Smoking from a bowl is perhaps the most well-known consumption method for cannabis. People have been smoking out of bowls for centuries, if not millennia.
For some, packing a bowl of cannabis is a no brainer, while others struggle with doing it in a way that won’t waste their precious bud — continuously failing each time they want to smoke.
If you’re one step from turning to joints or other ways to consume cannabis, then this guide is your last resort.
Today, we explain how to pack and smoke a bowl of cannabis to get the most out of your stash.
But before we do that, let’s talk about the anatomy of pipes and what they had been used for before someone came up with that brilliant idea of loading them with weed.
The Anatomy of the Pipe
Weed pipes were adapted from traditional pipes used for tobacco, so they share similar characteristics.
The main element of the pipe is the aforementioned “bowl” — a small cavity that holds your cannabis and where you light it up.
There’s also the stem, which is an airtight channel that delivers airflow through the device, ending with a mouthpiece, where the user inhales the smoke.
Many pipes also come with a second air channel known as a carb. This element is used to ensure the maximum airflow through the mouthpiece. It also gives you more precise control over the amount of smoke you inhale.
But as long as a pipe contains at least the first two features, you can use it for smoking cannabis.
Originally, pipes used for tobacco smoking were made from materials such as wood, bamboo, or ceramic. You can still find such pieces that are compatible with cannabis, but most pipes for smoking weed are made out of borosilicate glass to ensure higher durability and better taste.
They may also vary widely in shape and size, as well as in complexity, additional features, and availability. Many pipes come with built-in coolers or small percolators that cool the smoke before it makes it to your lungs. Other models are basic and typically resemble a spoon.
Pipes are widely available in cannabis dispensaries and headshops, but the easiest way to get yourself a truly unique piece is to shop for weed pipes online.
How to Pack a Bowl of Cannabis
Packing a bowl with weed starts with breaking up that weed first. Here are a few popular methods:
Breaking Up the Buds
You can do this in two ways — either by using a grinder, or by breaking up the nuggets by hand.
Below we discuss each method:
1. With a Grinder
Having a grinder is great for two reasons.
First, it’s super easy to turn your nug into a fine, fluffy powder within several seconds.
Secondly, and more importantly from the smoker’s perspective, most high-quality grinders come with a special chamber to collect cannabis trichomes — it’s called a kief catcher.
If you have some ground up kief at the bottom of your grinder, you can top the bowl with it for an extra punch.
The risk of using a grinder?
Your bowl may hit extremely hard afterwards, with hot, harsh smoke. That’s because your cannabis becomes more compact after grinding, so you’re actually packing more weed into the bowl than you would if you broke it by hand.
Which brings us to the second option.
2. By Hand
Breaking up the buds can be time-consuming and irritating, especially if you’re working with a resinous strain that tends to stick to your fingers. It’s not that bad if you have a gram-sized nug, but with larger quantities, you’re going to have a hard time trying to turn them into the desired consistency.
The good part about breaking up your cannabis by hand before packing a bowl is that you never have to worry about cleaning the grinder once it gets clogged by resin. Plus, you don’t need to carry any extra items for the job — it’s just you and your hands.
How to Actually Pack the Bowl
Take the desired amount of cannabis and transfer it to the bowl. Once there, gently press it down with the fingertip of your thumb. Try not to make a pile out of your weed; rather, make the top level of the bowl as even as possible.
Also, don’t pack the bowl too hard. Otherwise, the air won’t be able to pull through.
You can test how well your bowl is packed before igniting the herb. After packing the bowl with cannabis, simply place your lips over the mouthpiece and act as if you were inhaling the smoke through the pipe — but without the actual smoke.
If air is flowing through the piece, you’ve just packed a perfect bowl. If it feels stuck, or you accidentally inhale a ground piece of weed, it’s a sign that you need to pack it more tightly.
How to Smoke A Bowl of Cannabis
Not familiar with the smoking etiquette?
Here are a few things you should know before setting that bowl on fire.
Above all, make sure that you’ve packed the bowl proportionally to the size of your smoking group. You don’t want anybody to stay out of the circle — it’s just impolite.
On the other hand, packing personal bowls is great when you have a me-session. It also helps you learn how to smoke cannabis responsibly.
The privilege of packing the bowl belongs to the person who brought the cannabis. They also determine who gets to light up the first hit. Many people prefer the provider of the weed to start the session, which is a nice nod towards their courtesy.
Make sure not to burn your cannabis with open fire. Instead, try to corner your bowl by only lighting a small portion of the visible herb. This ensures that everyone gets the same flavor without any “charred” hits.
Then it’s time for the puff-puff-pass.
That’s right — you take two hits and pass the bowl to another person.
Lastly, never pocket a lighter. Don’t be that nasty lighter thief that everybody hates.
How do you pack your bowls? Want to share some packing tips with less experienced tokers? Write them down in the comments below!