A beginner’s guide to glass
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- Why glass?
- Main types of glass pipes on the market today
- Glass made in U.S. vs glass made in China
- Scientific glass vs. artisan glass
- Choosing the glass that’s right for you
Whether you’re a seasoned stoner or newcomer to the world of cannabis, the fact remains the same: glass is an integral part of the consumption experience. It is one of the best, most commonly used materials for smoking out of, and glass pipes range from small and simple handheld pieces to huge, wildly intricate artistic creations, and everything in between.
Glass pipes range from small and simple handheld pieces to huge, wildly intricate artistic creations, and everything in between. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What makes glass such a perfect medium for smoking cannabis? What are the different types of glass you’ll find on the market today, and which ones are the best for you? Here’s everything you need to know about glass, helping you to become a cannabis glass connoisseur the next time you visit your local head shop.
The primary reason glass is used for smoking cannabis is that it is a very clean material. To be more specific, when you heat a piece of clean glass, the only thing that really happens is the glass gets hotter. It doesn’t begin to smoke or vaporize, it doesn’t create toxic fumes, and it doesn’t emit odors or flavors. This makes glass perfectly suited for smoking cannabis flower and concentrates.
On the other hand, pipes made out of materials such as metal, plastic, or wood usually end up contaminating the cannabis smoke in one way or another, whether it’s changing the taste of the smoke, altering the odor of the smoke, or worst of all, emitting toxic fumes into the smoke.
Aside from maintaining the purity of the cannabis smoke, there’s an added bonus to using glass: style.
Glassblowers often mix in color pigments to create interesting patterns, adding artistic flair to the smoking experience. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Glassblowers often mix in color pigments to create interesting patterns, adding artistic flair to the smoking experience. Artists who specialize in high-end glass pipes also make large, elaborate pipes in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes, and designs.
Main types of glass pipes on the market today
Glass is used to make a wide variety of smoking devices. The most common are:
Spoons are widely used and are recognizable for their simple design. One end is a spoon-shaped bowl into which you pack your cannabis. There is a small hole at the bottom of the bowl that allows smoke to travel from the spoon end down into the body of the pipe. Somewhere adjacent to the bowl is another small hole, called a “carb.” You control airflow inside the pipe by covering or uncovering the carb with your finger. Finally, the body of the pipe extends out away from the bowl and carb, ending in a third opening, which is the mouthpiece.
Spoons are widely used and are recognizable for their simple design. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Bongs are defined by the inclusion of a water chamber. As smoke bubbles through the chamber, the water simultaneously cools the smoke and filters out heavy particulates, producing smoother, cooler, and all-around better-tasting smoke.
Bongs are defined by the inclusion of a water chamber. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Bubblers are essentially a mash-up of a spoon pipe and a petite-sized bong. In shape and function, they are just like a spoon pipe. They also include a small water chamber that cools and cleans the smoke. For many consumers, bubblers produce more enjoyable smoke the way a bong does, but with the smaller, more convenient size that a spoon offers.
Bubblers are essentially a mash-up of a spoon pipe and a petite-sized bong. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Glass chillums can essentially be described as a small cylinder of glass you can smoke out of. You pack one end of the cylinder with flower, ignite it, and pull the smoke through the other end of the cylinder.
Steamrollers are basically extra-large chillums that often include a small depression for packing cannabis, a carb for controlling airflow, and a much larger-diameter glass cylinder. The idea is to let you fill the pipe with tons of smoke before clearing it all at one time for a powerful punch of cannabis smoke.
Dab rigs typically use the same water filtration system as a bong, but they include a number of additional features and components designed specifically for vaporizing super-potent cannabis concentrates at higher temperatures than those for smoking flower. Instead of a bowl, for instance, a dab rig typically utilizes a nail or banger made from glass, quartz, or titanium. Once the heated chamber reaches the desired temperature, the concentrate is dabbed and filtered through water before being consumed.
Dab rigs include a number of features and components designed specifically for vaporizing super-potent cannabis concentrates at higher temperatures than those for smoking flower. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Glass made in U.S. vs glass made in China
A common debate in the world of cannabis is whether glass pieces made in the United States are fundamentally different from or of better quality than glass pieces made in places such as China.
One camp maintains that mass-produced Chinese glass is inherently inferior to American glass. According to this perspective, because Chinese glass is mass-produced and is intended to be much more affordable, manufacturers cut corners and don’t create products with as much care or quality assurance as manufacturers in the U.S.
As seen on numerous online discussion boards and cannabis forums, common complaints about Chinese-made glass include:
- Lower-quality glass
- Thinner glass
- Glass that is not carefully hardened through a process called annealing, thereby making it more susceptible to stress fractures and breaking
- Unoriginal designs, with many claiming that Chinese glass manufacturers essentially rip off designs created by smaller glassmakers and then mass-produce them
Another camp tends to be much more open to glass pieces made in China. In general, this cohort sees the quality of Chinese glass as close enough to the quality of any other glass that it doesn’t really make a noticeable difference.
Further, this group often argues that because Chinese pieces are mass-produced for lower cost, they actually serve a valuable function within the cannabis industry, giving people access to very affordable smoking implements. For many, this affordability outweighs whatever drop in quality consumers might get with a piece made in China.
As expert glassblower Luke Wilson put it: “The only difference is [Chinese manufacturers] take everything they make from other people and make it a million times over. . There’s nothing wrong with China glass as far as I’m concerned. So if you need a high-filter piece for your money, then go buy a China piece. But if you want something that’s collectible and that you’ll appreciate, go buy a personal artist piece.”
Scientific glass vs. artisan glass
The other key distinction in the types of glass used for cannabis pipes is if it’s made from scientific glass or artisan glass.
According to The American Scientific Glassblowers Society, scientific glass is specifically designed to meet the rigorous demands and specifications of the scientific community. Per the Society’s website: “Scientific glassblowers provide highly specialized glass apparatus for all universities with graduate research programs, government, private, and industry-research laboratories, production facilities, the semiconductor industry, and many other aspects of scientific research.”
Scientific glass is primarily focused on function, precision, and consistency. And smoking devices made out of scientific glass are much the same. These pieces tend to use thicker glass, are typically more heat-resistant, and have minimal issues with stress fractures or other manufacturing defects.
Scientific glass pipes are primarily focused on function rather than style. As a result, they typically do not have a lot of color or decorations, and the designs are simple and minimal, more in line with something you’d expect to see in a research lab than a stoner’s dorm room. One big advantage of focusing on function is that many scientific glass pipes include high-performance percolators that require a high degree of precision to make well.
On the other hand, artisan glass — often called “heady glass” — is focused much more on design and style elements. Artisan pieces are often one of a kind, made by established artists with recognizable aesthetic styles and a cult following of high-end glass collectors. As such, these pieces can be very fun to smoke out of and many enjoy the sense that their pipe is more aligned with a piece of art than a smoking apparatus.
Artisan glass is focused much more on design and style elements. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The process of adding colors, crafting pipes into funky shapes, and executing complex designs often requires artists to use a slightly “softer” glass than a scientific glass piece. Additionally, the exclusive nature of artisan pieces often means that they carry heftier price tags than scientific glass pieces.
Choosing the glass that’s right for you
There are three main factors to consider when buying a glass piece:
What type of smoking experience do you want?
Do you want to smoke out of a simple spoon or chillum? Are you interested in the cooler, smoother, better-tasting smoke of a bong or bubbler? Do you want the hard-hitting, massive hits of a steamroller? Answering these questions will help narrow down the types of glass smoking devices that fit your personal criteria.
Form or function?
If you want consistently high-quality, precision performance, you can’t go wrong with a scientific glass piece. If you’re all about personal style, creativity, and flair, then you’ll love exploring the world of artisan glass. And remember, function and style are not mutually exclusive. Many people who like minimalist designs find scientific glass to be very aesthetically appealing.
What’s your budget?
If you’re on a tight budget and you simply need a piece that will get the job done, you might want to experiment with an affordable piece made in China. Don’t be surprised if you run into problems or if the piece breaks — at least replacing it won’t be too expensive. But if your budget gives you more room to shop around, have fun exploring the diversity of glass pieces made in the US by more hands-on glassblowers and artisans.
A beginner’s guide to glass Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Why glass? Main types of glass pipes on the market today Glass made in U.S.
10 Types of Marijuana Pipes and Other Smoking Options
|Top 10 Marijuana Pipes and Smoking Options | USA Collective Supply|
When it comes to smoking, you have a lot of options in front of you. Now begs the question, which method is the best one for you? Is there even a right way to smoke the marijuana?
Keep reading to find out the ten best types of marijuana pipes and methods out there right now.
These are for more experienced smokers. A water pipe has a percolation chamber that converts smoke into water vapor. Two popular water pipes are bongs and bubblers. The smoke is cooled by the water before you inhale it. There are traditional hookahs, which are stationary, and portable pipe options.
This is a type of pipe that uses water to diffuse the smoke, making for a smooth hit. There are two types, a one piece, and one with a removable bowl. Both types of bubblers are easy to clean, as well as discreet to carry with you.
Bongs are the best way to get a massive hit. Besides this, the benefit to using a bong is the water. It not only cools off the smoke but also reduces things like resin and nicotine. The bong is made up of 5 pieces. The first is a tube or base (which can vary in size) that is filled with a small amount of water. The second is a downstem, which is a tube that is fitted into the base and the water. It can be slotted to allow for more bubbles. The carb is a hole in the base to allow for clean air flow, while the bowl is where the herb is packed. Finally, there is the percolator creates bubbles in the water once smoke is drawn through the tube.
Probably the healthiest way to get your hit. You’re simply getting the vapor of your weed. You are not getting any of that extra debris in your body. You don’t inhale smoke, but you do enjoy the pleasing impact of your cannabis.
Vapes were originally designed for a healthier alternative to smoking but it works for this too. The way a vape works is that it gets the cannabis hot enough to release the good compounds, but it doesn’t burn up the cannabis. If you vape, there is a subtler, but more pleasing effect.
This is the most common pipes that weed smokers use. It’s easy to pack and you can just throw it in your purse or bag.
It’s great for those smoking on the go. They are the best one for beginners because they don’t provide huge hits. That means you can enjoy the high without being overwhelmed by accessories or the cleaning process.
One-hitters are great if you’re trying to be discrete. Not only are they used for this but they’re also good for moderating how much you smoke. You can limit the number of times you smoke during the day while you are on the go. Plus, they are easy to slip into your bag without taking up much space. A one hitter also is already packed, so no need to bring an extra stash container.
If you’re a pretty casual smoker and only want to smoke a limited amount, these are a nice pick for you.
This is a relatively creative way to get your hit. As strange as it is, it’s actually a fairly popular method.
Grab an apple and cut a bowl into the top. You also have to create a chamber for your smoke to roll through. To do this, you simply need to cut out the core. After that, cut out a place in the side for your mouth and you’re good to go.
The result is an amazing taste as you smoke, as it creates a smoky apple flavor with your marijuana.
If you’re looking for long hits but not from a bong, these work fine. These are usually long, simple tubes and unlike a bong, don’t contain water or any extras. That makes it easy for you to take it on the go, simply because you don’t need to worry about taking multiple accessories.
They allow you to quickly and easily get your hit and move on with your life.
This is a small, straight pipe that’s only good for a couple of hits. It’s a pretty straightforward, simple piece. That makes it easy to clean and simple to store. If you are a casual smoker and not looking to make a big investment in a pipe, then this one could be the right fit for you.
Like the one-hitters, this one is also good if you’re a casual smoker looking to smoke a limited amount.
If you’re looking for a really strong hit, a dab rig might be a good choice for you. There are more tools required for this but it’s really worth it. The main part of the rig, known as the nail, might resemble a traditional bong and is made of titanium, glass, or quartz that hold the heated dab concentrate. The nail is typically made of a substance that can withstand the high temperatures necessary to vaporize that concentrate. It has been engineered not to catch anything on fire and can provide the same benefits with one puff of vapor that it takes three or four puffs to get with a typical bong.
Unlike a lot of other smoking methods, you can get a pretty nice buzz going off of a single hit.
Marijuana Pipes For You
There are several marijuana pipes out there for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you want to have the strong high from a dab rig or the juvenile method of using an apple.
If you need tips for finding your first pipe, continue reading here.
Based in Pasadena, California, USA Collective Supply is a one-stop shop offering a wide variety of marijuana packaging and labeling products for medical and recreational cannabis dispensaries as well as smoke shops across the country.
Are you looking for smoking options? We have lots of options available at very affordable rates. Marijuana pipes are the best way to smoke herb. Contact Us for more details!