What makes marijuana pipes different?
A basic marijuana pipe has no physical differences from a tobacco pipe. Marijuana pipes are typically made of glass while tobacco pipes can be made from a variety of components including pipe bowl pieces that are most often crafted from meerschaum, clay, briarwood, or corncob. Marijuana pipes are sometimes made of metal, ceramic, wood, silicone, or bamboo. It’s important to note that aluminum should not be used in pipe construction, including for foil. Some marijuana smokers have been known to create pipes for one-time use from aluminum foil, but aluminum foil can be harmful to your lungs.
The bowl piece and carb
A marijuana pipe has a bowl piece, where the cannabis is loaded. Next to this bowl, you’ll find a small hole called a carb. A carb hole is placed at the bottom of the pipe to clear it while you’re smoking and let’s go with your thumb while inhaling. A pipe without a carb will be cleared by holding your finger over the bowl and releasing it when you stop inhaling. At the end of the pipe, there’s a hole that you put your mouth over to inhale.
If you smoke weed, you’re probably familiar with the various methods of smoking it. This includes pipes, vaporizers, bongs, and joints. Marijuana pipes are the most basic way to smoke cannabis. We’ll cover these methods in more detail later on.
Cleaning a pipe
Pipes must be regularly cleaned so that mold doesn’t form and can still be smoked easily. You can clean your pipe by using an alcohol bath, boiling it in water, or applying a cleansing solution. Some smoke shops sell specialized cleaners for pipes, which are great choices to clean your pipe. If your pipe disassembles, remove the pieces and let them soak in the cleanser overnight. Scrub dirt out of the piece with a cloth or other material afterward.
Remove excess resin that may have come loose. Make sure to clean the connection of the pipe that goes into your elbow joint, and this will help stop any clogs. Once you have thoroughly cleaned the pipe, rinse it with water and then assemble the pieces. There’s nothing like smoking from a freshly cleaned pipe.
Using a Screen
If the hole in your bowl is big, you may want to consider using an additional screen. Screens are sold at smoking and medical marijuana stores, and they help keep your weed from falling through the pipe. Using a screen can prevent your pipe from getting dirty and weed from getting sucked into your mouth, or worse, inhaled. Don’t use a makeshift screen, like one from your faucet or off the back of your screen door. For better protection against heat, real pipe screens will last longer and keep you from burning yourself.
Passing a pipe
When passing a pipe, always handle it with the mouthpiece pointed at the recipient. Hot pot bowls can burn anyone’s fingers and the pieces themselves can be hot. This way, it will be you handling the bowl piece and you’ll know just how hot it is. It’s common courtesy.
People generally agree that the person who sees (or hears) someone else takes a toke from the shared bubbler pipe first gets to take another hit. Watch the flame and make sure to confine it to what you are cooking. You can take your first hit without turning the whole bowl into ashes. When smoking marijuana, try to get a big draw without breaking the whole blunt. Put your lighter flame at the corner of the bowl and aim only one area with it. You can also conserve marijuana by cutting off the excess paper using this technique, sometimes called “going down a bowl.”
To hit the bowl correctly, place the lighter under it before you start inhaling. When you’re smoking weed, keep the lighter over the top of the bowl while you inhale, until it’s able to stay lit on its own. Weed that stays lit is called ‘cherried’, and you might even be able to pass it to someone else without them going through the effort of relighting it.
Don’t exhale with your mouth on the pipe – If you exhale with your mouth still on the pipe, all of the weed is going to fly out of the bowl. It’s an easy way to ruin a good bowl of weed as nobody is going to want to smoke it after it has scattered into little pieces all over the floor.
Glass Marijuana Pipes
A glass marijuana pipe is always preferable to metal, wood, or other materials. You’ll find that almost all smoke stores and recreational marijuana retailers sell glass pipes. However, while glass may be aesthetically pleasing and allows you to aerate a wine without risking oxidation, it does have some disadvantages.
- The real appeal of a glass pipe is that it doesn’t get as hot as metal pipes.
- They are see-through – Who doesn’t like watching smoke make its way through a pipe?
- They hit clean and the cannabis will taste a lot better.
- Glass pipes come in a variety of cool designs and colors.
- They can break easy – If you drop glass, well, it shatters. Be careful with a glass pipe.
- Glass pipes usually cost more than metal pipes.
- They are solid glass and hard to clean – You can’t disassemble a solid glass pipe. This also means the dirt is hard to clean.
Before You Begin
Find a pipe that suits your needs and personality. How often are you planning on using it? Do you want to display the pipe on your porch, bookcase, or coffee table? What is your budget? The more decorative the pipe, the more cash you can expect to throw down. The size of the pipe determines how many hits you can take before having to repack the bowl. If this is your first time purchasing and using a pipe, I’d recommend starting with a small, basic glass hand pipe from your local headshop. It will be easy to use and shouldn’t cost you more than $20.
To get started, buy a lighter, grinder, and cannabis.
Step 1: Grind
Break up a nug of dried flower, place it in your grinder, and mix until it resembles the texture of loose leaf tea. This process will allow air easy access to the plant material and expose its surface area. If you don’t have a grinder handy, place your bud in a small dish and cut it up as finely as possible with scissors until you reach the consistency of dust.
Step 2: Pack
Grab a pinch of flour and pack it into the end of the pipe that resembles a bowl. Make sure the flower is secured with enough packing to keep it steady, but not so much that air can’t pass through.
Step 3: Light
Light your freshly packed bowl while at the same time inhaling through the other end of the pipe. If your pipe happens to have a hole on the side of the bowl, you can cover it with your thumb while inhaling to clear out the inner chamber. When finished inhaling, release your thumb and breathe normally. One other weed etiquette tip: If you plan on passing the pipe around a circle, only light a corner of the bowl so there’s the fresh herb for your friends to enjoy. When kids are involved, it’s all worth it.
When using any new cannabis product or consuming a distinct way of using it, start slow and check in with yourself frequently. Believe it or not, smoking will not get you high instantaneously. After your first hit, wait 10 minutes and let the high unfold before consuming more.