By: Adam Rhodes
Consuming cannabis has been done for as long as we have records. Due to its long history, one can accurately surmise that there are many different ways to consume cannabis. My favorite way is through smoking. I find that the act of smoking through a “piece” to be very comfortable and communal. While there are many materials can used, I find that glass is my preferred way. I have used other materials but nothing feels as right in my hand as glass.
One of the first glass pieces I used was a small dry pipe design called a spoon. A spoon is identified by the general shape and position of the pipe resembling (of all things) a spoon. On a walk with my friend he pulled it out and loaded it. It was dark so I couldn’t see it very clearly but he could hide it in the palm of his hand. He told me he had just purchased it and had not used it yet. In my social group it is considered an honor to be invited to smoke out of a piece the first time so I was really excited. The first use of a piece is special. You don’t know if the holes are the right size to keep from getting particulate in your mouth or if the piece is too short as a couple examples. When we got back to my house we went around to the back and lit it up. It was so short that we burned our noses with every hit, even when we held it almost straight up.
I’ll never forget how that first hit tasted though. For the first time I couldn’t taste anything but the cannabis that had just been loaded. It was a strain of Sour Diesel and it was acrid, pungent and potent. I was instantly a fan of glass and committed to my friend that I would get myself a glass pipe but one that was a little longer. I purchased a spoon from a local glass shop and used it exclusively for almost a year. I still have it to this day and occasionally I pull it out for nostalgic reasons. In the time since that day I’ve assembled a decent collection and am regularly trying new designs and styles to find out how they function. Several years and hundreds of pieces later, I have discovered a few things about pipes and their design that helps me pick out the right piece for me. What have I learned? Thanks for asking. Let me break down some of the elements of a classic spoon pipe and how they affect the smoking experience.
The spoon bowl (as opposed to the cannabis bowl) can be shallow or deep. The depth and width of the bowl determines how dense the smoke can get. A deep bowl or large hole can allows for the smoke to condense significantly while allowing particulate to travel further down the stem and can lead to getting a significant portion of it in your mouth. A wide bowl allows for the smoke to condense significantly while helping to trap the particulate in the bowl itself but if you have small hands a wide bowl may be difficult to grasp firmly. A wide and shallow bowl with a small hole gives a good mix of smoke density and particle control.
The length of a pipe controls how hot the smoke is when it reaches your throat and lungs and can affect its portability. Since smoke is a gas it expands at higher temperatures. Shorter stems can lead to problems with temperature control and smoke density yet is normally more resilient to damage. A longer piece can cool smoke better yet becomes fragile or unwieldy very quickly. A medium to long stem can ensure you have cool and condensed smoke while maintaining the portability that is this styles main strength.
There are some spoons that have a hole on the side called a “carb” and it is used to control the amount of fresh air mixed with your smoke. By covering the carb one can increase the density of the smoke and thereby gain a larger level of THC from each hit. By regulating the amount of fresh air you have mixed, you can prevent the all too common cough. Some believe that coughing is better but the fact of the matter is that violently convulsing on a regular basis is not fun and can lead to issues down the road so I choose to avoid it.
I enjoy a spoon with; a wide shallow bowl, a medium to long stem and a carb at least as big as the bowl-hole. A spoon like this gives me a great mix of high smoke density, low smoke temperature, good air/particle control all while being easily portable. If you are looking for a discrete travel piece or a dependable piece for home, a spoon is a great way to go. Don’t just take my word for it, try one out with a friend and let us know what you think!
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