Watch enough movies and stream enough television series, and you would believe the only way people use cannabis involves smoking joints, spliffs, or blunts. However, there are options. One old school way to us is by packing and smoking a cannabis bowl.
Using a bowl may be the original way the ancients consumed their cannabis for fun, medical help, or spiritual experience. It remains a convenient if indiscrete way to enjoy cannabis.
Here’s what we’re talking about –
A pipe bowl holds the cannabis. It may be part of a traditional pipe in scores of shapes and materials. The pipe may be a corn cob or peace pipe style, or it may be made of the finest woods, colorful glass, sculpted ceramics, or more. A bowl may also be part of a water pipe or bong. You will find them simple or ornately carved. In any case, the bowl is where you place and pack the cannabis to be enjoyed.
You want to pack the bowl with cannabis to maximize the quantity but optimize the airflow through the burning weed. Getting that balance just right can be tricky for beginners, so here are some tips on how to pack and smoke your bowl.
How to pack and smoke your cannabis bowl –
1. Keep it clean. You should keep the interior clean of debris and accumulations on the bottom and sides. Some wood bowls improve with age. The pipe material is “seasoned” with use so some of the previous use flavors your current use. However, glass, ceramic, and other materials should be cleaned before and after use to avoid a buildup of carbons and oils.
You gently tap the leftovers in the bowl. Then, you remove any material stuck to bottom or sides with a Q-tip, pipe cleaner, or a pipe smoker’s tool available where they sell pipe tobacco. Whatever your tool, you must avoid damaging or breaking the bowl. If you leave any scratches, they will only fill with waste product.
Then, you gently swab the bowl interior with an alcohol wipe or clean rag soaked with household rubbing alcohol (at least 90% isopropyl). Better yet, you can submerge the bowl in a plastic bag or container filled with rubbing alcohol.
Add a tablespoon of salt to the alcohol, and you have an abrasive solution that will reach parts of the bowl you may not reach with a tool. The alcohol dissolves the resin, tar, and other chemical stains. Shake the bag or container vigorously, and the salt should scrape off the remaining materials.
Shake the container again for 1 to 2 minutes, but allow the pipe to soak for several hours, maybe even overnight. When you remove the pipe, you should rub it clean and dry with an alcohol wipe or soft rag soaked with the isopropyl.
You may have to repeat the process for very dirty bowls, but if you clean yours after every use, the process will come flow easily.
2. Get ready. A bowl may hold an entire cannabis nug, but that’s no way to smoke. Some old timers still break their nugs apart with their fingers believing that it does not sacrifice the beneficial trichomes. However, this wastes product that sticks to your hands and only produces uneven material.
Grinders do a much better job at breaking down the cannabis. A good grinder will help you produce a variety of textures and still save the kief. Grinding produces more surfaces for the burning, and with a variety of textures, you can extend the smoke and improve the experience.
For instance, you might grind the flower to fine, medium, and coarse. If you pack the bowl with fine grind at the bottom, medium in the middle, and coarse at the top, you create a nice airflow to enhance the inhale, lengthen the burn, and improve your experience.
If you fill the pipe with fine ground cannabis, you risk packing it too tight and clogging the intake. In addition, to avoid that clogging, you may want to place a tiny screen at the bottom or place a piece of debris there to act as a screen.
Once you add the cannabis grind to the top of the bowl, you then press it down lightly. It will take some trial and error experience, but you do not want to pack the cannabis tightly. You will be lighting the surface, and you want to optimize the draft when you draw on it. When gently packed, the fire and heat reach more product to create the most potent effect.
3. Layer it. “Packing” may not be the correct word because it suggests you force and press the cannabis into the bowl. However, if it is packed too firmly, you will not be able to inhale the smoke and vapor.
You might do better if you think of layering the product into the bowl. You add some cannabis and tamp it down lightly; then, you repeat the process a few times until it is full. You might sprinkle some kief in among the product as you layer it in. You also do not want to pack the cannabis into the carb (hole) on the side. The carb helps the combustion and inhaling process.
4. Smoke it. You must consider how the pipe smoking process works. You will not draw on it repeatedly as you would with a cigarette. You are going to inhale, hold the air deep in your lungs, and exhale slowly.
The hit will take a few minutes, so the burn is likely to go out in the meantime. You won’t take the next draw for a while as you enjoy the previous hit. So, you must tend the burn repeatedly. You start by lighting the edge of the bowl opposite the carb. Most users light theirs with cheap butane lighters that can leave a butane after taste. You may want to use a hemp wick. The hemp wick continues the burn without an aftertaste and reduces the need for repeated lights.
Having lit the top of the packed fuel, you inhale deeply with a finger covering the carb. You release the carb after this draw on the smoke and wait before you resume. If the burn goes out, you must repeat the process from the start. With experience, you should develop a nice rhythm.
Your takeaway –
Using a pipe to consume your cannabis promises new rewards. It is cleaner than rolling yours in paper and risking irritation from the carbon, tar, and resin. It does require some maintenance and patience. However, packing and smoking a cannabis bowl is likely to provide a more potent cannabis experience.