If this is the case, while it’s not completely clear to what extent smoking with foil exposes a person to this risk, it’s a possibility worth considering. Many drugs cause cognitive impairment, and some which are smoked this way, like benzodiazepines, have themselves been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Patterns of drug seeking and using can point to a substance use disorder, especially when a person becomes consumed by finding and using the drug. If a person is resorting to using tin foil to smoke drugs, their drug use may have become compulsive.
Dangers of smoking drugs
Smoking a drug can cause a variety of adverse health effects, chief of which are lung problems, though other critical organs may also suffer. When a person smokes a drug they draw the substance into their lungs which exposes this life-sustaining organ to exceptionally hot smoke and a variety of toxins. Smoking drugs can cause effects ranging from irritation to serious medical conditions.
Lung irritation can lead to coughing, increased mucus production, wheezing, and hoarseness. Smoking a drug may also lead to inflammation of the lung tissue, lung or pulmonary infections, asthma, and even pneumonia. The specific risks and dangers vary from drug to drug, though smoking certain drugs hit users harder than others.
Nursing Times reports that “Crack cocaine smoking results in acute lung injury, including asthma, which may be acute, severe and occasionally fatal.” Smoking crack has also been linked to “crack lung,” a serious and sometimes fatal condition.
Smoking heroin increases the risk of addiction due to the way it allows the drug to reach an individual’s brain faster. Heroin abusers may think that by refraining from injecting the drug they are protecting themselves from the risk of transmissible diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C. This is not true.
Smoking heroin (or other drugs) can decrease a person’s inhibitions and ability to practice sound judgment, leading some individuals to engage in unsafe sexual practices or other behaviors which could place them at risk of contracting infectious diseases.
While smoking methamphetamine damages a person’s lungs, it also creates other serious physical and mental health effects. Meth can push a person’s mind into a state of upheaval, creating bouts of aggression, rage, and paranoia. It can also lead to severe dental problems, skin lesions, and weight loss.
In general, substance abuse can cause a variety of adverse health effects, both physical and mental, including the development of serious illness and disease.
As a person continues to smoke a drug they could form a physical dependency and become addicted. Many of the drugs which are smoked this way, like cocaine, heroin, and meth, are highly addictive. These patterns of abuse can cause a person to lose control of their life, circumstances which can destroy a person’s relationship, career, and other important aspects of their life.