Marijuana. She’s a beautiful and mysterious mistress, and man, she’s had a great year! While the days of toking up the old fashioned way are far from gone, the modern stoner has no shortage of options as to what method they would like to take their cannabis. It seems like each day brings new and creative ways to consume cannabis. From new ways of smoking flowers to the rebirth of hash products, cannabis keeps it fresh. These days smoking marijuana is an art that has gained the appreciation of the masses.
Different ways to smoke marijuana
Now, by “smoke” we mean different ways to actively combust cannabis. People have been smoking the stuff for centuries, but stoners are known for making a great thing even better.
Joints - It doesn’t get more classic than the joint. The beauty of the joint lies in its simplicity. When we take something down to its basic components we can get creative with the rest. The cross joint is a perfect example of an upgraded and fun way to enhance the smoking experience. There are also devices called “joint bubblers”, these devices make it possible to smoke a joint like a bong! Using a bubbler will make the joint hit just a little bit smoother.
Glass Pieces - The world of glass art has become something of a connoisseur market much like that of cannabis. The mechanics of smoking out of glass have remained the same, the creative aspect of the pieces themselves have evolved beautifully. This is where the art of smoking cannabis becomes a reality when you’re smoking out of a piece of art. Some of the top artists in the glass world are LaceFace, Buck, Scott Deppe, and Banjo. Some of these artists have collaborated to create awe inspiring work such as this pirate ship. Truth be told there are too many artists that blow exquisite glass to list, but this is a good starting point to appreciate the art of the glass world. Of course you don’t have to buy an expensive artistic pipe to benefit from high quality glass. When investing in a piece of glass, pay attention to the type of glass the piece is made out of. Borosilicate glass is arguably the highest quality glass for smoking accessories. It is the same glass that Pyrex cookware is made out of. It is far more durable than regular glass and stands up to heat well.
The art of vaporizing marijuana
When many people hear the word “vape” they think about the thickeners and nasty chemicals that were added to black market cartridges and causing serious health problems. We aren’t denying that there is a dark side to vaporizing cannabis, but it can be a healthy and convenient way to enjoy cannabis when done responsibly and legally.
Flower Vapes - Dried herb vaporizers have actually been around for decades. The basic design of a vaporizer consists of a small oven to heat up the cannabis and a hose for the smoker to inhale through. The oven activates the cannabinoids and causes them to be released without combusting. This method provides the benefits of smoking without the carcinogens of inhaling smoke. Today there are numerous companies such as the Volcano, Pax, and Vaporbrothers that range from large tabletop vaporizers to handhelds that look like a power bank for a phone.
Concentrate Vapes - You may remember from our posts about concentrates that in their most basic form, concentrates are just the cannabinoids that have been separated from the rest of the plant matter. There are vape pens on the market that are designed to vaporize concentrates. Most, but not all of these pens have either a ceramic dish or a coil that heats up the concentrate. These are nice because they’re convenient and the consumer has complete control of what goes into the pen. There are pens that take cartridges as well. These can be tricky because some companies will use fake terpenes to flavor the oil. Higher quality brands will be transparent about their product and what is in it.
Dabbing - For most people, the first dab isn’t a great experience. There is definitely an art to taking the proper dab that requires a certain amount of finesse. There are a few ways to take a dab. The original method involves heating a glass, or quartz dish called a “banger” with a torch, dropping a dab and taking a hit. Most dab rigs look like bongs, but it's important not to touch the hot banger as it is extremely hot. The other way is almost the same, but instead of a torch, an electric device with a coil is attached to a dish and heats it to a set temperature, this is called an e-nail. This method is popular among those who want to dab but are put off by the torch and glass.
Now that we have the basic mechanics of taking a dab out of the way, let’s talk finesse. One of the best parts about dabbing is that the flavor of the strain is much more pure than with smoking. The biggest mistake that people make when dabbing is taking one that is too hot. This can cause violent coughing and is anything but pleasant. Terpenes burn off at lower temperatures than THC, so a general rule is the lower temperature the dab, the smoother and more delicious it will be. A low-temp dab is between 315-450 degrees. This window vaporizes the oil rather than char it. This will taste great and produce a more mild and balanced high. A medium-temp dab is between 450-600. This will be a mixture of smoke and vapor and provide a more intense high. This is where an electric nail is handy because the temperature will already be preset to perfection. It can be tricky if using a banger and torch since there is no built in thermometer. The material and age of the banger will also influence the way the dab is taken. Quartz is considered the best material since it retains heat better and is more durable than glass. The banger is heated until it is glowing red, the key here is waiting the right amount of time before dropping the dab and taking the hit. Usually the sweet spot is about 30-45 seconds, but each one will differ. Infrared thermometers are useful for dialing in the temperature of the banger.
The legalization of cannabis has opened countless doors to new and creative ways to enjoy smoking and appreciating the art that ensues. The beauty of the industry is ever changing and we are here for it! If you’re curious about trying a new cannabis product, your local budtender will happily help you find something new and exciting. As always consume responsibly.