If the last time you smoked cannabis was out of a dented pop can in your folks’ basement, you may be surprised how much the experience has improved.
With recreational marijuana legal in Washington and pot shops even more plentiful than liquor stores once were, you might want to try to smoke better quality product in a more relaxed, comfortable environment – and no grown-ups stomping around upstairs.
You also might want to try a legit pipe. We’re not saying the innovative pipes fashioned by your stoner buddy Blaze made from an apple or a Budweiser can weren’t innovative, but the high could be better out of a piece actually made for modern weed.
Today, there are choices of vape pens, bubblers or edibles to get high. But if you want to rock it old school, or are deciding to get back into the ganja game now that recreational marijuana is legal, you might want to stick with the classic pipe.
Pipes are easier to use than rolling joints. Big bongs are large and not very mobile. But pipes are classic and versatile. They range from ones so small you can fit them into your pocket, to jewelry such as rings and bracelets that double as pipes, to large art pieces in shapes like unicorns, skulls and aliens.
So how do you decide? Especially since there are a lot of materials out there these days, including wood, ceramic, metal, glass, plastic, stone, composite, or silicone. Take a peek.
If you are looking for something that’s a conversation starter as well as functional, glass is probably your material.
“We have a focus on buying local glass,” said Kayla Keane, manager at the south Spokane Satori store.
That’s because every Satori shop has a Piece of Mind head shop next door. POM specializes in the ‘functional art glass movement,’ according to its website, offering a huge variety of glass pipes in all shapes, sizes and colors and featuring local glass artists.
“We have some really cool, amazing pieces,” said Keane. “And we’re big on local support.”
Glass pipes are probably most prevalent today and possibly the most popular as they are easy to clean, affordable and don’t add a foreign taste to marijuana. However, they are easy to break (talk about harshing your buzz), and tend to be larger than other materials.
Some traditional glass pipe users have moved to acrylic or silicone pipes in recent years as they are lighter weight, stronger and cheaper.
“The silicone ones are super popular right now… the Eyce pipes,” said a budtender at Green Light who declined to provide her name.
Eyce pipes are made from 100 percent FDA Certified Platinum Cured Silicone, according to the company’s website, and designed to be ergonomic. Which probably is a good thing if you put in a lot of time using a pipe.
Metal pipes are durable, easy to clean and often small, so they can fit in a purse or pocket. The drawback to metal is the taste. They can sometimes add a metallic taste to the marijuana.
Stone pipes don’t have extra taste, but are porous and build up residue. That porousness also means they are brittle and can crack. A lot of people overlook this because they are unique and cool looking and there’s that whole play on words thing about “getting stoned.”
Wood pipes have their fans as well, although they were much more popular when choices and pipe shopping was limited to head shops or making your own. Wood was also popular for stylistic reasons.
Everyone had a friend who was passing off a funky wood pipe as a cool carving to their parents. Or maybe it was the other way around; the parents claimed that naked woman pipe was really a statue.
Others liked the look of smoking from a wood pipe, just like some people liked to smoke tobacco out of wood pipes. Those pipes have long stems to cool the smoke before it reached the mouth and to keep smoke out of the eyes. Some with very long stems, known as “Gandalf” pipes after the Lord of the Rings guy, were popular when the movies came out. Or for Dungeons and Dragons game nights but weren’t big sellers overall.
Matthew Hawkins, Director of Operations at Green Nugget, says he has a box of 20 to 30 Gandalf-style pipes that has been floating around the store for more than a year.
“I think wood is a scary material for many people,” he said. “It’s hard to clean, it’s hard to maintain.”
He does sell some here and there for costumes or jokes though.
If getting high is no joke to you, there are many knowledgeable employees at local pot shops who can walk you through the many pipe options.