A cannabis pipe is a handheld device with a narrow tube, a bowl at one end to be filled with fresh cannabis, and a mouthpiece for inhaling. Often there is a third hole known as the carb located near the bowl, usually on the side or the front of the pipe. The carb is used to stoke the burn and control air flow. There are many cannabis pipe designs available such as the one-hitter, chillum, bubbler, spoon, hand pipe, and more
History of the Cannabis Pipe
Evidence of pipes used for smoking cannabis can be dated back to at least the year 1200. Ancient communities spanning the globe used pipes to consume cannabis or tobacco in social, religious, and economic rituals. Today, pipes can be made of almost anything, including glass, wood, an empty water bottle, an apple—you name it.
How To Use a Pipe
Empty the Bowl
- If the airflow is clogged, a device such as a bent paperclip, or a Toker Poker, may be used to clear the hole in the bottom of the bowl.
- If there is still a blockage of airflow, you may have to clean the whole pipe by submerging it in rubbing alcohol.
- Once airflow is clear, the bowl is ready to load.
- To prevent inhaling cannabis particles, a screen or glass “daisy” can be used to block the hole at the bottom of the bowl. If you choose to use a screen, put it in the bowl before loading it with cannabis.
Load the Bowl
- Break up the cannabis, either with a grinder or by hand. Cannabis will burn more evenly if buds are broken into small pieces. Grinders are typically more efficient, less wasteful, and less sticky than pulling buds apart by hand.
- Once the bud is ground, fill the bowl to the rim, or slightly mounted, whatever amount is right for you.
- Once loaded, a fresh, full bowl is known as “greens.” One can either light the bowl themselves or “pass greens” to another in the circle to be the first to hit the bowl. Passing greens is viewed as an act of generosity and is often an honor bestowed upon a guest or someone in the circle with something to celebrate.
Light the Bowl
- Using a lighter, match, or hemp wick, light the corner of the bowl. This is known as “cornering” and is important, especially when sharing a bowl, to ensure all participants get greens.
- Inhale to fill the pipe with smoke while covering the carb with a finger.
- After a few seconds, lift your finger off the carb. This allows air to flow and direct smoke toward the lungs. After you take a “hit” of cannabis, it’s ideal to also inhale more real air (oxygen) so that the herb smoke actually gets into your lungs.
- Continue to inhale to clear the pipe of smoke.
- Exhale. Can you blow smoke rings? This is your opportunity to try.
- Clean out the bowl—a “debowler” is recommended for immediate cleaning post-smoke.
- Repeat this process as desired.
Finding the Right Pipe for You
There are glass makers who make indestructible pipes and glass-blowing artists creating amazing works of art. The purchase can be an expression of individuality, or one of pure utility. Pipe options are endless, and finding the perfect one is almost as fun as smoking out of it, so enjoy the search.
SK Belford is co-host on the podcast High Minded with McCarter and a freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. A passionate cannabis and plant medicine advocate, you can find her on Instagram @herhighnesssk.