Cannabis accessories for inhalation: Minimizing your risk when smoking, vaping and dabbing

Cannabis accessories for inhalation - [Version PDF format, 501 KB]

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Cannabis is most commonly consumed through smoking, although vaping and dabbing are also common ways of consuming cannabis. This page focuses on cannabis accessories used for inhalation and how to lower risks associated with the use of these accessories. For more information on the general risks of cannabis use on your health, refer to Health effects of cannabis.

A cannabis accessory is a thing or device that’s used in the consumption of cannabis. This includes rolling papers or wraps, pipes, water pipes (bongs), vapes and dab rigs.

Health risks and minimizing your risk


Smoking refers to the inhalation of smoke produced by burning cannabis. It’s the most common method of consuming cannabis and the most harmful one. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals as tobacco smoke, including carcinogens (substance capable of causing cancer). Cannabis smoking has been associated with increased risks of:

Smoking accessories

Rolling papers

Joints or blunts are usually made with dried cannabis that has been rolled in a burnable “rolling” paper. These rolling papers are thin and made from natural materials like bamboo or hemp.

To minimize your risk when smoking a joint or a blunt, avoid sharing them to prevent spreading diseases or infections. Also, make sure to buy the papers or pre-rolled joints from authorized retailers. Non-regulated rolling papers can contain contaminants such as:

Example of a joint
Cannabis leaf and joint

Pipes are a reusable accessory used to smoke cannabis. Cannabis is burned in the bowl of the pipe and the smoke stays in the pipe to be inhaled. There are different types of pipes:

With water pipes, the water can lower the temperature of the smoke and help filter some of the harmful substances in the smoke. However, this doesn’t make pipe smoking safe. Research has shown that water pipes can produce greater levels of second-hand smoke than tobacco cigarettes. The risk of being affected by second-hand smoke is also higher for those smoking indoors.Footnote 1

Minimize your risk when using a pipe.

Example of a hand pipe
Cannabis leaf and hand pipe
Example of a water pipe (bong)
Water pipe with a cannabis leaf on it


Vaping is the inhalation of an aerosol produced by heating a liquid or solid cannabis extract inside a vaping accessory.

The aerosol generated from cannabis vaping has been shown to contain harmful substances.Footnote 2 Also, contaminants such as heavy metals may leach into the cannabis extract and be inhaled in the aerosol.Footnote 3Footnote 4 Although vaping cannabis has its own risks, it's less harmful for your lungs than smoking cannabis.

Vaping accessories

Vaping accessories consist of a:

Different examples of vaping accessories include:

Vaping accessories have been known to malfunction, and in rare cases, these malfunctions have resulted in injury.

Minimize your risk when using a vaping accessory.

Example of an e-liquid vaporizer
Vape with a cannabis leaf on it


Dabbing is the inhalation of an aerosol generated by high temperature vaporization of a solid or semi-solid cannabis extract (a dab) with a dabbing accessory.

Dabbing accessories

Dab rigs

A dab rig is an accessory that’s usually made of glass. It features four parts:

The nail is a small compartment where the cannabis extract is heated with a torch or a heated element.

Dab rigs are used with highly concentrated cannabis extracts such as:

Minimize your risk when using a dab rig.

Example of a dab rig
Dab rig with a cannabis leaf on it

Dab pens (concentrate vaporizer)

Dab pens differ from vaping accessories because they melt solid and semi-solid extracts rather than liquids or oil. The pen features a chamber, a battery and a mouthpiece. Because they use heat to melt extracts, they’re often covered in steel to protect the user from high internal temperatures.

Minimize your risk when using a dab pen.

Example of a dab pen
Dab pen with a cannabis leaf

Report a side effect or problem

If you experience side effects when using cannabis, you're encouraged to report them to indicate if there’s an issue with a cannabis product.

To report a problem with a cannabis vaping accessory from an authorized retailer, submit a reporting form. Your report can help make these products safer for all Canadians.

Related links

The most effective way to avoid the risks of cannabis use is to abstain from use. If you choose to consume cannabis, refer to the resources below to learn how to minimize your risk.

Cannabis resource series


Footnote 1

Nguyen PK, Hammond SK. Fine Particulate Matter Exposure From Secondhand Cannabis Bong Smoking. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(3):e224744. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.4744

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Meehan-Atrash J, Luo W, McWhirter KJ, Strongin RM. Aerosol Gas-Phase Components from Cannabis E-Cigarettes and Dabbing: Mechanistic Insight and Quantitative Risk Analysis. ACS Omega. 2019 Sep 16;4(14):16111-16120. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.9b02301. PMID: 31592479; PMCID: PMC6777088.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Meehan-Atrash J, Rahman I. Cannabis Vaping: Existing and Emerging Modalities, Chemistry, and Pulmonary Toxicology. Chem Res Toxicol. 2021;34(10):2169-2179. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrestox.1c00290

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

McDaniel C, Mallampati SR, Wise A. Metals in Cannabis Vaporizer Aerosols: Sources, Possible Mechanisms, and Exposure Profiles. Chem Res Toxicol. 2021 Nov 15;34(11):2331-2342. doi: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.1c00230. Epub 2021 Oct 27. PMID: 34705462.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

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