Have you ever smoked weed… on weed, man?
People have been smoking cannabis for thousands of years, with some of the earliest recorded instances going back to the days of ancient Greece. According to the historian Herodotus, the Greeks were introduced to weed by the nomadic Scythians, who likely introduced the word “cannabis” to the Greeks, as well. The Scythians were probably the world’s first hot-boxers, as they preferred to get lit by filling their chariots with smoke and riding around while they caught contact highs.
Getting your hands on a chariot and some trained horses may be a bit extra for the average toker today, though. So, here’s a guide to some of the most popular, current-day smoking trends. But first, a disclaimer.
Before we dive in, note that there’s a difference between smoking weed and vaporizing it. Smoking refers to the combustion of buds due to heat, causing a chain reaction that burns the plant and produces smoke. Vaporizing, on the other hand, refers to heating the plant material just enough to boil off its oils — in other words, the plant material does not burn. We’ll be focusing on smoking methods here, not vaporizing.
Pipes and Bongs of All Varieties
Perhaps the most popular and simple way to get lit is with a pipe. Pipes come in all sorts of shapes, designs, and materials. All of them, however, contain the same basic components: a bowl to hold the weed, and a chamber that creates a temporary vacuum to inhale its smoke.
Pipes can range from incredibly simplistic, one-hit affairs (e.g. a one-hitter or chillum), to lavishly complex, ornate water pipes (e.g. bongs) with bowls big enough to torch entire eighths in one fell puff.
Image via @keti.photography
Joints, Blunts, and Spliffs
The second most popular way to smoke weed comes as “marijuana cigarettes” or “cannabis cigars.” Basically, the weed gets broken up then rolled into cigarette paper (a joint) or cigar paper (a blunt). Carrying around a joint is usually more convenient than carrying a pipe, though joints/blunts create a stronger odor than pipes when puffing on them, since joints/blunts continue to burn between turns (and while that one dude in the sesh circle goes off on conversational tangents). Some people also consider joints/blunts as less resourceful than pipes/bongs due to the amount of weed burned up in the process.
There are two advanced takes on the rolled-up-weed concept: spliffs and the illustrious Backwoods blunt. Spliffs are joints rolled with tobacco; in Europe, spliffs are twisted by mixing tobacco and hashish instead of cannabis buds, and North American variants often employ waxes, shatters, sauces, or crumbles instead of buds. Backwoods blunts are no different than regular ol’ blunts, except they’re rolled with actual tobacco leaves rather than tobacco-based paper, a technique that requires a bit of finesse.
Solar puffing is the greener, more sustainable way to smoke your green. Whereas most tokers will light a bowl with a lighter (or a match, if they’re the rugged cowboy types — or hippies trying to avoid inhaling lighter fluid), solar puffing relies entirely on the power of the sun.
To perform a solar puff, take a magnifying glass and focus the sunlight into a white-hot point on the bowl. Just like scorching ants as a kid, you can ignite your pipe or bong bowls this way, too. And since there’s no fuel source, you can always solar puff so long as you’ve got clear skies, and wind is no obstacle since there’s no flame.
Aluminium Cans and Other DIY MacGyver-Styled Devices
Although most tokers rely on pipes, joints, or blunts to smoke their weed, the only thing truly limiting how we smoke is our imagination. People throughout history have fashioned smoking devices from everyday household objects like aluminum cans and five-gallon water cooler jugs.
Gallery — Cheers to the Art of Dabbing
Hot-Knifing, Dabbing, and Other Heated-Element Approaches
Just as there’s no true limit to smoking weed through a tube — whether that tube is made of glass, metal, plastic, or paper — there are other ways to smoke weed without a pipe or rolling sheet. For instance, hot-knifing, which was a precursor to today’s dabbing craze, is a method for smoking hash that uses two pressed ends of red-hot butter knives. And while dabbing itself is technically a form of vaporizing weed, when it’s done at higher temperatures, it does combust the dabbable hash, wax, or oil just like smoking does.
Follow Randy Robinson on Twitter