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Ultimate Guide To Marijuana Smoking Equipment – Bongs, Pipes, Vapes & Beyond

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One of the most important things in the smoking process is the means of delivery or consumption. Of all the available ways of consuming marijuana, smoking has to be one of the most common ones. It’s hit is instant and highly potent, being one of the simple ways of getting the active ingredients shoot right into the brain. Since marijuana is heat-activated, the lung linings quickly absorb the smoke and introduce it right to the bloodstream. Effective, right? But smoking will require equipment. Let us detail out an overview of the various tools used for smoking. 

 

Joints

Their mechanism is pretty straightforward; they are simple to make, majorly with rolling papers. In here, the herb gets rolled in a paper and may contain a varied assortment  of plants, but when made with cannabis, it becomes a cannabis cigarette.  For the average smoker though, It will mostly contain weed and probably tobacco, known as spliff, for those who prefer combined effects of both cannabis and nicotine. A blunt on the other hand is a joint that has been made with dark, heavy tobacco papers. However, many health-conscious cannabis consumers may stay away from including tobacco for medical risks. To make it even easier, you can also use a smoking rolling machine, or buy pre-rolls or ready-made-joints in shops.

Things Needed for Rolling a Joint

There are a few essentials required to make a joint. You will obviously need your favourite cannabis strain in the quantity you want, which typically is about a third of a gram. A grinder may come useful to pull apart your bud evenly. The next thing necessary is of course the rolling paper of your choice. There is a good bunch of options available in the market, like unbleached paper and hemp. Get a filter or a crutch, or just make your own with a thick piece of paper and that’s all you need in the arsenal to roll a perfect joint.

 How to Roll a Joint

  • You can use a grinder to evenly break apart the flower. Since a grinder guarantees a stable consistency throughout, the smoke becomes refined and evened out. If you don’t want to deal with a grinder, use your fingers to pick the bud apart. Try making the pieces have approximately the same size, and to reduce damage to the cannabis’ trichomes, work gently.
  • Get a pre-made crutch from any smoke shop which will act as the mouthpiece from where you inhale. It offers stability to the joint, encourages airflow through a joint and also minimizes the likelihood of getting your lips burnt or inhalation of tiny marijuana bits during a hit. If you want to make a crutch, which is also easy to do, get hold of thick paper, cut out a rectangle shaped strip which should be close to the width of the joint’s mouthpiece. Fold the paper in the shape of an accordion, wrapping the last remaining bit of paper around the accordion part.
  • The time has come for you to set down the rolling paper on an even base, with its adhesive side away from you. Place the crutch where you intend your mouthpiece to be and evenly spread out marijuana on the paper. Do not overstuff it. To have a cone-like shape, put more weed towards the tip and less near the mouthpiece, sculpting it as you move.
  • Now it’s time to get rolling. With the help of your index finger and thumb, keep pinching the paper to achieve a taco shape, all the while arranging and straightening the paper back and forth for even bud distribution. If some loose marijuana flowers fall off while you are at it, it’s okay. It can be put back in later. Keep working on the cylinder form and adequate tightness to help burn it evenly without airflow restriction. Start to tuck one side of the rolling paper into the joint, while slowing rolling it back close to the adhesive side, tucking in the herb as you go. Lick to make the sticky adhesive wet and begin at the mouthpiece to complete sealing the joint. Upon sealing completion, use a pointy object like a pen or toothpick to pack in the cannabis gathered around the mouthpiece. Any weed that was spilt earlier, can be added back now. When this is done, your joint is ready.

 

Rolling Paper

The sheer variety of rolling papers available is astonishing! Get whatever tickles your bone. It can be any colour of the rainbow, with small to big rolling papers. There are even varieties like watermelon and maple syrup. When it comes to papers, there is no dearth of creativity. However, despite their unique characteristics, their one role is to enable you to smoke your marijuana and they all will serve you well.  For beginners, bigger paper may be more easy to use. Ensure your paper is properly gummed on one side to keep the herb together without requiring any special effort.

There are Wood Pulp rolling paper, a classic, affordable, easy-to-use option. While it tends to burn faster than other materials, it is not bleached like pure white papers, a chemical you would probably not prefer to have in your joints.

Then, there is organic paper, which is automatically free of bleach and any other unwanted chemical additives. It’s obvious that you don’t want to be worried about your paper when you roll.

Hemp rolling paper is a great option; it is made from hemp fibre, thus saving trees. They have a medium burn rate and might have a lingering aftertaste that, however, does not ruin the herb aroma.

And then, there is rice paper. High quality rice paper is composed of only natural ingredients, and is usually quite thin than other variants. It is better for your lungs, but using it may be a bit cumbersome. It does not often provide a good grip and is pretty sensitive to humid temperature. However, despite its thinness, it burns slowly.

 

 

Pipes

 

Many types and styles exist in the cannabis pipes market. There is one clear distinction – some of them are simple in nature while others are more intricately made, ornate and beautiful to look at. Let’s discuss some common ones –

One Hitters

 

Simple and to the point – these pipes are fantastic if you are looking for just one hit. Perfectly discreet, you will never have to worry about them being loud. They usually have a small pipe along with a narrow bowl which is specifically made for single inhalation. On an average, the bowl is equipped to hold about 25 milligrams of cannabis or just like the name goes, one hit. The One Hitters have many traditional styles. However, its simplicity also brings about the challenges of smoke not clearing the pipe leading to faster residue build-up. So, you may need to clean it often.  A popular one from the One Hitters is the Chillum. It is small and straight making it highly portable in nature. They are usually conical, straight, with a tunnel like channel going from end to end. Being used since the 18th century, they used to be made with clay mostly but glass chillums are also trending now. Originally smoked by Hindu monks, they became popular among people all over the world.

Sweet Puff Pipe

It is a glass tube of varying lengths, from 8 cm to 20 cm. The tube of the Sweet Puff turns a 90o at the very end, ending in a larger round bulb having an opening of around 1 cm in diameter. The glass that it is made of is usually very durable, and even comes with many designs. To use it, put any smoke-able concentrate in the bowl and light it with a lighter or any special torch. Ensure that the tip of the flame does not touch the bottom of the bowl, and that there is at least 1 cm gap between the two. Once sufficient amount of vapour is produced, you can inhale. A Sweet Puff Pipe will require you to clean it after every use.

Bubbler Pipe

It is a kind of water pipe, with a bowl, mouthpiece, a stem and a water-holding chamber. Since the smoke travels through the water, it becomes cooler, bringing in a buttery and smooth hit. A Bubbler Pipe can also have a percolator that further cools down the smoke for an even more satisfying hit.  

It is often considered as a hybrid between a pipe and a bong, when actually they are much smaller than bongs but performs a similar function like bongs, with a shape that is akin to pipes.

It is portable, a function important to many and also quite discreet, not garnering unsolicited attention. But they can be delicate, especially if it is made of glass and should be handled carefully.

While pipes generally trump for its portability and handiness, a bubbler pipe offers richer, creamier smoke quality. In this case, a bubbler can very well be viewed as a portable bong. Also, it cannot be ignored that a bubbler pipe can also be visually stunning, a feature that is often important for buyers. Many love the idea of a decorative bong that can be a conversation-starter and an immediate attention-grabber.

Dry Pipe

The biggest attraction of a dry pipe has to be in its simple, utilitarian allure. It gives  the authentic smoking experience while being extremely convenient and discreet. However, the quality of smoke remains unrefined, unfiltered, which can carry its share of harmful toxins. This kind of smoke is also harsher on the throat.

Water Pipes or Bongs

A water pipe, or commonly called a bong, is another device that is regularly used by people everywhere. It is obviously more complicated than pipes and involves an additional chamber of water that is used to filter and cool smoke. Once an user begins inhaling, the water pipe acts as one sealed unit. This indicates that just like a traditional pipe, air will be pulled through the bowl. The difference is the next step, where the stem-drawn smoke passes through a water chamber for cooling. Soot and ash also get caught in the water and as you continue inhaling, smoke gets pulled up through the water. This filtered smoke is much smoother and kinder on the lungs.

Different Kind of Materials

Bongs come in a variety of shapes and sizes and of course, materials. Every material has its set of benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of the forerunners –

1.  Acrylic Bong

They can be of a number of colours and shapes. Built to last, they are light, handy, and also the cheapest! If you are short on money but need to buy a bong, Acrylic is a good option. However, they are also well-known to alter the smoke taste compared to glass or ceramic, where smoke quality is beautifully preserved. Constant and excessive use may lead to strange odours which may ruin the experience. But if you are on a budget, this is the best bet.

2. Silicone Bong

Relatively new to the scene, Silicone bongs are catching up. It is even more durable than acrylic, being able to withstand very high and low temperatures without going brittle or melting. Also, the added advantage is its super softness and malleability, letting it bend and be folded with ease, making it a perfect travel companion. It performs as well as a ceramic bong, and is easily much better than acrylic. It gives a smoke taste that is as good as a glass bong, provided it is a high-quality silicone bong. With the average bong costing between $25 to $60, you get your buck’s worth. However, customization isn’t its best suit.

3. Agung Glass Bong

For more than 50 years, people have been honing new designs, with improvements in airflow, diffusion, filtration and cooling, thus elevating the whole experience of smoking with a glass bong. Agungs bongs again can be of a number of varieties and we have selected a few popular ones –

  • Beaker Bong – It is a classic water pipe with a generously wide bottom that gives it increased stability, meaning lesser spills and less amount of clean-up. Beaker style bongs also give a smooth hit, and being sturdy as it is, it is often a dependable choice. The wider base is also capable of holding more smoke, creating generous hits and a stronger high. And, more water automatically spells better filtration.
  • Straight Tube Bong – A classic, iconic smoking gear. A significantly popular style, you can use its long cylindrical neck to keep the device steady with one hand while you can use the other to light the bowl. It requires about the same amount of maintenance as with other devices of this nature; since the bowl and the downpipe are usually removable, it makes it easy to clean.
  • Round-base Bong – It is a curvaceous little number, but don’t let that look fool you. It is a practical device that can hold significantly more water than a beaker, leading to heightened filtration and smoother hits. The glass content makes it heavier and delightfully stable. On the flipside, it doesn’t come cheap – you can find an excellent one for under $300 and shorter version of it for under $100.
  • Percolator – It is a critical piece in the smoking realm. Even though having a percolator in your bong is not a necessity, it really makes a remarkable difference to your quality of smoke. The whole purpose of the percolator rests on that; it is designed to cool down the smoke even more and give premium filtration. Percolators further branch into several types with each having unique attributes. The Honeycomb remains a favourite.
  • Recycler – A recycle bong or a Recycler is named such because it continuously recycles the water inside during inhalation. This constant motion of cycling keeps refining and filtering the smoke making it cooler, ensuring a smooth experience. In addition to a normal water chamber, it also has an extra chamber for smoke filtration. Its two-chamber system is also assisted with an uptake tube that moves the vapour-contained water up through the device before it gets recycled back down again. Recyclers do the double job of providing smooth water filtration that also expertly cools down the vapour. Many choose recyclers because of their added filtration properties, both newbies and veterans.

 

The durability of a glass bong depends on its usage and also the thickness of the glass. Though it is fairly durable, it has risks of breaking. However, all of these shortcomings are excused owing to its high performance, in fact the highest when compared to all other materials.

4. Ceramic Bong

A pretty looking ceramic bong will always have the flush of beauty in any room it is kept. Since it is made of sturdy ceramic material, it will work fine as long as it is not dropped. It is hardly affected by swings of temperature and have no intricate parts that can get broken. Its performance in areas of taste, diffusion and smoothness come second to only glass. A ceramic bong will guarantee a smooth hit each time and certainly a much better experience than an acrylic bong by a big margin.

5.  Hookah

Traditionally, it has a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a pipe, a bowl, and a hose that uses charcoal to light up tobacco or herbal concoctions called shisha. Hookah is popularly sold with flavours like apple, vanilla, bubble gum etc. The modern day hookah is more lightweight, and with better finish since chromium is added in the final plating stage. Typically, it is made up of stainless steel with additional elements for the finish. Available in various base and hose designs, you will have plenty of options to choose from.

Vaporizer

It is a device that gets the dried herbs heat up to a temperature where they release the active components into a fragrant vapour. This process involves no scorching, burning or combusting, ergo no smoke. Though the vapour may be confused with smoke, it does not contain any toxic particles like benzene, tar, toluene, naphthalene etc. All commercially available herbal vaporizers can effectively be used to vaporize cannabis, even though some vaporizers demand that the herb be finely ground to be vaporized. Important to note is that the vapour smells nothing like used cannabis, making it to safe for use even in public spaces; it is portable as well, of course.

Since vaporizing is much more effective than smoking, the herb can be re-used till its brownish in colour. Many prefer to use these remnants (popularly referred to as ABV or Already Been Vaped)  which contains small amounts of psychoactive substances present, to make canna-butter.

If you want to use a concentrate to vaporize, a pen vaporizer is a smart choice. A far more effective device than dabbing or bongs. However, be aware that a single hit of a potent concentrate will be even stronger than if you smoke it.

It is a highly effective way of smoking cannabis, which is much more considerate on the lungs than pipes or joints. Current vaporizers are smart at optimizing the experience. Even after considering the initial cost of a vaporizer, it is quite economical. For regular smokers, a vaporizer make a lot of sense – both economically and from a health angle. Also, it has none of the unpleasant, pungent odour of smokes that comes from joints or pipes.

There are also a number of handy accessories to consider, if you intend to build your nifty collection of things that makes smoking an infinitely better experience. To safeguard your weed stash, there are a number of containers you can consider. For an enhanced and luxurious affair with your favourite cannabis, there are a number of bong accessories that you can use that raise the bar up a notch.

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