Human beings have been consuming cannabis for thousands of years. For much of that time, the main way we would consume the plant didn’t go further than just throwing it in your pipe and smoking it. In this cannabis revolution we have witnessed in the last 20-30 years, we have seen a monumental boom in innovation and engineering from cannabis creatives. There are seemingly endless amounts of ways for people to consume cannabis and navigating through all your options can be a tricky endeavor. To help you understand the differences between these methods, this comprehensive guide will take you through the pros and cons, as well as brand recommendations, to paint a clearer picture of what’s on the market.
Starting with probably the most recognizable form of smoking cannabis, the water pipe, A.K.A, the bong. The term bong refers to the Thai word for bamboo pipes that were used to smoke flower going back centuries.
Today, these are typically made from glass, silicone, and plastic in some cases. What attracts people to this form of smoking is the variety and personalization that comes with the bong. There are countless artists pushing out new designs and functions on a daily basis, making finding one that works for you easily.
- Straight Tube: a singular straight chamber, drawing a straight line from combustion to water to inhalation.
- Beaker: a similar one chamber design with the difference being the base of the piece being flared out, similar to the beakers you would see in a chemistry lab.
- Recycler: Bongs that recycle the water while taking a hit to provide ultra-filtered smoke that hits smooth and cooled every time.
- Water helps trap tar and toxins from entering the lungs
- Bigger “hits”
- User-friendly for both use and cleaning
- Can become easily dirtied, lots of required upkeep
- Can promote mold growth and other harmful materials
- Extra careful with glass pieces
Brands to look for: Illadelph, Maverick, Diamond, Bougie, and Empire
Similar to the design and function of the bong, the dab rig is also a primarily glass piece with a water function used to smoke. The difference between the rig and the bong is that the bong is used for flower products and utilizes the process of combustion to produce smoke. The rig, on the other hand, is used primarily for cannabis concentrates such as oils or wax and uses high heat methods to produce a vapor. Rigs are also typically more compact and have a greater emphasis on water function. This is due to the high heat of the blowtorch used on the oil or wax in the banger, the rig equivalent to the bowl used in a bong. Rigs also come in an electronic form which cuts out the blowtorch and banger and uses electricity to produce the high heat required for vaporization.
- Cleaner, stronger hits than a joint or vaporizer
- Concentrates are faster acting and more effective than flower
- Countless different concentrates can be consumed, wax, sugar, budder, diamonds, etc..
- an intricate and passionate community creating beautiful and functional pieces for consumers
- Cleaning is much more cumbersome
- The remains are stickier and harder to work with
Brands to look for: Puffco, Diamond, Bougie, Swerve, AFM
Another culturally iconic method of smoking is the classic joint. Joints are hand-rolled cannabis cigarettes. There is nothing frilly or extra about the joint. 2 simple ingredients that leave out all the extras: papers and flower. If you’re looking for an organic, clean experience then joints may be for you. The papers used for rolling a joint can be made from several materials, with the most popular papers being made of hemp, rice straw, or flax, each with its own unique properties. You can either hand pick or use a grinder to break down your flower. The processed flower then is placed on the paper and rolled like a cigarette.
- Joints can be easily prepared, and the process can create a sense of ritual and relaxation from grinding to smoking
- Joints are also easy to transport and dispose of and can be easily shared between a group of people
- Lack of byproducts and much cleaner than using a bong or rig
- Highs experienced from a joint are often long-lasting and mellow, coming together to reinforce the idea of ritual and relaxation.
- While idle when smoking a joint, the paper and flower continue to burn which can eat through your supply quicker than a bong or rig would
- The end of the joint can become covered with resin produced by the flower, resulting in a compromised flavor profile
- Joints are also cheaper upfront than using a glass piece.
Brands to look for: Raw, Juicy Jays, King Palms, Zig Zags
Like joints, blunts are another form of rolled cigarette that you place the processed flower in. The main difference between the two is that joints are made of hemp, rice straw, or flax, whereas blunts are made with tobacco. The introduction of tobacco and, consequently, nicotine to the wrapping creates a stimulating effect that you would see with a traditional cigarette. Highs experienced from smoking a blunt aren’t as long-lasting as that of a joint, but the up-front effects are more intense.
- Blunts are more structurally sound than joints making them easier to roll for a beginner
- – They can also be made much larger than a traditional joint allowing for an easier sharing experience and greater choice when it comes to how much you feel comfortable packing in
- Blunts also burn at a slower rate than joints meaning they can be enjoyed for longer
- Smoke from blunts is typically harsher than a joint due to the tobacco featured in the wrap
- If you don’t smoke or enjoy tobacco, then the nicotine rush can be discomforting and induce headaches or stomachaches
- The chemicals used on the most popular wraps are often uncountable and harmful compared to the more natural elements seen in joints
Brands to look for: Dutch, Swisher Sweet, White Owl, Backwoods
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to consuming, and ensuring you feel comfortable with how you consume is top priority. Being a beginner can be difficult, but you can always ask your budtender for a recommendation. Never be afraid to ask questions! Consumer education is also top priority for many cannabis retailers.
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As a fourth year journalism student at the University of Southern California, Jacob is passionate about providing the most up-to-date stories. Jacob follows Illinois news, cannabis advertising, cannabis in sports and first-time cannabis consumers. With experience in product manufacturing and customer relations, Jacob adds immense value to the team. Currently, Jacob resides in Chicago and has experience working with the Chicago White Sox.