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Butane health effects


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#1 johnny_rokkit

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 11:39 PM

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So I was getting a new Bic the other day and I started wondering about the health effects of consistently inhaling concentrated butane in the form of bong hits.  I've heard all about the hakkos and the beeline but I typically choose lighters for convenience.  So, being the chemist that I am, I pulled up the MSDS of butane and after searching a bit I found it's toxicological information and the limits at which toxicity is presented.  I was skeptical if butane really was that hazardous, especially in the small amounts released from a lighter.

This is what I found:

Quote

By inhalation : Negligible hazard at ambient/normal temperatures. Breathing saturated vapours for a
few minutes may be fatal. Saturated vapours can be encountered in confined spaces
and/or under conditions of poor ventilation. May cause irritation, breathing failure,
coma and death without any warning odour being sensed. Avoid breathing vapours,
mists or fumes.

Acute : Butane has very similar properties to Propane, a summary of which follows:
At very high levels, propane has narcotic and asphyxiating properties and cases of “sudden
death” have been documented in which propane and propylene were identified in blood,
urine and cerebrospinal fluid. Animal inhalation studies indicate a gas concentration of
89% to be below the anaesthetic level, but to depress the blood pressure of cats. 1%
propane causes hemodynamic changes in dogs; 3.3% decreased inotropism of the
heart, decreases the mean aortic pressure, stroke volume and cardiac output, and
increases pulmonary vascular resistance. In the primate, 10% propane induces some
myocardial effects, and 20% aggravation of these parameters and respiratory
depression. 10% propane in the mouse and 15% in the dog appear to produce no
arrhythmia but weak cardiac sensitization. Ref: Patty’s Industrial Hygiene and
Toxicology, 3rd Ed, G. Clayton and F. Claytons (ed’s), A Wiley-Interscience Publication,
Vol. IIB. Pp 3181 – 3182

So, I figure the second portion elaborates on the first.  Analogs have shown to begin to exhibit physiological responses at concentrations as low as 1% in some mammals, with 15% showing cardiac effects.  To make a bad thing worse, butane is a gas, especially in the low-pressure environment of a bong.  Butane is also hydrophobic, and thus the water filters a negligible amount.

And since you deeply inhale a hit, it's doubly bad since you are ensuring a large, deep hit of leftover butane vapor.  Chronic exposure can only make the whole thing worse.

This is the reason I'm making the switch to beeline as soon as I can find the stuff.  Further investigation should be done into whether or not a bong hit even can produce the 1% threshold should be done, but I would feel safer not risking it until I know for sure.  I do notice a throat irritation that lingers after I smoke, but I am unsure if this is a result of the butane, a normal fact-of-life from smoking consistently, or is a side effect of one of my many daily pills.  Hopefully removing the butane will help overall.
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#2 chewbakka

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 07:07 AM

You're really onto something there . . . I think we've all wondered just how much butane it takes to be a problem--but after switching to Beeline I can say that I never want to look back!!

If you email them on their website they'll likely send you a few free packs.  At least they did for me.  Happy toking and keep info like this out there, you know Bic and other lighter companies certainly don't want you to know the harmful effects of their products (in some uses). . .

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 01:05 AM

I made the switch to Bee-line a little while ago.  Really improves flavor, for me it also got rid of the throat scratch I would feel after hits.  To really kick it up though get a glass rod.  Almost like vaping, really awesome.  The only way I smoke now.

#4 concentrate lover

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 07:59 PM

I agree you can use vector fluid refined 5x(cons cheapest calibri lighter $20 fliud $6.I saw some kinda lighter $150 us it plugs in wall dosent get to hot under 400 degrees(cons hash sticks to it) the bic blazes@ 1200degrees way too hot.It ur a broke ass dick like me those wooden kitchen matches if u can put up w sulphur smell.I gotta check out bee line never heard of.Edibles are safest way to consume next is a real vaporizer

#5 stanley

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:48 PM

If you are going to try and use science to get to a decision, it might be a good idea to use good science.

First, unless you are forgetting to IGNITE the butane in your BIC when you light your bong...... you are inhaling VERY VERY VERY negligible trace levels of butane.

What you are inhaling is the combustion residue of butane.

If you use Bee line, you are inhaling the combustion residue of the fiber and the wax, if you use paper matches, the chemicals and the paper residue... start to see the trend yet?

If you use a Hakko or other non-combustible source of ignition, then all you are inhaling is the combustion residue of your meds...

The point I am trying to make is that with 50 zillion smokers out in the world using BIC (butane) lighters for the past couple decades I cant recall a SINGLE time someone came out and said  "its the eff'n BUTANE" thats making people sick.

It has been well documented that you get huge DOSE  of hydrocarbons when you fill your gas tank..... want to bet THAT dose is higher than a LIFETIME of BIC lighter use?

So, if you choose to NOT use a BIC,, make it for a REAL reason, not junk science.

Most folks swear they dont like the taste... but I tried a blindfold test at a patient get together....6 people tried to identify what was used to light a bong hit.... 3 hits each.... choice was between a hakko, wooden matches, and a BIC lighter... no one got two out of three right.... they simply couldnt tell. Not exactly a scientific study, admittedly, but if you dare, try it yourself.... results might just surprise you.
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#6 johnny_rokkit

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 11:43 PM

Ahem.  I'm a chemist here. I think I know good science vs bad science.

Butane is a hydrocarbon, but is not completely combusted coming out of a bic, and even a residual amount of butane is amplified if several hits are taken over a short period.  Also, bongs concentrate and increase the volume of vapor to be inhaled, and since butane is a vapor at STP...as I said originally, this is just a hypothesis that requires further testing to see whether or not if a statistically significant amount of butane even can build up in a hit.  My guess is that it does, but testing would need to be done to confirm this.

I realize beeline and other alternate methods also emit byproducts of combustion -- this is obvious -- but the hemp line is emitting burning cannabis matter (the same as the meds themselves) whereas the lighter emits butane vapor.  Butane is a gas at room temperature, and is not filtered by water, however wax is a solid with a much higher freezing/melting point and precipitates out of the smoke readily as it's filtered through cool bongwater.  Hakkos release no fumes, as they do not rely on combustion to create a source of ignition, and therefore all that is inhaled is the pure cannabis smoke.  I chose beeline because of it's ease of use and portability and relative cost.  If I cold afford a Hakko,  would probably get one.

I made the switch to err on the side of caution.  Long-term exposure has unknown effects, so why risk it?  Likewise, it was clearly stated that this was researched in an effort to see if butane really was the cause of my continuing throat irritation.  If the butane doesn't solve the problem, then I will test another possible cause and switch back to butane lighters.

This wasn't based on junk science, and I am sorry you feel that way.  I won't make a post without doing my research, and this one is no different.  You are welcomed to look over the literature and form your own conclusions, and hell, if they are compelling enough, post them here, but don't say that this is based on junk science.


Also, thanks for the tip, Chewbakka!  I emailed beeline and they will be sending me a free sample soon!
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#7 ecxtky

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 12:56 AM

well thanks to all of you for your input. I think I will e-mail bee line and try and getr some samples myself. I would like to know what is a glass rod? well besides the obvious name lol, I would like to know what it looks like and how do you use it? Can anyone post a picture? thanx:hippie:
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#8 stanley

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 08:17 AM

my last post on this thread, I DO NOT mean to start a pissing match, this IS NOT a personal attack.

"Ahem. I'm a chemist here. I think I know good science vs bad science."


OK, Show me some then.


"a residual amount of butane is amplified if several hits are taken over a short period."

Can you give me the names of the studies that show that the absorption of butane by human lung tissue is "amplified" by taking several "hits" in a row. Maybe you mean "additive" which might make sense, but "amplified"??? Really? by what mechanism? You are implying that the rate of absorption is increased by repetition. As far as any data I can find, transport across the membranes of the lungs at the vapor pressures encountered in the lungs is a pretty straight line function.


"Also, bongs concentrate and increase the volume of vapor to be inhaled"

Again, please show or name any studies that confirm that a bong either concentrates or increases the volume of vapor to be inhaled....  Again, REALLY??? You inhale thru a glass tube, and it MAGICALLY INCREASES the VOLUME of vapor... even after condensing out part of the combustion vapors....Neat trick, but it defies the laws of physics. Which is it by the way, concentration (which would REDUCE VOLUME) or increased volume? How can it be both?


"but the hemp line is emitting burning cannabis matter (the same as the meds themselves) whereas the lighter emits butane vapor."

You are a chemist, surely you know that the combustion by-products from cellulose plant materials are remarkably similar regardless of what plant is burning, be it pine, oak, wheat, rice or "hemp"... go burn a hemp rope and examine the combustion by-products... compare and contrast those by-products with the combustion by-products of butane. You will discover that the particulates and soot from burning plant material is significantly more abundant than in even poorly combusted butane. As far as I can find, by any qualitative or quantitative analysis, plant material produces more combustion by products than butane. I have not however found any studies comparing the toxicity of those by products.


Further, OSHA has established the Time Weighted Average SAFE exposure levels for WORKERS PRODUCING AND PACKAGING BUTANE PRODUCTS at or below 600ppm for EIGHT hours before noting any detrimental health effects. Yeah, breathe an AVERAGE of 600 parts per million butane for EIGHT STRAIGHT HOURS and you will have physiological effects (changes in heart rate, blood pressure, etc) . Otherwise, not so much. I would feel pretty comfortable with the assumption that workers PRODUCING AND PACKAGING butane products would receive a higher exposure than a consumer.

You are a chemist, but you dont even mention the most toxic chemical in a BIC lighter, the methyl mercaptans.

Like I said, DECADES of folks have used butane lighters now. There has been PLENTY of time and PLENTY users to disclose any long term health risks... How many BILLION BIC lighters (and knock-offs) do you suppose have been used?


By the way, you probably can afford a Hakko, a Hakko costs about $25-30. I dont use one because I am a T-Total clutz and would burn my house down in short order if I kept a red hot heating element around me.... Obviously, my more graceful brothers and sisters out there have different (and better) results.


"I made the switch to err on the side of caution. Long-term exposure has unknown effects, so why risk it? Likewise, it was clearly stated that this was researched in an effort to see if butane really was the cause of my continuing throat irritation. If the butane doesn't solve the problem, then I will test another possible cause and switch back to butane lighters."



And I applaud you for making an effort to use your medicine in a more effective and safe manner. I hope you find a solution to your issues.


"This wasn't based on junk science, and I am sorry you feel that way. I won't make a post without doing my research, and this one is no different. You are welcomed to look over the literature and form your own conclusions, and hell, if they are compelling enough, post them here, but don't say that this is based on junk science."

OK, maybe "junk science" was a poor choice of words. How about a poor implementation of the scientific method. The data is out there, and your science background and training SHOULD have taught you that making data fit a pre-conceived hypothesis is not good science. Data should lead you , you shouldnt lead the data.

I feel like someone with your technical training and background is kind of duty bound to be very careful in what you put on a board like this where the average community member will not have the technical background to evaluate your statements. Your hypothesis does not appear to me to be well based in the available literature.
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#9 lwien

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 08:25 AM

Butane that has been ignited poses VERY LITTLE threat.   What poses more of a threat is the toxins that you take in when burning plant material, regardless of the ignition method, so if you are REALLY concerned about your health, quit smoking and get a vape.

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 08:34 AM

Sorry Stanley.......but I respectfully DISAGREE !!  I am 100 % positive, that I can tell the taste diff between using my Hakko, using beeline & a Bic.

I use a hakko every day, could not imagine medicating @ home without it. Best taste.
first time I used it...I was in awe. I could taste all the subtle nuances of each flower.
This is fact.  :punkrock:

On the go....I use only Beeline. Just wrap it around my lighter real tight & lite it up when ready for a bowl. Not as good as Hakko, but soooo much better than a bic. YES, you CAN taste the diff.

I would love to take your blind taste test.....I am sure it would be simple to confirm.
Best wishes & remember ...." Once you go Hakko, you will never go back " !! :thumb:

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#11 sugarfoot

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 09:11 AM

hiya,

I never thought about the butane effect .......nice info.....

later
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#12 sugarfoot

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 09:13 AM

Hiya,

Good topic for harm reduction.....Look in Stone soup!

later
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#13 sugarfoot

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 09:16 AM

Hiya,

Good topic for harm reduction.....Look in Stone soup!

later
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#14 Roezcko_one

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 09:28 AM

i agree with stanely. people have bein using lighters in bongs for years. I think the major health issue is the resin build up. people have dirty bongs with moldy water because theres plant matter sitting in water and there to lazy to change it. maybee the resin in the downstem absorbs the butane vapor. maybee im retarted i dunno haha.
anyway blaze it!

#15 Dr.Seuscio

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:57 AM

I have Equipped all  my pipes with a Bee Line Spool

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#16 johnny_rokkit

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 02:08 PM

mmm... nice bong and definitely some good-looking little girls you've got set up there!

Either way, no pissing match was meant to be started.  I was just stating that some research should be done, not that I have done it all. Now you have done more research, and it is arguable, if not probable, that the danger from butane is negligible, as you have demonstrated.  Thank you for your input.
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#17 stanley

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 04:57 PM

STEVE-O said:

Sorry Stanley.......but I respectfully DISAGREE !!  I am 100 % positive, that I can tell the taste diff between using my Hakko, using beeline & a Bic.

..............

I would love to take your blind taste test.....I am sure it would be simple to confirm.
Best wishes & remember ...." Once you go Hakko, you will never go back " !! :thumb:

STEVE-O

I want to make something really clear here. johnny_rokkit is doing EXACTLY what we should all DO.... He is examining his use of his medicine, and trying, in a systematic, orderly way to learn everything he can about how to get the most HEALTHFUL benefit from his meds...

And that is nothing but being a smart patient and consumer.


Regarding my "taste test" as I said, my test was far from "scientific"... for all I know my six patient friends couldnt taste the difference between a dill pickle and vanilla ice cream...:twitch:

But that night, those six folks didnt get two out of three right... and they were pretty sure they could.... not one of them guessed correctly twice... one of the guys got all three wrong....

we blindfolded them, then loaded the bong.... lit a match, and flicked the BIC so the toker couldnt tell by sound how his/her bowl was ignited...

But in the long run the ONLY thing that matters is how YOU feel about it.

As far as I have been able to determine... and I make no claims to have the Definitive answers.... it appears that the only place or time butane may ... and I stress the word may ... have a measurable, potential health impact is in butane extracts that are poorly made, or those made with impure butane... Again, there is VERY little actual data, but it appears that the mechanism is there to allow for concentration of some of the impurities in the extract... I know of no actual studies on these health impacts, these are "off-label" uses for these chemicals, so the MSDS sheets (Material Safety Data Sheets) dont accurately express the chemical toxicity under these specific circumstances... In other food and drug manufacturing processes that do use butane, they use a chemically pure butane (either n-butane or iso butane) that has no additives...

If you smell "butane" in your extracts, or taste it... you are actually smelling or tasting the impurities in butane... Pure butane is odorless, and tasteless. One of the chemicals they add to make it smell is methyl mercaptan. The health risks from the trace impurities are not well documented.
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#18 ecxtky

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 10:10 PM

I applaude those that decide to use their medicine in more safe and green way. Props to ya!:hippie: We should all be proactive with mmj, education isn't a privilige or commodity... is a choice. I choose to learn as much possible about the herb and its many uses. Including hemp products, even though I will never fabricate anything of that sort. However it feels good to educate people everywhere I go about the many uses and benefits of mj. I did not know about beeline or hakkos, I learned about that in this forum. I like that and I agree about this info sharing. As far as butane, I don't need junk science or real science to tell me that it taste disgusting after I take a hit of bud with my lighter. I hate it and as soon as I can get a hakkos I will! Butane leaves a raspy feeling in my throat and it also gives me a feeling like if I had a lot of gas... Yeah I said gas :painkiller:
Anyway the point is lighters suck and we all know it!
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#19 johnny_rokkit

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 11:28 PM

I got my beeline in the mail Saturday, and I have been smoking with it somewhat consistently since last night.  I have noticed several things:

1) Using beeline has almost eliminated the minor throat irritation I would feel after smoking with butane.  I still have a slight cough, so it's gonna be a tolerance break for me pretty soon.  But, eliminating the butane did alleviate the sore-throat feeling I would have for a while after smoking.

2) Beeline is not convenient nor efficient.  I must be using around 1 inch per hit, which seems like a lot (seeing how a lighter lasts several hundred hits, I don't see how a pack of beeline can light over 150).  Also, this is NOT a "safe" method if you are clumsy, as the line stays lit until you pinch it out and can burn fingers and clothing easier than a lighter, given the chance.  Also, this stuff burns into a white ash residue, which has a tendency to get everywhere.  It also smells like a burning candle when you put it out.  It needs another ignition source, it is not as easy to use as a lighter, and it doesn't end the dependence on lighters or matches.  Overall, lighters are superior as far as convenience and efficiency go, and beeline by no means replaces a lighter.

3) The flavor benefit is arguable.  After smoking with beeline for a day, I took a quick hit with butane and I could notice the difference.  The butane is more of a slight sensation than a taste, like a chloraseptic numbing in the back of the throat, combined with a faint "natural gas" smell.  I couldn't tell the difference by much, and it's faint enough that someone could easily miss it, especially with a stronger herb.

4) Beeline lights the herb far better than butane.  I have consistently gotten then cherry quicker and more even with the beeline than with butane.  I suspect it is because I can really get the burning beeline up against the herb and can pinpoint the heat to where I want it.  It is also much easier to take a large hit or several consecutive hits because it stays lit and you don't need to worry about lighter failure halfway into a hit.

II will probably make it my primary fire at home and indoors.  Outside, this stuff is easily extinguished by a breeze, and is hard to even light initially if there is wind.  It's not as portable and it is a little more tricky to use than a simple Bic.  I am pleased, though, and will probably buy some when I can get to a place that sells spools.
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#20 fcukbear

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 02:31 PM

Ouch.. here I was thinking I should probably switch to Butane for a cleaner hit too!


"Chance of Sudden Death" is the reason I moved off of pharma products for my anxiety and ADD and went to MMJ.

Side effects like that seem kind of couter-productive.

I prefer the current MMJ side effects (desire for a full tummy, napping, etc.)

#21 In_Hollywood

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:25 PM

Hmmm? I wonder, now, about the Hash (Hemp) Oil I got recently that cost me $30. (a gram?) that is Propane based (made with that) . . . should I smoke it or eat a rice-grain size of it (Rick Simpson's way)???? Now am concerned about the issue of health!!!  Comments/ideas???  =Judy=
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#22 fcukbear

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Posted 13 May 2009 - 03:29 PM

In_Hollywood said:

Hmmm? I wonder, now, about the Hash (Hemp) Oil I got recently that cost me $30. (a gram?) that is Propane based (made with that) . . . should I smoke it or eat a rice-grain size of it (Rick Simpson's way)???? Now am concerned about the issue of health!!!  Comments/ideas???  =Judy=
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Being scientifically-minded, I suggest you send me this sample so that I can determine a proper course of action. :heh:

#23 Weezel

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 03:40 PM

I never really paid attention to how I shmoke my material...I've thought about it..used beeline and what not other smoking devices..There kooL and alL..but
I been using lighters for alL these years...Im stilL here, alive!!! i think imma keep on using em ;)

#24 the W.E.E.D.

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 03:50 PM

Bee Line nice..



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#25 kennabis

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 04:06 PM

the W.E.E.D. said:

Bee Line nice..

hakko better..!!!:thumbup:
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