I didn’t quite realize how intimidating the steps to preparing cannabis for smoking can be to the average new cannabis patient until I had patient after patient ask me how to do it. I hope this post (and Smokable 101 series) helps make it that much more approachable. Preparing my cannabis for smoking (rolling joints and blunts) has become a relaxing part of the process for me now. A time to disconnect from the outside world, interact with the plant, and focus my intentions. I know that sounds a bit woo hoo now, but all my long term cannabis patients and lovers feel me.
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What We’ll Cover:
Preparing For Smoking - Grinding Your Medicine
Pipes, Bowls, Bongs, & Other “Pieces”
I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention that I recommend vaporization over smoking for a multitude of reasons - health being the first. Despite these reasons, I find myself smoking more than any other method and I know I’m not alone. Smoking is incredibly fast, effective, and accessible. An expensive device is not required to get started. You can buy a pack of rolling papers or a small pipe at practically any gas station in the US for a few dollars. For many it’s an easy and efficient starting place.
Preparing for Smoke - Grind Your Goods
Grinding, or otherwise breaking up your cannabis, will help to provide for a smooth, even, and consistent burn or vaporization. It increases surface area, allowing air to flow freely and helps to avoid clogs. If you prefer blunts and joints, grinding or breaking up your medicine is an absolute must.
While some prefer to break their cannabis flower up by hand I don’t recommend it - it wastes medicine. Cannabis flower is delicate, especially the cannabinoid rich resin heads called trichomes that like to stick to fingers. Instead, opt for a grinder with a bottom chamber designed to collect kief. The collected kief can be added on top of bowls, joints, etc for a kick in potency.
I’ve had plenty over the years, but my favorite grinder continues to be the Chromium Crusher. My hands don’t always work in my favor, so I appreciate the textured design that makes turning the grinder - especially with sticky bud, so much easier.
How to Use
Remove the top chamber and place a small nug (piece of cannabis flower) into the top section. Discard any stems.
Replace top of grinder and turn clockwise until you feel it become a bit easier to turn/grind. Turn back and forth from counter clockwise to clockwise to loosen any stuck pieces.
Open middle chamber to reveal finely ground cannabis. Check top chamber for any remaining chunks and free them with a pick or tool tapping into middle chamber.
As desired, removed bottom chamber and carefully spoon collected kief onto bowls, joints, etc.
Ways to Smoke Cannabis
Joints are rolled cannabis “cigarettes” wrapped in paper, although they do not contain tobacco like traditional cigarettes. Patients can purchase medical cannabis pre-rolls at dispensaries that come ready to smoke as purchased.
There are 3 options for making your own joints:
Cones - pre-rolled papers with a tool for packing your ground herb
Rolling by hand - you’ll need papers, practice, and patience
Using a rolling machine - simple & inexpensive
While I can roll by hand, I do prefer using a rolling machine for the speed, ease of use, and consistency. I typically avoid cones as I find the burn to be inconsistent and not worth the increased cost, but it’s usually the best option for someone brand new to cannabis or those with fine motor difficulties.
Blunts are similar to joints, but more closely resemble cigars. They are a bit larger than joints and are hand rolled with a leaf or wrap instead of a paper. Wraps can be purchased in sets or removed from existing tobacco cigars and rerolled with cannabis. Like joints, blunts can also be packed into cones such as King Palm Slim Rolls. Blunts tend to burn slower than joints, but are much more costly in comparison to a pack of rolling papers. Use hemp based wraps to avoid nicotine consumption (my favorite are Higher Standards Hemp Wraps from Green Street Vapor.)
Pipes, Bongs, Bubblers and Other “Pieces”
There are a wide array of pipes, bongs, bubblers, and other pieces on the market. Materials range from artisan hand blown glass to inexpensive acrylic and plastics. They all typically function in the same way - there is a “bowl’ where ground medicine is packed and lighted. This bowl has an airflow to a mouthpiece in which you inhale. Most pieces also have a small hole called a carb cap. Cover the carb cap with your thumb or finger while lighting/inhaling and release to clear the pipe.
Overtime I have collected an array of flower and smoking accessories, but a few are on my must have list. We’ll cover these, and how to use the smoking tools above in better detail in a future post!
Scoop tool - I was recently given this as a gift and have no idea how I lived without it