WTF Is a Hemp Wick and Why Should You Use One?
Why is it healthier and tastier to light your joint with a hemp wick? Get enlightened about this butane lighter alternative.
Published on January 9, 2020

When it comes to the bare necessities required to smoke cannabis, a lighter may be second only to pot itself. Yes, a pipe or consumption apparatus (be it papers, an apple, or the slippery slope that is gravity bongs) will be required, too. However, while we are currently able to regularly enjoy a variety of cannabis strains and a multitude of means with which to smoke them, lighters have remained one area where few, if any, alternatives are ever considered. 

Sure, there are Bics and Zippos and even butane-free plasma lighters — as well as the tried and true standby, matches — but in terms of doing the least harm to our health, it’s arguable that nothing beats a hemp wick. 

As a refresher, hemp plants are a non-psychoactive strain of the cannabis sativa plant. For centuries, hemp has been used to manufacture rope, sails, cloth, and much more. At present, it is also making a compelling case as an immensely appealing alternative to petrochemical plastics. Replacing environmentally harmful plastics with hemp is becoming easier, too, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp in the US for the first time in nearly 100 years. 

OK, but what is a hemp wick — and why should you consider picking one up for your stash box?


What Exactly Is a Hemp Wick?

If the word “wick” has you thinking about candles, you’re right on the money. In essence, a hemp wick is a length of twine that one can ignite and use in place of a traditional lighter. Coated in beeswax, hemp wicks burn slow and taste natural — two big reasons to consider giving one a shot the next time you’re planning to roast a bowl or fire up the bong.

The thinking behind hemp wicks is that if you have to inhale something from your heat source as a means of taking a hit, why not smoke more of what you’re already smoking? Given hemp and what’s in your bowl are both cannabis, using a hemp wick means you’ll never have to breathe in any lighter butane or glue and chemical fumes from a match.

Another appeal of hemp wicks — and a leg-up they have on other butane-free options like plasma lighters — is the fact that they burn at a low temperature, which allows consumers to enjoy smoother hits (the hotter the smoke, the more likely you are to cough). For the same reason, using a hemp wick also makes it easier to clearly taste your chosen flower’s terpene profile. 

How to Use a Hemp Wick

Using a hemp wick is super simple. Ironically, you’ll need a lighter or matches to light one end, but from there you can put those aside. Dip the lit end of the hemp wick into the bowl of your pipe or tip of your joint to take hits as desired. When finished, just put the wick out in the same manner you’d extinguish a candle. 



Where to Buy Hemp Wicks

Nowadays, you can grab hemp wick everywhere from Amazon to Wal-Mart. Plenty of small businesses carry hemp wicks, too, including many dispensaries and head shops. Those looking to sample the experience can purchase some wax-coated hemp twine for as little a few dollars. Alternatively, one can also buy rolls that measure hundreds of feet in length. 

In short: if you’re sold on giving hemp wicks a shot, it’s never been easier to bring some home and give your trusty Bic a rest. 

Follow Zack Ruskin on Twitter

Zack Ruskin
Zack Ruskin is a cannabis and culture journalist living in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @zackruskin.
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