Ask Mama: How to Light a Joint Without Those Nasty Lighter Chemicals

Published on December 21, 2022

how to light a joint

Look, Mama doesn’t need to remind you that life is hard. Whether it’s work, relationships, family (NOT your wonderful gorilla mom), or, ya know, The World™, that fat blunt at the end of the day is very often a light at the end of the tunnel. 

There’s nothing wrong with lighting up the fast and easy way, but sometimes life — and especially good weed — is meant to be savored, to be enjoyed in the finest, purest, most undiluted way possible. And when you’re ready to embrace those moments, ditching your Bic for something a little more meticulous can truly bring your smoke to a whole new level. 

The Problem with Lighters ☠️

Mama’s not going to lie and say that smoking is good for your lungs, but even the big brains at Harvard will tell you that cannabis packs a lot of potential health benefits (can’t say the same for cigs, sorry ya’ll). Using a regular-assed 7-11 lighter isn’t going to zap those benefits out of your weed, but all Mama’s asking is: why introduce more bad stuff into your body when you don’t have to?

The thing is, that little lighter in your pocket makes a flame with butane, and butane is a class 33 solvent — which, scientifically speaking, is bad. Basically, that means it has low toxic potential for humans (and probably monkeys), and in large amounts can even f**k up your central nervous system, cause headaches, or make you dizzy or drowsy. While just lighting a joint with a small lighter isn’t likely to cause these effects, butane is also an allergen to some.

Beyond that, you’re still introducing trace amounts of solvents into your body, not to mention adding an impurity and an odorant to your weed, which can noticeably change the taste and the smoking experience for the worse. Once you notice that whiff of lighter fluid in your bud, you can’t un-taste it.

Alternative Options✨💨

Thankfully, people have been smoking ganja since waaaaaaay before Zippos even existed, so there’s plenty of hope for your lungs and your smoking experience. Here’s how to light a blunt a bunch of different ways, all of which are totally sans butane.

What About Matches?

Yes, matches might make you feel like a 1940s movie star (or maybe like your grandpa), but just because they’re old-school doesn’t mean they’re pure. First off, matches contain sulfur, and that sulfur can straight-up make your weed taste like, ya know, f**king sulfur. They also contain chemicals like phosphorus and potassium chlorate to make their flame. So not ideal, but if you absolutely gotta use a match, let it burn for a few seconds before lighting up to let at least some of those chemicals burn away first.

Hemp Wick

Using a hemp wick — a thick, hemp-woven wick coated in beeswax — is de facto the most friend-impressing, chemical-busting, purest way to light up your blunt without putting nasty shit into your lungs or making your zaza taste like kissing a gas grill. 

Whether you’re smoking a joint, pipe, or bong, it all works the same. You can light one end of the wick using whatever flame option you want, use the lit end of the wick to light your fatty, then put out the flame (just mind the wax drip). That’s no butane for you, and all the flavor of your flower fully intact.

Fuel-free Options

You’ll see a lot of these fancier lighters under labels like “flame-free” or “windproof” (another handy perk), but what you’re looking for is basically the same thing: these are lighters that use electricity to make a heating element hot enough to light your joint. For instance, many fuel-free lighters use electricity to make a tiny spark that heats up plasma coils. Bingo, your blunt is lit butane-free. 

And while some vapes use butane, an electric vape works in a similar fashion to these fuel-free lighters. You can even literally get bongs heated by lasers in this golden age of weed we live in. Not only does that get rid of nasty chemical flavors and impurities, it just feels incredibly cool to invite your friends for a hit on your LASER BONG.  ⚡⚡ 

Tough Mama’s Tips: How to Light a Joint 🔥🍃

OK, you know how to light a joint. But now Mama’s gonna tell you how to really light a joint when you’re ready to get serious about it. In addition to using a butane-free method, there’s a proper technique to lighting a jay that’ll make for a more even, long-lasting burn and can prevent your blunt from canoeing (which is when the top half of the joint burns lengthwise, but the bottom half doesn’t). It’s all about that cherry, baby. 🍒

  1. Start with a tightly rolled joint to avoid canoeing — don’t worry, Mama’s already pre-rolled some for you.
  2. Hold the joint near its bottom between your thumb and index finger. That’s right, not in your mouth.
  3. Slowly introduce the flame to the tip of the blunt.
  4. Just as slowly, rotate the joint over the flame until you’ve created a nice, even cherry.
  5. Take a few short puffs to make sure the cherry is hot and strong (just like you).
  6. Get high & have some fun.

The Bottom Line


Mama’s not here to shame you for convenience, or cheapness for that matter. Weed is all about variety, from Blue Roses to Chemical Cookies, from electric vapes to glass pipes, from gummies to tinctures, and from indica to sativa. 

But when you’ve got the time and the drive, lighting up with care can elevate your sensory experience from your first puff to your last long drag. So don’t forget to stop and smell the roses flower every once in a while.

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