So sick of hearing “you still smoke joints?” I won't try and argue that vaping isn't better for you than traditional forms of smoking. But, to imply vaping is inherently better than the overall experience of smoking a joint? No, my friends, no. Here are my five reasons why joints, in my mind, will always be better than vaping.
1. The ceremony of it all. Like the Chinese and their tea ceremony, there is a certain ritual and process surrounding the rolling and smoking of the classic joint you just don't get with a vaporizer. It is always the same brand of papers. You lay the sheets in the same pattern. The leaf is always sprinkled from left to right, the joint always rolled away and up and so on and so on... The only real habit of cannabis is the habit of ritual and nothing says marijuana ritual more than rolling a joint. What is the vape counterpart? Refilling your tank? Ooooh sounds so zen.
2. All this bloody lollygagging. Yes, I said lollygagging. When you smoke a joint you friggin smoke it. There's none of this 'a little suck here a little suck there' nonsense. It's like the difference between a soccer match and an American football match. I know roughly when one is going to end. The other could continue getting on my nerves half the night. Vaping distracts a group and the vaper for much longer than sharing a joint. It takes a social ritual and turns it into a public nervous habit that wastes everybody's time. You know, lollygagging.
3. Joints don't get you wet. As I troll the vaping message boards I giggle at the number of people complaining about “seepage.” Dripping, wetness, leakage; call it what you will, but I have yet to describe any malfunctioning joint as though I were talking about a faulty diaper. Ew. Okay I get it, it's not smoke and all that wetness makes for a smoother, cleaner hit but still...ew.
4. A sense of community. Joint smokers are the givers of humanity. The first to always puff puff pass and never the type to light up in public without sharing or at least making the offer. The vaper is the kid on the playground who quickly proffers their bag of candy, too fast for anyone to actually get anything before proceeding to gorge himself on the entire bag. The vaper doesn't want to share. Public indulgence has always been a communal act in cannabis culture. Dude, not sharing is weird.
5. Classic stoner sound effects. From the fragile swoosh when you pull paper from packet to the soft crinkle sound as you twist and seal the end, the sounds associated with the joint subculture (I'm calling it a subculture now. See what you've done vaping?) are incomparable. You can't tell me that the faint sucking sound of the vape comes close to the delicate crackling of the singeing paper and it glows bright orange when you draw then quickly fades to gray as you pass it swiftly through the cool air to the next waiting hand. And what of the sound a joint makes rolled between finger and thumb just before lighting? That comforting crunch of crumbled bud lying in its paper cradle, waiting for the spark of life? Smoking a joint just seems so much more visceral than vaping. (And now the next time you get high, yes, you'll probably think about the sound of getting high. Oh, you're welcome).
So we all know vaping is healthier than smoking a joint. Go shop for your pretty post modern water pipes. But smoking a joint is still better than vaping. Don't pretend to me that cleaning your vaporizer, giving it a good rinse and loading it once more for a dragged out, twitchy, discreet, Norman No-friends, puff-every-once-in-a-while-all-friggin-night is better than a joint. Because it's not, simple as. Vaping will never compare to the beauty, the tactile purity and the embedded collective history that is rolling and sharing a joint. Sometimes a good old fashioned joint is a must to remind us in these legislation saturated times that cannabis is more than medicine or an issue on the ballot. It is community, companionship and comradery.