The Pot Smoker's Guide to Marijuana Delivery Systems
From papers to pipes, bongs to bowls, filter tips to vaporizers, what are the latest in smoking accessories?
Undoubtedly the most iconic way to consume marijuana is by smoking a marijuana cigarette. But no one ever says that. They say, "smoking a joint." Or a blunt. Or a fatty. Or, when pot is scarce, a toothpick.
Smoking joints has come under a cloud in the last few years, for some of the same reasons smoking un-funny cigarettes has plummeted in popularity: the smoke, tar, ashes and assorted poisons can irritate the lungs and throat.
Yet for most people, joints are the way they started smoking pot, and they remain the easiest way to smoke today. All that's required is the weed, the paper — and a match, lighter, Bunsen burner or stove for a light.
A wide selection of papers today includes the tried-and-true ZigZag man, see-throughs, Bambus, big Bambus and even rice paper. With the wide, cheap availability of papers and no shortage of experienced joint rollers, it's no surprise that rolling contests are all the rage at hemp expos around the country.
Practice makes perfect with joint rolling, whether by hand or with one of the little machines available for those with no pride. First, of course, grind the herb and remove any stray seeds or sticks from the mix. Not only will this provide a smoother smoke but it cuts down on the scourge of "canoeing." As many a disappointed smoker knows, canoeing may be fun on a lake, but it's no fun when one side of the joint unevenly burns while the other doesn't, leaving a canoe-like silhouette and lots of unsmoked weed.
If a joint is a marijuana cigarette, a blunt is a marijuana cigar. Blunt "wraps" are rolling papers constructed with tobacco. Crafted from tobacco leaves, these Zag wraps, swishers, white owls or Dutch Masters (as the song goes, "pass the Dutchie on the left hand side") allow you to create large cigars and cigarellos.
Such big smokes are good for friendly group smoking and are a potent sign of the plentitude of pot currently available. Blunt wraps also burn more slowly than joints, letting your pals savor your pot.
Blunt wraps come in sealed packages to preserve their freshness. While much of the advertising refers to rolling "tobacco" (anyone want to join the Roll Your Own Cigar Association?), we know what most people are rolling. Wraps often are flavored, with tastes like strawberry, cherry-vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, apple martini and even gin-and-juice.
While blunts are great in social situations or to display your wealth (load up with pot and light with a $20 bill) they may pose health problems or cause tobacco addiction. Smoke them often enough and they've got the potential to cause the kind of health problems associated with smoking tobacco, such as cancers of the lungs and mouth, heart disease, emphysema and circulatory problems.
Pot pipes probably come a close second to rolling papers in terms of widespread use. If you have one you like, you've probably kept it for years, lovingly replacing the screen and scraping out the black "hash," or tar, that congeals on the inside for later use.
Glass pipes are colorful and easy to use. They're great for individuals and small groups. But they also break easily, and you'll need to keep packing the bowl.
Metal pipes are convenient and easy to pocket and clean, although they can get hot and burn your hand — or even your lips. Although some swear by them, others eschew wood pipes due to possibly smoking the burning wood.
One interesting evolution of the pipe is the product line from 7 Pipe. Not only do these pipes have built-in storage for your "tobacco" but they also have a built-in lighter. No more trying to bum matches or buy lighters from suspicious liquor store clerks.
As the founders say on their website, 7pipe.com, "Being minimalists, we only wanted to carry a wallet, keys, phone and pipe. This pipe needed to have a built-in lighter. It needed to have storage. But most important, the bowl and stem had to be made from glass because, yes, we're glass snobs."
Another development is "stealth pipes," or pipes that don't look like weapons of mass intoxication. Foldable pipes, made of flat pieces of metal or wood, either unhinge, slide or fold together to create a working pipe with a bowl.
The classic "one-hitter" may be shaped like a fake cigarette for use in public, complete with a glowing tint at the end crafted to look like a lit cigarette.
Still, the innovative minds of pot smokers can't be stopped. Mad geniuses have designed pot pipes that look like tiny Maglite flashlights, pens, lipstick cases, lighters, even highlighters.
Marijuana smokers show ingenuity in desperate situations — such as, if there's pot but no readily usable pipe. One way, of course, is the "apple pipe." They're simple to build. Simply twist off the stem of an apple, dig out the top of the fruit and put aluminum foil in to hold the weed. Then use a pen to penetrate the side of the apple.
Make sure there's a clear path for the smoke from the core through the hole on the side. Light it up and suck it down. You can watch a bewitching tutorial online.
For an apple bong, run plastic tubes through and share with your friends. Just don't reuse — or eat — the apple.
A hollow piece of bamboo or a toilet paper roller also makes a great emergency pipe, as long as you have a pipe or bong bowl to stick into the long tube.
Pot pipes have been made from vegetables, socket wrenches, hamster water bottles and, of course, soda cans and bottles.
However, making a pipe from a plastic bottle may melt the plastic, leading to toxic plastic fumes. There's also a chance that smoking through aluminum objects, like soda cans or aluminum foil, may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease down the road. Scientists are unsure of the actual risk, and research continues on the possible linkage between aluminum and Alzheimer's.