Rolling a joint is still the classic way of smoking pot, and there’s a lot to be said for them. If you’ve got the dexterous fingers required to take some herb and a rolling paper and turn them into a perfect cylinder of smokable goodness, that’s great. You can twist one up and enjoy the convenience of passing it between whoever else is fortunate enough to be in attendance. Others, however, won’t be so nimble fingered. Or have any number of reasons why rolling a joint is unnecessary or impractical.
Even the best rollers will probably have a weed pipe in their arsenal as well. And they’re often the best choice if you’re smoking solo. Today, we’re talking about pipes and what you can do to use them efficiently.
One of the only rules for smoking a joint is to turn it over in your fingers as you toke on it to ensure it burns down evenly, and doesn’t ‘canoe’. With a weed pipe there’s more that goes into smoking it well. The ability to roll joints well isn’t something that was developed overnight. And so most of us became familiar with how to smoke a pipe first. There’s a few pipe-smoking basics to learn if you’re new to enjoying marijuana, and so let’s have a look at them.
The Basics to Smoking A Weed Pipe
The first thing to understand is that while you toke on a joint, you’ll be better advised to draw on a pipe unless you like the idea of coughing heavily and risking being the one to ‘volcano’ the bowl. That’s a term used to describe when the smoker coughs into the pipe and fires its valuable contents skyward. Needless to say, that’s going to be a big disappointment, and even if you’re the only one enjoying that bowl.
You can hit a joint much harder than you can a pipe, and this is even true for those with the toughest lungs.
Light it up
When you hold the lighter over the bowl of your weed pipe, make sure that you take a light inhale to bring the flame down over the herb briefly. Then let off of it to finish your moderate inhale. Do not inhale hard and burn the bowl intensely while inhaling the same way you would on a joint. You’ll quite likely find yourself exhaling long before you like to because you’ve hit it too hard and fierce coughing will soon follow.
Not only that, but you’ll burn through the bowl more quickly and you’ll have less of an opportunity to savour the moment.
That really is rule #1 of how to smoke a pipe – smoke it with slower and lighter inhales. It’s not going anywhere, and likely neither are you.
Another typical consideration when smoking marijuana from a pipe is your flame source. While some of you may still be striking matches, the majority will be using a lighter. How you hold the inverted lighter above your bowl is important as well.
A flame is always hottest at its tip, and so you should be holding the lighter at a distance that has the full tip of the flame contacting the bowl. This will promote the most efficient combustion of your smokables. Whereas if you press the flame down further into the bowl you will:
- Get a worse toke as you’re not putting the best and hottest part of the flame exclusively in contact with the bowl
- Be inhaling remnants of butane gas that haven’t been able to burn completely as they leave the lighter
Burning your bowl with the TIP of the lighter’s flame is our rule #2 for how to smoke a pipe well.
The Prep Stage
What goes on before you put flame to product is also important. In particular, it’s good to know how to pack a bowl. The first tip here is to make sure that you grind up your weed sufficiently. Or, if you’re enjoying hashish, that’s separated into small pieces, or ‘nerds’ as aficionados refer to them. With weed it is especially important to do this, as a finely ground amount of product spread evenly around the bowl will smoke most nicely.
Gold seal hashish is sometimes referred to as ‘putty’ hash. It is quite easy to break off small nerds with your thumbnail and pile them atop each other in your bowl. Rock hash doesn’t break up so easily, so apply less force to have pieces of it crumble off. You can break up your marijuana by hand or with a pair of scissors, but a bud grinder does a far superior job in much less time. If you don’t have one, we highly recommend them.
How to pack a bowl
Once you’ve prepped your product, now it’s time to pack the bowl. No matter what type of weed pipe you have, from a one hitter to a bong and everything in between, there’s a standard technique for enjoying the best smoking experience. First, make sure that your screen or toke hole isn’t overly blocked with resin. And for that matter ensure that the entire length of the opening to the mouthpiece is free of blockage. Keeping your pipe relatively clean is important.
Now pack your bowl one of two ways; if you’re smoking weed then you should put it down in the bowl so that it rises up in a mound to a small elevated peak in the middle of the bowl. This will provide the perfect point for the flame to make first contact with the bowl. The second and maybe third tokes of the bowl should have the flame placed there as well to promote the most efficient burning. As the bowl slowly becomes expended, you should move the flame around the edges of the bowl. That way you can smoke the unburnt product that will be found there.
If you’re smoking hash this guideline isn’t quite as applicable. It is unlikely that you would be packing a bowl full of hash nerds the same way you would with ground marijuana. It is best to just build a small pile of them in the center of the bowl. Then apply the flame to them liberally, moving it around as needed to finish them. Hashish is great for a one hitter weed pipe as you can quickly break off a chunk and plunk it in there for a quick toke.
A common term for finishing a bowl is to ‘cack’ it. Once you’ve cacked your bowl to ash and you’re feeling fine after enjoying its contents, here’s what you should do.
First, empty the bowl of the weed pipe with some type of implement rather than tapping it over an ashtray or elsewhere. The bowl will empty more completely. And you won’t run the risk of chipping it if you tap it a little too hard on whatever surface.
Cleaning Your Weed Pipe
We’ll leave you with a great hack for cleaning pipes if you don’t have a pipe cleaner wand. Those papered twist ties you find in the bulk foods section of the grocery store can work really well. Here’s what you do:
- Tear the paper on both sides about ½” in along the length of it, and all the way to the wire
- Now use your thumb and forefinger to strip away the paper to the other end of the tie, so that only the length of the wire remains with one piece of paper intact on the end.
- Bend the wire end so that it will move through the bowl and into the inhale opening along the pipe
- Insert it until the wire end emerges from the mouthpiece, and the papered end is above the bowl
- Pull the wire end so that the papered end is forced to contort itself through the bowl opening and all the way along the pipe until it emerges from the mouthpiece
The paper end will travel through the pipe and scrape resin, ash, and any other contaminants from the walls of the opening along the pipe. It works really well and keeps your weed pipe clear for maximum toking efficiency. Works extremely well for one hitter pipes. Try it for yourself and see!