Smoking a bowl is undoubtedly one of the most popular ways to get high, and using a pipe or a bong is very convenient for cannabis beginners since these tools don’t require any rolling skills.
Packing a bowl might seem like an extremely simple operation at first glance, but there are several crucial aspects that need to be met in order for your pipe-smoking experience to be just perfect. But, we’ll get you covered, by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be fully equipped with all the necessary knowledge on how to pack a bowl.
Before we get into the actual packing process, let’s quickly cover all the equipment that you’ll be needing for your session.
There are only a couple of things that you’ll need, and these include:
- Some weed
- A cannabis pipe (or a bong, bubbler or any other type of water pipe)
- A lighter (or hemp wick)
- A cannabis grinder (optional)
- Scissors (optional)
- A pipe screen (optional)
- A tamping tool (optional)
- A rolling tray, or a plate (optional)
The simplest type of weed pipe is colloquially known as a “spoon pipe”, because its appearance is somewhat reminiscent of a tablespoon. Spoon pipes are generally inexpensive and are usually made from high-quality borosilicate glass, which makes them an excellent choice for newcomers.
A bowl is also an integral part of any type of bong or bubbler, and these bulky glass contraptions utilise water to cool down the cannabis smoke, making it more pleasant for inhalation.
There is a slight difference between smoking a pipe and smoking a bong/bubbler (which we’ll cover later on), but the bowl-packing part of the process is identical for both pipes and bongs.
You’re also going to need to ignite your bowl, which can be achieved either with a regular butane lighter, or by using a hemp wick.
A lighter will do the trick just fine, but if you want to avoid the smell of butane interfering with the aroma of your weed, you should acquire a roll of hemp wick, which is basically a long waxy string of hemp. Hemp wick is an amazing natural substitute since it doesn’t produce an aftertaste, and it also maintains an even burn.
If you’re planning on using a grinder, make sure not to grind your weed too finely, because this will deliver a very harsh hit. This occurs because over-grinding your weed makes the bud significantly more compact. You will therefore pack your bowl with a greater amount of weed, and inhale a much larger quantity of cannabis with every hit you take.
Finely grinding your weed also increases the risk of an accidental inhalation of burning bits of weed through the pipe, which is definitely something you’d wish to avoid.
All of this can be averted if you have a mesh screen for your pipe. But, if you don’t have this useful accessory, we would recommend using a sharp pair of scissors to cut up your weed, or if you have time, using your hands to pick the bud apart is also fine.
Another reason to avoid grinders for your bowl-packing process is that these tools have a tendency to remove precious trichomes from the bud.
Trichomes are tiny crystalline gland-like growths where the majority of the bud’s cannabinoid and terpene content is located, and weed grinders typically come with a separate chamber that’s designed to collect trichomes which have fallen off the bud during the grinding process.
If you decide to use a grinder, once you’re finished packing the weed make sure to sprinkle the trichome-residue on top of the bowl, so you can enjoy the full flavour and potency of your bud.
Finally, some users like to place an entire uncut nug in the bowl and ignite it. This technique is known as the “whole hog”, and it’s usually utilised to prevent the bud’s trichomes from being damaged from the grinding/cutting process.
It’s important to mention that the whole hog only works with fluffy buds, because if your pot is too dense this will greatly diminish the airflow in your pipe, and make the entire experience very tedious.
As we previously mentioned, a pipe screen is a fantastic tool which prevents bits of burning weed ending up in your mouth. Pipe screens are quite cheap, and will make your bowl sessions much more enjoyable.
If you don’t have a pipe screen, you can also twist up a piece of wire (or use a paperclip/faucet head screen) to act as a temporary DIY pipe screen. Avoid using aluminum foil for your makeshift screen since it could be coated with materials that are not suitable for inhalation.
A tamping tool designed for pipes is another neat piece of gear that you could benefit from, but if you don’t have a tamping tool readily available, using a lighter or your fingers to tamp your weed down will also do the trick.
Finally, a rolling tray (or a regular kitchen plate) is the final piece of equipment you’re going to need, so you can easily collect any residual bits of cannabis that have “escaped” during the packing process.
Now that we’ve covered everything you’re going to need, we can move on to the main segment of this article, which is of course the actual packing process.
Since there are subtle nuances between smoking a pot pipe and a bong, we’re first going to cover how to pack and smoke a pipe, and later on move to the bong-packing method.
How to Pack (and Smoke) a Pipe Bowl?
First of all, bowls on a pipe typically come with a special hole on the side, which is known as the carb hole. The carb is used to control airflow, more precisely it allows you to pass the air through the pipe once you’re ready to take a hit.
Begin by grinding your pot, but make sure not to grind too finely, and try to make the weed pieces uniform in size. If you’re planning on using a grinder, place the bud in the chamber (in between the teeth), close the grinder, and twist back and forth a couple times.
If your grinder has a trichome chamber (also known as the kief catcher), you can sprinkle the residue once you’ve finished packing the bowl. You can also use a pair of scissors to cut the bud, or pick it apart with your fingers.
Once you’re done grinding, place the mesh screen for your pipe inside the bowl. If you don’t have a screen, you can first place a large chunk of weed inside the bowl, to prevent the smaller bits from flying into your mouth.
Pinch the freshly-ground pot with your fingertips, place it inside the bowl, and gently press it down with your finger, lighter or a tamping tool (if you have one). Don’t pack too tightly, otherwise you’ll experience airflow issues.
You should also check how the air passes through the pipe before you ignite it. Hold the pipe with your hand (make sure to close the carb hole with your thumb), and take a make-believe drag. If you notice that you have to inhale too aggressively, chances are you’ve packed your bowl too tightly. You can remedy this by poking the weed inside the bowl with a toothpick, or any other tiny pointy household item.
Once you’re finished, gather any bits of pot that have fallen out on your rolling tray/plate during the packing process.
Now it’s time to smoke the pipe. Hold the carb hole closed with your thumb, and ignite the weed while taking a long drag. Once you’re ready to take a hit, release your thumb from the carb hole and inhale. All the smoke that has gathered in the pipe will come rushing into your lungs.
Once you’re ready to take another hit, check if the weed inside the bowl is still lit (if it isn’t just reignite it), place your thumb back on the carb hole, and repeat the entire process.
When you’ve finished the session remove the ash from your bowl, and for an additional level of hygiene you can also wash your pipe.
How to Pack (and Smoke) a Bong Bowl?
Unlike bowls that are a part of pipes, a bong bowl doesn’t have a carb hole to create airflow, but instead the entire bowl can be detached from the rest of the bong. The section of the bong where the bowl is inserted is known as the downstem. We’ll explain in more detail how to work the downstem once we reach that step.
Start by grinding your weed, but make sure not to grind it too much. If you plan to use a grinder, place the nug in the chamber (in between the teeth), close the grinder, and twist back and forth several times.
If your grinder has a kief chamber, you can sprinkle the trichomes on top of the bowl once you’re done packing. You can also use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the bud, and of course you can pick it apart with your fingers.
Once you prepare the ground weed, insert the mesh screen inside the bowl. If you don’t have a screen, you can first pack a large piece of weed inside the bowl, to prevent any smaller bits of weed from being sucked inside the bong.
Pinch the weed with your fingers, place it inside the bowl, and lightly tamp it down with your finger, lighter or tamping tool (if you own one). Make sure not to pack too tightly, otherwise you’ll likely experience airflow problems.
You can check how the air passes through the bowl before you ignite it. Insert the bowl into the downstem, and inhale through the bong before lighting it. If you notice that you have to pull with too much force, it’s likely that you’ve packed the bowl too tightly.
You can fix this by poking the weed inside the bowl with a needle or a toothpick, or any other small pointy household item.
Once you’re finished packing, gather any bits of cannabis that has fallen on your rolling tray during the process.
Now it’s time to light the bowl. Start by sliding the packed bowl into the downstem. Next, ignite the weed while at the same time taking a long drag through the mouthpiece.
You’ll notice the smoke start travelling from bowl, through the downstem, and begin bubbling inside the bong.
Once you’re ready to take a hit, pull the entire bowl from the downstem and inhale. All the smoke that has gathered in the bong will now surge into your lungs.
When you’re ready to take another hit, check if the weed inside the bowl is still lit, slide the bowl into the downstem, and repeat the entire process.
When you’ve finished the session remove the ash from your bowl, and for an extra level of hygiene you can also wash the entire bong.
The Pros and Cons of Smoking a Bowl
Compared to other combustion-based methods like joints and blunts, smoking a bowl offers several important advantages.
First off, packing a bowl is very quick. Once you get the hang of it, preparing a bowl can be performed in less than a minute.
Secondly, pipes and bongs don’t require any rolling skills. This is especially beneficial for people who still haven’t learnt how to roll, but smoking a bowl also comes in handy when you’re not in a rolling mood.
The most important advantage of smoking a bowl is that it doesn’t add any residual flavours to the mix.
The vast majority of pipes and bongs are made from glass, and unlike joints and blunts, they allow you to experience the full unadulterated aroma of the flower you’re smoking, without any additional odours interfering with the flavour.
As for the main disadvantages, pipes and bongs aren’t really designed for mobile use, as they can chip and break quite easily during transport.
Pipes and bongs are also not very discreet aroma-wise. Bowls tend to exude a very dank smell after only a couple of uses, because of the thick cannabis residue that coats the inside of the bowl after each session. These factors make bowls much better suited for the privacy of your home.
We sincerely hope you found this guide helpful, and if you have any bowl-related questions let us know in the comment section, and we’ll get back to you as soon as humanly possible.
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The Choom Gang
It began in 1979 with a group of friends on a small hawaiian island, with an even smaller van. This weed loving crew would go on to influence our world, but back then it wasn’t about the future, it was about having good times with good friends. Plenty has changed since then, but one thing remains the same; they are still sharing adventures, sparking ideas, and cultivating good times.
1. Please consume responsibly.
2. When canning any food at home (e.g. cannabutter or canna-oil) you should be very careful since there can be a risk of the appearance of toxin that can lead to botulism, a very serious illness. This happens when food is canned, processed, stored or handled. Bacteria that cause botulism can very quickly grow in cannabis edibles that are made at home. Bacteria can cause botulism poisoning which is a very serious illness that affects the body’s nerves and produces serious health consequences.