Review: The PerfectPipe – A Filtered Pipe For Cannabis
By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
A bold name, you might say, for little chillum to claim they are the “perfect pipe”. Most cannabis smoking aficionados do not consider a chillum to be perfect, by any means. They are small, they hold a small amount, and they aren’t shaped like a pipe…more like a cigarette. But, this is not your average chillum, that’s for sure.
What Randal Barrett and his company R&D Innovations LLC, has created is a small, portable, effective smoking pipe that holds a small filter, like a cigarette filter. Barrett explained that the PerfectPipe was scientifically designed to eliminate the hot ash and decrease the hot tar and particulates from getting into your mouth and throat. We were intrigued and wanted to try their product.
We got a couple of pipe kits from PerfectPipe and a package of filters to try out. At first glance, they seem a bit unimpressive. That was just the packaging, which is the only poorly designed element of the PerfectPipe. It could be more exciting and up-to-date. The rest of the system worked effectively and simply.
Following the instructions that come with the pipe, we loaded a small amount of ground cannabis flower into the receptacle end, which holds a small stainless steel screen as a layer of first protection. We lit the pipe with a Bic lighter, not a torch lighter which, according to PerfectPipe, can be more harmful than a simple flame due to the intense heat they produce. (Tip: Remove flame quickly, fire destroys desired elements instantly!) We drew on it slowly so not to unduly increase the heat and make more sparks than necessary. Their instructions are clear on using the technique of a slow, gentle draw to reduce the heat.
It worked great! The hit was much cooler than my usual pipe hit, and much less harsh. As a former cigarette smoker, the filter was a refreshing addition since it did help with the heat and sparks. I thought it worked as Barrett claimed. It was simple and effective.
There is an occasion… or two…a week…when I smoke my old trusty glass pipe, that a HUGE spark will ignite and go straight down the pipe, through the mouthpiece, strategically miss my teeth, tongue, and roof of my mouth to travel part way down my throat, making me gag and cough unbearably. After hitting the PerfectPipe, I pondered how many much smaller ashy particles were making it much further into my respiratory system than just past my tonsils, and with every single drag on my pipe, not just the occasional break-free spark!
The pipe comes with some filters, but you will want to get a ample supply (they’re only $1.95 for 100). The instructions explain that after each bowl smoked, you should replace the filter. You only have to cut one apart to see the effectiveness and why another filter is recommended. Plus, your next bowl will taste much better!
The overall cost is low. The pipe itself is usually sold as a five pack for $24.95. The kit includes 5 PerfectPipes with Courtesy Caps, 1 PerfectPipe Tool, extra screens & Filters. Additional filters are only 1.95 for 100, or you can get a smaller kit with 1 Pipe, screens, filters, and tool for under 10 dollars. They also their large package deal, the Cleaning Kit set, which also includes a Box w/5 Pipes & Filters, 20 Courtesy Caps & 25 Stainless Steel Screens, all for only $34.95.
There is another reason I found the idea of filtered cannabis smoke interesting. I have been a hard core pipe smoker for many years. 30 years ago I used small metal pipes, often brass, and made a few from plumbing parts I got at the local hardware store. 15 years ago I switched to hard glass pipes when I was exposed to amazing Oregon glass, which is still my preferred method of using cannabis. However, this past April I had a heart attack at 49 years old and it has made me reconsider my marijuana consumption method of choice, smoking a pipe. After all, my cigarette smoking is the driving force behind the heart attack in the first place.
We all know marijuana is medicinal, but smoking anything is not a very good idea, not even medical cannabis, and especially if you have suffered a heart attack! Smoke is not good for your arteries, and I was told by my cardiologist that cannabis could be harmful as well, so the PerfectPipe may help me prevent a little of the irritation and harmful effects of the smoke. Edibles are probably what I should be doing, but smoking a little weed from time to time is something I can still enjoy with this product.
How to pack and smoke a bowl of cannabis
There are many ways to smoke cannabis, but perhaps none are as well-known as smoking a bowl in a pipe. Learning how to pack and smoke a bowl is an essential lesson in cannabis consumption that enthusiasts at both ends of the spectrum can benefit from.
Whether you’re interested in packing a pipe for a personal smoking session or preparing a bowl for a party, understanding these fundamental principles will help optimize your bowl-smoking experience.
Choosing the right cannabis pipe
Cannabis contraptions come in all shapes and sizes, but smoking pipes are arguably the most popular. Adapted from traditional pipes used for tobacco, the cannabis pipe shares all of the same key characteristics.
Pipes consist of a bowl, a round basin deep enough to pack herb in, as well as an airtight channel that delivers smoke and air through a mouthpiece. In many cases, pipes also contain a second air channel known as a carb that is used to regulate the airflow through the pipe. As long as a pipe contains the first two items at the very least, you can smoke cannabis out of it.
Traditionally, pipes used for tobacco smoking were made out of material such as wood, bamboo, or even ceramics. However, cannabis pipes today are widely made using borosilicate glass, as the medium is incredibly versatile.
While most states still widely market glass pipes as tobacco smoking accessories, they can be found in collectable and gift shops, and also head shops. You can also find them online, at cannabis events, and even in high-end glass art museums.
Pipes can vary widely in shape and size, as well as in complexity, functionality, and availability. Bongs and bubblers utilize water to filter cannabis smoke and cool it prior to inhalation.
A common, basic type of pipe is called a “spoon,” because of its shape. These are the best pipes to begin with if you are new to cannabis, as they are small, easy to use, and are typically inexpensive.
What you need to get started packing a bowl
In order to smoke weed out of a pipe, you’re going to need a few essential items to get started. Other than your bowl or pipe, you will need some form of heating element—the most basic one is a lighter.
Traditional butane lighters work well, though there is a myriad of non-butane heating elements out there to choose from, if you want to avoid a butane flavor in your bowl. The most effective lighters and heaters will allow for optimal heating control when combusting or vaporizing a bowl.
Some consumers prefer to light their bowls with hemp wick, a waxy piece of hemp string that ignites easily, maintains an even burn, and doesn’t give off an undesirable aftertaste.
Another heating element used often is a glass wand that can be heated to a point where it will vaporize your herb on contact, eliminating combustion smoke altogether while still delivering cannabinoids and flavor through a lighter hit.
Another factor to consider is whether or not to use a screen for your pipe. Screens can help keep you from inhaling burning bits of cannabis, but if you don’t have a pack of pipe screens, here are a few nifty tricks to consider:
- Twist a piece of wire or a paperclip it into coil
- Use a screen from a faucet head
We don’t recommend using aluminum foil, a soda can, or a window screen as a makeshift pipe screen, as these are often coated with materials that are hazardous to inhale.
Preparing cannabis for smoking a bowl is essential to maximize airflow through your device and deliver an even smoke. In order to do this, breaking down your herb is a crucial step. Doing this creates a homogenous airflow through the bowl where smoke can pass through evenly.
How to pack and smoke a bowl or pipe: a step-by-step guide
- Get your pipe, some weed, and a grinder if you have one.
- Loosely grind up your weed—make sure it’s evenly broken down but not too finely ground. Hand pulling your herb is the most basic way to do this, but grinders make this process much easier.
- Put the ground or broken up weed in your pipe. Some pro tips to help maximize airflow:
- Use a stem and/or nice-sized intact calyx to stuff at the very bottom of your bowl to prevent pieces from passing though. You can also use a screen if you have one.
- Pack your herb lightly at the bottom and slightly denser at the top for an even smoke. This allows the cannabis toward the top to maintain a burn—or cherry—while opening up airflow for easy inhalation without clogging.
- Put a flame or other heating element to it and enjoy!
Etiquette for smoking a bowl in a group
We all started somewhere, so for everybody first learning how to smoke a pipe, there are a few pieces of etiquette to follow to ensure you have the best possible experience. When engaging in a smoking session with others, make sure you pack a bowl that’s proportional to the size of the number of people in your smoking circle.
For an intimate session, pack a personal bowl or a “snap” when alone or with one other person. This way, you take turns lighting personally packed micro bowls meant to be consumed in one single hit.
For larger groups, heavier packed “party bowls” ensure each smoking buddy gets a fresh hit of green herb. Everyone should get a green hit.
Traditionally, the provider of the cannabis will determine who gets to light the first hit. To make sure everyone gets the same experience, make sure to corner your bowl by only lighting a fraction of the visible cannabis. This lets everyone get the same great flavor without leaving an ashy hit for somebody at the end.
If the bowl is already lit, feel free to pass it, but let your passing buddy know the bowl is cherried.
Lastly, never pocket a lighter. Everyone hates a lighter thief!
With these tips in mind, smoking a bowl should be a walk in the park. Always remember to use proper etiquette when packing a bowl for friends, and make sure you are consuming cannabis in a safe and legal place. Pack a fat one, call some friends, and have at it!
This post was originally published on October 27, 2016. It was most recently updated on April 8, 2020.
There are many ways to consume cannabis, but none are as well-known as smoking a bowl. Learn how to properly pack and smoke a bowl for your next session.