What devices do you need to consume cannabis?
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to selecting your go-to device for consuming cannabis. There are many device types which can enhance how you consume flower, concentrates, or both with the same item. Each device type is distinct, shaping rituals that are part and parcel to the cannabis experience. Explore our guide to the available device types, how they work and how they can be used in your next session.
Device options for consuming cannabis flower
- What are rolling papers? Use rolling papers to create your own joints at home. They are available in many shapes, sizes, materials, and flavors. Rice and hemp are among the more common rolling paper materials. Some rolling papers, called cones, come pre-formed with a filter at the end for an easier joint handling experience.
- How to use rolling papers: Take a rolling paper out of its package, seal facing up. If desired, place a filter at one end of the paper. Place ground cannabis in the rolling paper lengthwise, leaving a little bit of room at the end. Roll the paper back and forth between your fingers to shape the joint. Moisten the seal and close your joint. Twist off the top. Enjoy your joint right away or save it for later.
- Maintenance: Store rolling papers in a cool, dry place when not in use.
- What are pipes? These small, handheld devices include a bowl for cannabis at one end and a mouthpiece at the other. Many are made of glass, while some are made of silicone. Pipes span an impressive range of shapes and sizes, from small and simple devices to large elaborate glasswork. Glass blowers are known for treating their pipes like art, creating unique and memorable styles in addition to basic pieces.
A whole sub-category called water pipes includes chambers where the smoke passes through the water, cooling it as it makes its way to the mouthpiece. Examples of water pipes include bubblers, which are smaller, and bongs, which are larger with long pathways that fill with cannabis smoke.
- How to use a pipe: Place ground cannabis into the bowl portion of the pipe. If you want, you can add cannabis concentrate to your flower. If your pipe has a small ventilation hole called a carb, place your thumb over it while you light the cannabis. This process will fill the mouthpiece with smoke. Inhale, and remove your finger from the carb when you’re done inhaling. If there is no carb, simply inhale while you light the cannabis.
- Maintenance: How you clean your pipe depends on the material it’s made from. Glass pipes can be soaked in 91% isopropyl alcohol, using a pipe cleaner to wipe the pathway. Silicone pipes can be cleaned with warm, soapy water or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Device options for consuming concentrates
- What are dab rigs? A dab rig is a device designed specifically for consuming concentrates. Like a pipe, most models are made from glass or silicone, and they are available in many shapes, colors, and sizes. Electronic dabbing devices are making headway in the cannabis market as well.
- How to use a dab rig: For traditional dabbing devices, heat the dab rig’s nail to an ultra-hot temperature using a blowtorch or an enail, an electronic device that can be used for precise temperature control. (Electronic dabbing devices do not require a blowtorch or an enail.) Place a small amount of concentrate on the hot nail, where it instantly vaporizes. Inhale the vapor.
Your session may also be made easier with a dab tool to help safely place the concentrate on the nail, a carb cap to cover the nail while inhaling, and a heat-resistant dab mat on which to place the hot tools.
- Maintenance: Just like any other device, dab rigs should be cleaned regularly. After your dab rig cools down but is still warm, use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to wipe any remaining material off the nail.
- What are vape pens?: Vape pens, also called batteries, are used to consume cannabis oil. The battery heats up an element inside the cartridge which transforms the oil into vapor.
The most common vape pen is a rechargeable version that’s attached to pre-filled cartridges you buy at the dispensary. While many are universal, called a “510” connector, some cannabis oil cartridges are brand-specific and are only compatible with that model vape pen. Some models have multiple temperature settings, while others only have a single temperature setting. Others still are app-controlled for advanced You may also find disposable vape pens, one-time-use devices which contain both the battery and the cannabis oil.
- How to use a vape pen: Attach the cannabis oil cartridge from the dispensary to the battery. Set your desired temperature according to the device’s instructions. Press the power button and inhale. A disposable vape pen has no button or settings – simply inhale to activate.
- Maintenance: Vape pens are low maintenance and do not require intense cleaning like other devices. Store the vape pen battery and its charger in a safe place when not in use.
Vaporizers: for use with flower or concentrates
While some vaporizers are designed to work with flower or with concentrates, a growing number of models are compatible with both product types. These are called dual-use vaporizers, and they enable impressive control over your session.
Instead of lighting your cannabis aflame, vaporizers heat the material to the desired boiling point. This releases a vapor that’s more flavorful and less harsh than smoke. By taking fire out of the equation, you can fine-tune the temperature, which is key to preserving temperature-sensitive cannabinoids and terpenes.
Vaporizers are available in desktop and portable versions. Desktop units are powerful and designed to stay in one place. Portable vaporizers compress desktop vaporizer technology into a handheld, rechargeable unit. Many desktop and portable vaporizers have advanced features such as precise temperature control. Select models are app-controlled to support advanced features for unprecedented insight into your session.
To use a vaporizer, place the ground cannabis or concentrate into the vaporizer’s chamber. Follow your device’s instructions to set the desired temperature and wait for the device to heat. Once ready, the vapor travels through the device’s vapor pathway and makes its way to the mouthpiece for inhalation. When you’re done, clean out the chamber once the device cools according to instructions.
Which device is best for you?
Your selection is shaped by preferred products, your personal preferences, and your comfort level with cannabis. If flower is your speed, rolling papers or a pipe might be the right choice. If concentrates are more your style, you’ll need a dab rig or you may want to invest in an electronic dabbing device. A dual-use vaporizer would be a great fit if you like to change between flower and concentrates.
Discretion and portability are two important considerations to make as well. If you want to bring your cannabis somewhere or consume on the go, a large device like a desktop vaporizer isn’t ideal. The same goes for smells — setting flame to cannabis creates a burning smell that some find noxious. If that bothers you, consider a vaping device that won’t generate lingering aromas.
Your comfort and experience with cannabis should play a role in your device decision, too. Some devices like basic pipes and vape pens are simple and straightforward. Dabbing and vaporizers require a learning curve. Other device types are simpler to care for than others — for example, vape pens require way less maintenance than a bong.
Finally, personalize your cannabis experience by choosing devices that match your aesthetic. There’s a whole world of options for whichever device type you choose. Intricate twists, beautiful colors, and impressive shapes of all kinds can be found among pipes and dab rigs. Vaporizers, vape pens, and rolling papers come in an assortment of patterns and shades.
Whether you prefer the ritual of rolling a joint or want the high-tech fine-tuning of a smart vaporizer, the right device to support your cannabis experience is out there. All it takes is a little homework and some shopping around.