Bong, Vaporizer, Joint, and Eddible
Humankind has been using cannabis for thousands of years! Indigenous to Central Asia and India, the plant began its spread across the globe via trade routes thousands of years ago. Much like spices – cannabis flower, seeds, oil, fiber, and hashish (an ancient form of concentrate) were valuable commodities. Even live plants were taken along.
To this day, marijuana continues its spread, and what was once pined for can now be found all over the globe. The methods of consumption haven’t changed much over time. The modern stoner, like those who came before, continues smoking flower and eating edibles, as well as enjoying the newest trend, vaporization.
“I smoke two joints in the morning,
I smoke two joints at night.
I smoke two joints in the afternoon,
Make everything alright.”
Sublime, “Smoke Two Joints”
Reefers. Marijuana cigarettes. Doobies. Spliffs. Rolls. Jays. Joints.
The longevity of the joint is a testament to the cool, classic smoking of 20’s and 30’s. Take it from your grandpa, the smell of reefer in the air around a Prohibition-era club was synonymous with smooth. The cult status of joints was partially responsible for the criminalization of Marijuana in 1937. When the “Reefer Madness” fear that was instilled in the 30’s wore off, it was your parents who were smoking doobies in the 60’s and 70’s. More recently, a joint represents the stoner with the taste for the little things, or one trying weed for the first time.
They may be the most common method of marijuana consumption, and for a couple of good reasons: A. They’re the most accessible method for the smoker who doesn’t have any glass, and B. They’re the most mobile method of smoking ganja, being small, discreet, and disposable.
Plus, they taste pretty nice.
If you’d like to learn how to roll a joint, we’re posting that info soon! This article will be updated once that stuff is posted. For now, we highly advise investing in pre-rolls. Even experienced stoners can suck at rolling joints, and more money toward your local dispensary means a better relationship with your budtenders– while ensuring a nicely-rolled joint for now.
Blunts are another great wrapped option. If joints are ‘marijuana cigarettes,’ then blunts are ‘marijuana cigars.’ A good blunt is about 2-3.5 grams of herb wrapped in tobacco – typically, emptied-out cigarillos. We’ll include a how-to in the future, but for now, ask a good friend and take notes!
Playing With Fire
Marijuana has been smoked in pipes since it travelled from Ancient Egypt in Northeast Africa to the Congo Basin in Western Africa 4,000 years ago. Smoking the dried flower is a human tradition. It is an amazing intersection of agriculture, spirituality, fire, and breath. The hemp plant is an agricultural beast used for its psychoactive effects, trauma treatments, and as a textile. It has adapted to thrive in most global environments adding to its accessibility. The psychoactive effects have been a centerpiece for celebration, shamanism, and reflection. It only reaches the point of activation when exposed to high temperatures; once combined with fire, humans gain access to the wide breadth of psychoactive benefits cannabis has to offer. The only way to move that fire through the herb with precision is through concentration of breath, via focused inhalation and exhalation. Not for the faint of heart.
A simple pipe is a great way to really feel the marijuana. Start by grinding or picking apart the flower, then sprinkle it into the bowl (the place for your herb). Once in the bowl, locate the carb; a small hole to cover with your finger that creates suction. Test how it feels to pull air through the device. Now you are ready, while moving the lighter up to the herb breathe in through the mouthpiece; once you see it start to burn, release the lighter and remove your finger from the carb; finish breathing in, and when ready blow it out. You may cough, and that’s totally okay, as long as you don’t cough into the pipe. Not cool.
Smoking marijuana in a bong, also called a water pipe, is another tried and true method. Water bongs are glass, ceramic, or silicone, and look like contraptions out of a mad scientist’s chemistry set. There are three basic parts: bowl piece, bong, and downstem. The bowl piece functions as both the bowl and carb, in that removing the bowl begins the flow of smoke out of the piece and into your lungs. Leading from the bowl down into the bong is the downstem. The downstem plunges the smoke into the bong water. The bong itself is filled with water and is equipped with percolators (filters) that encourage the water and smoke to mix. More mixing means more bubbles, more bubbles means more smoke touching water, which means cooler smoke – and a happier you! Finally the bong has a base and a mouthpiece you breathe through at the top. A mouth hole, if you will. Not too hard to master.
A bong is nice because it cools the smoke significantly while helping to filter out carcinogens. It can be tricky to use a bong properly for those just getting started, the easiest way to learn is by smoking with someone more experienced. After they have shown you how to do it, have them light it and pull the bowl for your first try. Remember you can always stop breathing in or remove your mouth from the bong. A bong can deliver huge hits, so START SMALL. A heavy hit can hurt your throat and have you hacking up a lung. Not fun.
Just A Taste
In Ancient India marijuana was prepared as Bhang. Bhang is made by combining nuts, berries, yogurt, flowers, water/juice, and (of course) marijuana to create a smoothie of sorts. It was, and still is, used in appreciation and celebration of the goddess Shiva. While you could still use Bhang to get high, today your best edible high is going to be, well, an edible.
Edibles are great if you’re concerned about smoke. The cannabinoids (psychoactive chemicals) are activated during the preparation of the edible. This means all your body needs to do is begin digesting and the effects will start to occur. The downside is it can be hard to find the right amount since the activation time can be longer than two hours!
It’s pretty easy to try an edible. Choose a candy then choose a dispensary to see if they have what you’re craving. Edibles are a good way to begin your adventure into the world of weed since they have standardized servings, and it’s best to adhere to the recommended amount. New consumers often don’t wait the full activation period before taking another (we get it, they taste pretty good). This second edible will add to the first one’s intensity, leading to a particularly uncomfortable experience. While this isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can be frightening.
Cool Calm and Collected
In 2003, Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and smoker who lost his father to lung cancer got to work. Following the loss of his father, Hon set out to help smokers live healthier lives and developed the next cannabis craze: the vaporizer. Thanks to this invention all smokers can now have a more temperature and carcinogen controlled experience.
Unlike combustion, vaporization turns the cannabinoids and terpenes – the fun stuff and the tasty stuff, respectively – in marijuana into vapor. This is different because it can target the cannabinoids you want and avoids those you don’t. Since few cannabinoids activate above 500 degrees fahrenheit you can take cooler hits compared to the 700 degrees fahrenheit temperature of burning marijuana. THC, the compound that gets you high, is activated around 350 degrees fahrenheit, this is half the temperature of combustion!
A vaporizer is right for you if you need subtlety, reliability, and consistency. Start off simple with a vape pen. These are cheap batteries, sold in all kinds of smoke shops, that work with separate cartridges pre-filled with cannabis concentrate. Many vaporizers work by simply inhaling through the mouthpiece, but some require the user to turn on the device by pressing a power button a few times. Do your research on what vaporizer you are using, and remember that vape pens use concentrates so it will get you higher faster than edibles or flower.
There are many tools within the world of weed to enjoy the sacred herb, with each one offering unique benefits. Every tool is different, and each person might use it slightly differently – much like house rules for a popular game. We hope that this guide will help you explore the toolbox, from its most ancient artifacts to today’s top innovations. Together, we’ll build understanding and awareness around the culture of cannabis.
Learn the history of cannabis, but most important, have respect for yourself. Only you know what you like when consuming cannabis, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This has been just a crash course of a bigger world populated by inclusive people who want to help you expand your knowledge and experiences, and the best teachers are the good people you surround yourself with.