How to pack a bowl
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- What is a bowl?
- What you need to pack a bowl
- Step-by-step instructions for packing a bowl
- Why people like smoking from glass bowls
- Why people hate smoking from glass bowls
- Bottom line
Smoking a bowl is a classic method for smoking marijuana. Bowls are mainstays in cannabis culture. Here’s everything you need to know about packing and smoking a bowl.
What is a bowl?
A bowl is one of the main components of a pipe or bong. Specifically, a bowl is the rounded-out part into which you pack your marijuana. The name of this component comes from an obvious source—a bowl is basically a small dish or basin designed for holding cannabis.
When you ignite the marijuana and give your pipe or bong a drag, the smoke travels through the bowl, down the hole, into the pipe, and from there, into your lungs. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The bowl is attached to the body of your pipe or bong. At the bottom of your bowl, there will be a hole leading to the body of the pipe. When you ignite the marijuana and give your pipe or bong a drag, the smoke travels through the bowl, down the hole, into the pipe, and from there, into your lungs.
Bowls look and function a little bit differently depending on if they’re used in a regular pipe or in a bong. Bowls on the end of a pipe typically have a hole on the side called a carb. The carb plays a key role in controlling airflow, so you can let the pipe fill with smoke and then clear it when you’re ready to take a hit. On the other hand, bowls used with a bong usually do not have a carb. Instead, you control airflow by sliding the bowl in and out of your bong’s downstem.
What you need to pack a bowl
To pack and smoke a bowl, you will need:
- A grinder
- A pipe with a bowl on the end. The simplest kind is called a “spoon pipe,” but there are also variations, such as bubblers which include a small water chamber in addition to the bowl and body.
- Depending on your smoking preferences, you may need a bong with a downstem and bowl.
- A lighter or hemp wick to combust your marijuana
- As an extra option, you can use a tamping tool to more evenly pack the marijuana into the bowl.
Step-by-step instructions for packing a bowl
Option 1: Packing a bowl on a regular pipe
1. Grind your weed. If you’re using a spoon pipe, or some variation of a spoon pipe, you will begin by grinding your marijuana. The goal is to get a consistent grind so that all the little pieces of marijuana are more or less the same size.
The best way to accomplish this is with a grinder. If you have a grinder, place a medium-sized nug into the chamber where the grinding teeth are located. Put the cap back on and twist it back and forth until the nug is completely ground. If you do not have a grinder, you can use a pair of clean, sharp scissors or your hands to break your nug into small, evenly-sized pieces.
Place a medium-sized nug into the chamber where the grinding teeth are located. Put the cap back on and twist it back and forth until the nug is completely ground. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
2. Pack your bowl. Once you’ve ground your marijuana, carefully pick up a pinch of weed between your fingertips. Place the weed into the bowl and gently tamp it down with your finger, the flat end of a lighter, or a tamping tool. Don’t pack it too tightly, otherwise you’ll have difficulty pulling the smoke through the bowl and into the pipe.
Tip: Place your pipe over a plate or tray while you’re packing it so you can easily gather up any pieces of weed that happen to fall out of the bowl during the process.
Once you’ve ground your marijuana, carefully pick up a pinch of weed between your fingertips and pack the weed into the bowl. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
3. Smoke your pipe. Hold the bowl in one hand with your thumb covering the carb hole. Place the pipe to your lips. With your other hand, use a lighter or hemp wick to light a corner of the bowl. Once the weed sparks, pull the flame away and begin dragging in with your lungs. When you’re ready to inhale, remove your thumb from the carb and give a big drag. All the smoke that has built up inside the pipe will now rush into your lungs.
Hold the bowl in one hand with your thumb covering the carb hole. Place the pipe to your lips. With your other hand, light a corner of the bowl. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
4. Ash your bowl. When the marijuana has all been burned, dump out the ash so your bowl is ready to be re-packed for your next session.
Option 2: Packing a bowl in a bong
1. Grind your weed. As with a regular spoon pipe, the goal here is to get a consistent grind so that all the little pieces of marijuana are more or less the same size.
The best way to accomplish this is with a grinder. If you have a grinder, place a medium-sized nug into the chamber where the grinding teeth are located. Put the cap on and twist it back and forth until the nug is completely ground. If you do not have a grinder, you can use a pair of clean, sharp scissors or your hands to break your nug into small, evenly-sized pieces.
2. Pack your bowl. Once you’ve ground your marijuana, carefully pick up a pinch of weed between your fingertips. Place the weed into the bowl and gently tamp it down with your finger, the flat end of a lighter, or a tamping tool. Don’t pack it down too tightly, otherwise you’ll have difficulty pulling the smoke through the bowl and into the bong.
Tip: Set your bong on top of a plate or tray while you’re packing the bowl so you can easily gather up any pieces of weed that happen to fall out of the bowl during the process.
3. Smoke your bong. Slide your weed-packed bowl into the downstem of your bong. When it’s in place, use a lighter or hemp wick to ignite the weed. As you do this, put your mouth to the mouthpiece and start pulling in with your lungs. You will see the smoke travel from the bowl, flow through the downstem, and begin bubbling up through the water in the base of your bong. When you’re ready to take a hit, continue pulling in with your lungs and slide the bowl out of the downstem. This will create an open flow of air, allowing you to clear the chamber and inhale all the smoke.
Slide your weed-packed bowl into the downstem of your bong. When it’s in place, use a lighter or hemp wick to ignite the weed. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
4. Ash your bowl. When you’re finished and you’ve fully combusted all the marijuana in your bowl, dump out the ash so your bowl is ready to re-pack for your next session.
Why people like smoking from glass bowls
If you’re packing and smoking a bowl, odds are that you’re using a glass smoking device. Glass is known for providing a simple, straightforward, and clean way to smoke cannabis. Specifically, because glass is an inert substance, it can be heated without leaching residual odors, flavors, or contaminants into the smoke. As such, many smokers enjoy glass pieces because they can be used over and over again without detracting from marijuana’s natural tastes and smells. Additionally, when a glass bowl or pipe becomes dirty or gunked up with sticky resin, the material can easily be cleaned and returned to like-new condition.
Why people hate smoking from glass bowls
There are a few reasons some cannabis smokers don’t like smoking from glass. Glass can shatter, chip, and break, especially if you drop your piece or ash in too aggressively.
In rare cases, poorly-made glass can shatter under intense heat, which could be dangerous.
Glass pieces are not as mobile or discreet as other methods of smoking. Even small glass pipes like chillums get dirty and smelly after a few uses, thanks to the sticky resin that coats the bowl or pipe after smoking. This makes glass hard to carry with you or use for on-the-go smoking.
Some smokers simply prefer the experience of rolling and smoking a joint, spliff, or blunt, as opposed to packing and smoking a bowl.
With a few basic cannabis supplies, such as a grinder, packing and smoking a bowl is easy to achieve, especially if you’re using one made of glass.
How to pack a bowl Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is a bowl? What you need to pack a bowl Step-by-step instructions for packing a
Recreational Marijuana 101: How to Smoke a Pipe
One of the most recognizable smoking devices is a cannabis pipe. These pipes are categorized in two groups: carb and carb-less. Those with a “carb,” or small hole, allow for the clearing of smoke in the pipe.
Carb-less pipes are referred to as “chillums” or “one-hitters.” These are available in a variety of shapes, and are usually straight tubes that mimic the appearance of cigarettes or discrete designs.
Pipes with a carb are often called “bowls” or “spoons.” They’re generally spoon-shaped in form. Pipes with carbs are designed for larger amounts of cannabis, and they can generally go around a circle of friends for multiple puffs.
Pipe Smoking for Beginners
When compared to joints or blunts, the primary benefits of consuming cannabis with a pipe are increased smoke and less ash. While joints, blunts, and other rolled options may be seen as more portable, their combustion method involves a significant amount of ash.
Additionally, a clean pipe will be less harsh than a joint or blunt.
How cannabis pipes work
Pipes provide their function using three aspects of the device:
- The mouthpiece: where you put your mouth
- The bowl: where you put your cannabis flower
- The carb hole: some pipes have a carb hole to allow the consumer to “clear” the pipe of residual smoke.
The cannabis is heated and smoke is inhaled through the mouthpiece.
How to choose a pipe
Choosing a pipe is based on personal taste. Standard chillums may be made out of clear glass or cigarette-shaped, while more intricate one hitters and bowls vary in color, shape, size, and details. If you want something that can be discreetly held in the palm of your hand, a one-hitter may be your best option. They’re carb-less, small, and typically stored in a wooden “dugout”.
If you’re looking for a piece that will last a long time, allow for larger smoke sessions, and has a carb hole, then a bowl is likely your best option. While you won’t be able to test the pipe before you buy, you can hold it as if you were using it to see how it feels in your hands and whether you can easily use the carb hole.
How to pack a pipe
When it comes to packing your pipe, ground cannabis is always your best option. It makes for a uniform burn and airflow, which means you’ll get the most consistent hits. Grind your cannabis in a grinder if you have one, or use your fingers to tear the flower into tiny bits. Fill the bowl of your pipe with a few pinches of ground herb.
If it is a larger bowl, you may need to grind up more cannabis, whereas smaller bowls and one-hitters require a small amount to fill the bowl.
How to smoke a pipe
Once loaded, ignite the bowl of cannabis using a lighter or hemp wick, while inhaling from the mouthpiece. If there is a carb, be sure to cover the carb hole using your thumb or finger while inhaling the first half of your puff. Then release your finger and allow air to flow through the carb hole while you inhale the second half of your hit.
For cannabis beginners, be sure to start with small amounts in each bowl, and wait several minutes between inhalations. Cannabis varies in potency, so “go slow and low” until you’ve developed familiarity with cannabis products.
How to clean a pipe
The more often you clean your pipe, the easier it will be to maintain. While cleaning after every use may be excessive, a 2019 study by Moose Labs shows that even a 10-minute smoking session with four friends will more than double the amount of bacteria on the mouthpiece of the pipe.
Soaking in isopropyl alcohol and acetone are great options for cleaning your pipes. If there’s a bit of resin that is stuck inside, add a few pinches of salt (epsom salt is the best) and shake to agitate the residue and help remove any leftover remnants and bacteria
A three-minute isopropyl alcohol soak is the most effective way to reduce bacteria and other residuals.
How to store a pipe
If your pipe is made of a material that could shatter, such as glass, clay or crystals, you’ll want to store it in something protective, such as a padded case or bag to keep it safe from impact shocks and bumps. Pipes made of wood, metals like aluminium, silicon and other similar materials should be placed in their storage pouches once appropriately cooled and cleaned.
For added discretion, consider a smell-proof container that stays airtight to avoid the smells of fresh or freshly-burned cannabis escaping.
Try For Yourself
Now that you’re familiar enough with cannabis pipes to be able to choose one for yourself, give it a try on your own. Feel free to refer back to this guide when shopping for and using your new pipe for the first time. Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to enjoy your pipe and legal cannabis without much guidance.
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This pipe smoking guide for beginners walks you through everything from selecting a pipe to storing it after use.