One of the awesome things about weed is how many different ways there are to consume it. Hell, today alone I’ve already smoked from a vaporizer, a small pipe, a $400 bong, and a one-hitter… but I’ve had a hard week. Each smoking apparatus has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages and as a toker, it’s your job to pick the one that appeals to you the most.
I never used to like pipes, I found them too harsh on my throat but recently I’ve taken a liking to them. Pipes are great for their convenience; you just pack the bowl and light it. Thanks to the harshness of a pipe, it’s hard to take massive hits at once so the high from a pipe is usually relaxed. Ideally a pipe should be shaped so that the smoke hits a bottleneck or other barrier before hitting your mouth. This has the dual function of giving the pipe a proper pull (think Bernoulli’s equation) and cooling the smoke slightly to reduce harshness. That in-pipe obstacle may also mean the difference between sucking down flaming asteroids, and, well, not.
Basically small bong-pipes. I am personally inclined away from these things since they are often overpriced and extremely difficult to clean. However, I sat across the circle from a guy who swore by his back home—a glass triple chamber brought back from Amsterdam that bestowed phat rips that wouldn’t make you cough if you tried.
There are more bong styles than I could describe in ten pages but if you’re ever interested, check out a head shop. Over the last two years I’ve seen a growing trend in bongs that I really like—clear, straight glass tubes with diffused downstems designed to pass smoke through water many times for a clean and cool hit. A great bong needs to be at least big enough to allow for really massive rips. You just can’t beat the bong when it comes to getting you really stoned, really quickly, really tastily, and really well.
The debate rages on about design. I prefer the straight shaft over the wide bottom beaker style for simple cleaning purposes. A clean bong allows for sweeter tasting hits and that’s important when you’ve got a big bowl of purp.
Everyone is going to tell you to “go glass!” and, for damn good reasons. Glass is pretty and clear, easy to clean and has the perfect thermal properties for a device filled with ice water and attacked by high people with fire. It doesn’t release any noxious fumes and even has its own artisan cult. That’s why next time you see somebody’s $400 bong-ash catcher setup, quickly count and stay in control of all your limbs because it’s fragile. I know it’s a challenge, especially after your face has been pleasantly obliterated by it.
This is no reason to scoff at a homis non-glass, though. The ceramic owner might give you some BS about being “from the earth, man” but he’s actually right. It too has great thermal diffusion properties. As for plastic/acrylic…look, it’s not the best, but you can’t deny that the convenience of being able to literally throw your bong at someone.
My father, Dwaye Hubbard, wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about if I mentioned bongs or even glass pipes. Like most of the old folks, he smoked only joints. For some people, it’s hard to see why it’s worth it for people to smoke anything else. Joints are easy to roll, portable, adjustable by size, and require no more equipment than something you can pick up at any convenience store.
Everybody should be able to roll a joint, which means if you don’t know how, learn, which means you need to practice, which means “get high.” There is a silly number of rolling techniques and styles, so you only need to know how to roll what you’re smoking; for me that’s small little pin joints so I use smaller papers like Zig-Zag Kutkorners. If you prefer larger cone joints, you might want something bigger like EZ-Widers. Either way, if you don’t know how to roll already, pick up the appropriate papers and a bag of tobacco and spend a lazy afternoon practicing. You can give your efforts to the cig smokers near you, they’ll be appreciative.
Just like all things “weed,” there are tons of paraphernalia options when it comes to papers. Something of interest to the concerned joint-lover—being that inhaling paper may not be particularly desirable—is the cellulose paper. These clear papers are apparently lung friendly, but are a bitch to roll with. In the same vein, be aware that the gummy strip on papers is an adhesive usually made from horses. Maybe because you don’t want to kill horses, or maybe just because you don’t want to smoke them, papers are available without. Your joints won’t suffer a bit.
A special offshoot of the joint is the blunt. A blunt is basically a big-ass joint rolled in a tobacco leaf instead of a paper. Blunts are freaking awesome on occasion and taste delicious but they tend to leave you with a strong case of the Itis.
The honey dutch is a popular variety and nothing is more iconic than the guts of a cigar, discarded appropriately in your waste bin. Blunt wraps occupy a middle ground between joints and true Southern Blunts.
The newest of all smoking devices is a vaporizer. A vape is any device that you smoke—with no smoke! Instead of combusting the leafy plant, vapes have a heating element that warms the ganja to the specific vaporization temperature of THC etc (see last week’s column), around 390 degrees. This means that the good stuff is literally lifted off the unburnt leaf for you to inhale. It is great for health reasons since you don’t inhale burnt plant matter. I love the high I gets off my vaporizer; since there’s no smoke, the high is much clearer and enjoyable. They are also great dorm room alternatives. Be advised: they do smell strongly while in the act, but the pungent pot vapor will not permeate clothing and dissipates much faster than actual smoke.
Be advised, there are lots of ins and out to vapes. For instance, you may have a favorite vape temperature setting. But this setting is only vaporizes the ingredients at and below this temperature, and while the major ingredients like THC vaporize a good bit cooler than combustion point, there are some chemicals that do not (see my last article to remind yourself weed is more than just THC). One option is to collect all of your brownish, vaped weed and cook with it.
Don’t forget about the steamrollers, pin-holled Hurricanes, Hookah-bongs, glass cigarettes, and poly-joint adapted vape-bong hybrid. But this is a Tufts publication and not High Times, so I’ll cool it. Of course, I haven’t even mentioned edibles...
It really is amazing how devices can change the experience. All the rituals of the bong are completely different than those of the joint and the highs reflect this. Even with the same strain of sweet Mary Jane, how you treat her matters. But this is one of those rare times when it really is “all good.” Rip from your Roor like Phelps while your buddy puffs on the apple pipe. Then swap. Or don’t. If you and yours want health, pick up a communal vaporizer and roll fatty spliffs when you feel like blowing smoke.
It’s all beautiful, like most things.
Now I’ve got Kush to vape. Hopefully you can fill in that mad lib too,