Ionizers – Ionizers apply an electric charge to particles that pass through it, causing them to settle out of the air. But this process produces ozone, which means they have the same drawbacks as ozone generators. Ionizers are also ineffective against VOCs, so they will not remove gaseous pollutants from weed smoke, plus they produce limited airflow resulting in low filtration effectiveness.
Carbon filters – These filters use activated charcoal to remove VOCs from the air. The many crevices inside the carbon contain spaces where VOC molecules can become attached, like a lock fitting into a keyhole. This process is known as “adsorption” and can effectively remove VOCs and odors from the air. But the problem with carbon air purifiers is that they eventually become less efficient as the carbon “fills up” with VOC molecules. Eventually, the filter will not only stop working, but also begin emitting those same toxic compounds back into the air. Therefore, they need to be replaced frequently. Carbon filters cannot filter certain compounds, like carbon monoxide and other types of gases. Finally, carbon filters do not capture any particulate pollutants whatsoever.
However, smoking pot has some unfortunate drawbacks. Much like tobacco smoke, weed smoke contains several different types of pollutants that can affect your indoor air quality. These toxins and particulates can have a negative effect on both the smoker and anyone who inhales second-hand smoke. Moreover, even if you do not mind the smell of weed smoke, you probably would not want that smell to linger in your house.
HEPA – HEPA filters are designed to remove 99.97 percent of all particles of 0.3 microns in size, therefore they are acceptable for removing particulate matter from the air, though no filter can remove all of it. However, they do not remove VOCs or odors, which is composes a large part of weed smoke. If the filter is not changed often enough, it can even become a source of odors.
Clearing the air in your home of smoke, smell and toxins can be a challenge, especially for heavy users. Fortunately, you can remove such pollutants with an air purifier, and there are a number of technologies that claim to help, with varying degrees of success. But which one will most effectively remove weed smoke from your home? To determine this, it is useful to understand both the composition of marijuana smoke and how different air purification technologies work to remove it.
There is some evidence that marijuana smoke is associated with greater cancer risk, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency. Although weed smoke has not been definitively linked to cancer, the bad news is that it is still likely to be harmful to your health and anyone else in your home who inhales it secondhand. A study in the European Respiratory Journal found that lung cancer risk increases eight percent for every year in which a person smokes a joint on a daily basis (even if a year’s worth of smoking is spread out across multiple years) (Aldington et al, 2008). Though weed smoke does not contain nicotine, it does contain similar carcinogens to tobacco smoke. The researchers noted that, “Cannabis smoke is qualitatively similar to tobacco smoke, although it contains up to twice the concentration of the carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons.”
Only some air purifiers are capable of handling both particulate and gaseous pollutants, and while some might remove pollutants, they can still generate harmful substances themselves. Here are some current air purification technologies, ranked from worst to best, for removing weed smoke from the air.
People have been smoking marijuana under the radar for decades, but the legalization of weed for both medical use (in 33 states) and recreational use (in Canada and 10 U.S. states) means it is much more common and mainstream than it was even as recently as five years ago.
The pollutants in weed smoke take two forms: particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The particulate matter in smoke can be both solid and liquid, and some of the particles are microscopic. Because marijuana tends to have a higher water content than tobacco, liquid particles tend to be in weed smoke. These tiny particles can be inhaled and lodge deep within your lungs, and if they build up over time they may impair lung function according to the American Lung Association.
Find information on different air purifier technologies, how they handle weed smoke, and which is the best for your home.