Do you know how to smoke a pipe?
These days, people consume cannabis in all kinds of ways, from oral tablets to topical tinctures. Yet, old traditions stick around in the most common consumption method: pipe smoking.
Both methods are low-tech and very easy to learn, even for beginners, offering the full, therapeutic cannabis experience that made the herb so beloved for generations.
With that being said, here’s our guide to huffing kush with a pipe. We’ll go over the different varieties, the things you’ll need and even how to consume hash! Stay with us and let’s get down to business!
What is a Weed Pipe?
A weed pipe is a smoking device used to consume cannabis. Weed pipes come in all shapes and sizes. The most common are handheld tube types and water pipes. The former mimics the “tube” or “barrel-pipes” created by ancient Africans, whereas the latter more closely resembles the “elbow-bend pipes” of the past, which had an angle between the bowl and the stem.
Some of the earliest water pipes are directly associated with cannabis smoking across the African continent, especially in the eastern, southern, and central regions, where many have been found.
Yet, some historians suggest that the general practice of smoking and the invention of pipes did not originate in Africa, but spread to the continent through Portuguese or Spanish influence.
Either way, these inventions played such a central role in ceremonial and medicinal herbal plant consumption that they’re still used in modern civilization.
Each provides a slightly different sensation during inhalation, thanks to their varying constructions.
A water pipe, popularly known as a bong, typically has a removable bowl, allowing you to pour water in and out of the pipe for cleaning. It has a long neck leading to the mouthpiece used to inhale the smoke, which is filtered through a lower compartment, where the water is stored. Some feel that water pipes offer a smoother smoke, thanks to this filtration mechanism.
In fact, studies have shown that water pipes may have fewer health risks because of this. Cannabis smoke that’s filtered through bong water can remove compounds that induce catatonia, or conditions like schizophrenia where individual moves or behaves abnormally due to mental disturbance.
The newer, more portable member of the pipe family is the tube pipe. These have built-in bowls, usually separated from the mouthpiece by a short neck (typically half the length of a bong’s, or shorter). Since the bowl and mouthpiece are so close, the smoking experience tends to be a bit harsher.
Additionally, you can feel some of the heat from the cannabis’s combustion, which can be unpleasant for some pipe smokers. The lack of water filtration increases your risk of inhaling tar and might cause the smoke to taste bad, too.
Still, these are far more convenient than bongs or water pipes, which is why some folks prefer to use these as backups or travel alternatives to their home water pipe.
Everything You Need to Smoke with a Pipe
Smoking a pipe doesn’t take much. All you need is a few pieces of gear, a lighter, and of course, cannabis.
Depending on your preferences, you might also want to use hemp wick instead of heating the bud with a butane lighter.
Unfortunately, most studies focus on the harmful effects of pure butane, rather than the consequences associated with the combustion of cannabis or other smokable herbs from a butane lighter.
Plus, using a hemp wick over a lighter isn’t guaranteed to be better for your health. Some manufacturers use paraffin wax instead of natural beeswax, like many brands, which some believe to be hazardous, too.
Whichever lighting method you prefer, you can either use a water pipe with a bowl and stem or a handheld pipe.
Regarding maintenance, a tube pipe might be the better option, as it’s easier to clean with just a pipe cleaner. On the other hand, the shape of a water pipe is much more complex, which can make it a headache to keep clean.
Hint: Smoking from a pipe is much easier when your cannabis is ground somewhat finely. Use a grinder for the best results. Breaking the flower up with your fingers will likely be too coarse, and it won’t burn as well in the bowl.
How to Smoke a Pipe
Once you gather everything you need for pipe smoking, you’re ready to smoke! Follow these tips below for a pleasant pipe experience :
Water Pipe Smoking
- Take your bong and remove the bowl and stem.
- Fill the base with water, just enough to cover the bottom half-inch of the stem.
- Note: If the water level is too low, the bong won’t work correctly, and you’ll burn your weed in vain.
- Replace the bowl and stem and fill the bowl with your ground cannabis. You can pack as much as you want, but it’s best to keep it below ¾ full.
- Place your mouth on the mouthpiece and light the bowl.
- Breathe in as much as you’re comfortable with. At this point, you should hear the water bubbling. Let it go within a few seconds – holding your breath does more harm than good.
- Pull the bowl and stem out together. Now you can clear the smoke.
Smoking a Pipe
Smoking a tube pipe is much easier. All you need to do is hold the mouthpiece up to your mouth and inhale as you light the bowl.
These typically have a hole on one side of the bowl called a carb. You’ll want to plug this in with your thumb while you’re inhaling and lighting the bowl the first time, as this ensures the airflow is concentrated on the bowl and not coming in from the side.
It’ll improve the combustion, creating a much better experience.
How to Smoke Hash in a Pipe
Now, most people smoke herbal cannabis, meaning the dried flower, in pipes of both kinds. However, you can also smoke hash, a concentrated form of cannabis, with this gear. Here’s how to do it:
- Place a screen in the bowl, ideally one that provides more coverage than the glass screens designed as plugs.
- Note: Screens are non-negotiable if you’re smoking hash on its own. These products melt when heated. Neglecting to use a screen increases your risk of accidentally inhaling hot oil and embers.
- Load your bowl as you normally would with herbal cannabis.
- Sprinkle the hash on top. You can do this with any pipe.
- Light the hash using either a standard lighter or a torch lighter (not a dab torch), depending on your preferences.
- Inhale as normal.
Hash burns differently than herbal cannabis since it’s so densely packed. This allows it to burn slower and longer, so open up some windows to prevent too much smoke accumulation, and only use a small amount of hash at a time.
Using a Pipe – Easier Than You Think
Pipes have a long history of herbal smoking, dating back to old African civilizations. Interestingly, the designs haven’t changed much – perhaps because they work so well!
Whether you prefer a water pipe or a tubelike design, these are both easy, convenient ways of consuming your cannabis, whether you’re using it medicinally or recreationally.