How to Smoke a Pipe?

9 min read
How to Smoke a Pipe 1

Pipe smoking is a very old tradition and pastime that has been done for centuries by many ancient civilizations. Made from glass, wood, metal, ceramic, silicone, bone, and other materials, pipes are used to effectively smoke dried plant material such as tobacco, cannabis, or herbs. Enjoyed by both men and women alike, pipe smoking is done for relaxation, socializing, ceremonial purposes, or simply for pure enjoyment. Many pipe smokers consider it an art since learning how to smoke a pipe requires patience and a certain level of skill to master. In this article, we will explore the different types of smoking pipes used today, showcase a few of our favorites, explain the parts of a pipe, and teach you how to use a weed pipe for the best pipe smoking experience.

Parts of a pipe

Before jumping right into how to smoke a weed pipe, new pipe smokers should start off with the basics. Despite having various styles and uses, most pipes including a tobacco pipe will function the same and have a few key parts that you should know about in order to use it properly.

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  • Mouthpiece - This is very straight forward. It’s the part you put your lips on to inhale the smoke. This is usually on the opposite end of the bowl and is tapered.
  • Bowl - The bowl is where the dry herb is held. Bowls come in different shapes and sizes depending if the pipe is designed for solo use or sharing with others. There are straight sided bowls; deep, large bowls; tapered bowls; or shallow, small bowls.
  • Stem - Also called a neck or chamber, the stem connects the bowl to the mouthpiece. The stem can be long, short, or curved.
  • Carb - One of the most important parts of a smoking pipe is the carberator, called a carb for short. The carb is a hole either on the side or opposite end from the mouthpiece that allows the smoker to control the airflow within the pipe. Carbs are used when there is a fixed bowl. Uncovering the carb hole allows the pipe to be cleared quickly, just like when pulling the bowl on a bong.
  • Downstem - This is a piece that’s only used for water pipes (bongs and bubblers). The downstem connects the bowl to the water chamber, forcing the vapor down into the water and helping to create additional bubbles.

Types of smoking pipes

When first learning how to use a pipe, remember that the material and style you choose will have a direct effect on the vapor quality, cleaning difficulty, and overall smoking experience. Most new pipe smokers start with a borosilicate glass pipe in a basic style like a spoon pipe or steamroller. These are a few of the most common materials used:

Pipe materials

  • Glass - Glass is the most common material for dry pipes and bongs since it burns clean without any added flavor and is relatively easy to clean. When choosing a new pipe made from glass, always pick heat safe borosilicate glass. There are so many great glass pipes out there, but you should try the Marley Natural Steam Roller or the Empire Glassworks Eggplant Pipe.
  • Silicone - Since silicone is nearly unbreakable, pipes made from this material are perfect for those who are accident prone. Silicone is also lightweight and easy to take on the go. Our favorites are the 2-in-1 Silicone Pipe and the Glowing Ghost Guy Bubbler.
  • Metal - Obviously, metal is extremely durable and easy to carry in a pocket or backpack without worrying. Keep in mind that most smokers say it can leave a metallic taste. Genius makes the best metal pipes by far with a slim design and patented waterless filtration technology. Give the Genius Essential Kit a whirl. 
  • Ceramic - If you want a unique look, pick a ceramic pipe. The opaque design makes them stand out from the crowd and it hits like a dream. Pick up the Iced Donut Pipe or a Smokable Mug Pipe for the perfect wake and bake.

Pipe styles

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There are lots of different types of pipes, but don’t let that scare you. For the most part, they all work the same, so once you know how to smoke with a pipe, you’ll be fine with any design that’s put in front of you. When it comes to different pipe styles, most tobacco pipes and cannabis pipes fall into two main categories: dry pipes or water pipes. Dry pipes are your typical hand pipes that first come to mind when someone talks about a pipe. Think Sherlock Holmes, Popeye, or Gandalf. Water pipes on the other hand utilize the aeration, cooling, and filtration power of water and are further categorized as either bubblers or bongs depending on the size and downstem type. These are a few of the main styles of marijuana pipes you’ll see on the market today:

  • Spoon Pipe - When you think of a weed pipe, this is probably the style that comes to mind. Shaped like a spoon with a carb on the side, this design has a very straightforward operation with the bowl on one end and mouthpiece on the other.
  • Steamroller - Long and cylindrical, this design is for advanced pipe smoking since the user will have better control over the airflow and can clear the pipe quicker. This is because the carb is exactly opposite from the mouthpiece instead of being on the side. 
  • Hammer Pipe - Shaped like the tool, this genius pipe style sits upright with a flat bottom and can be either a dry pipe or used with water depending on the design. Hammer pipes fit perfectly in the hand, but can easily tip over when it’s sitting on a table or other flat surface.
  • Sherlock Pipe - Classically used with loose tobacco like its namesake Sherlock Holmes would do, this type of pipe is for those who want to make a statement. It has a dramatic neck that curves upward in an “S” shape with a bowl on one end and a mouthpiece on the other.
  • One Hitter - As the name suggests, this pipe is designed for a single hit and is not for sharing. Tiny and portable, one hitters, which are also called a oney, bat, or taster, have a vertically placed bowl that fits just a tiny bit of herb.
  • Bubbler and Bong - Those who enjoy pipe smoking always have water pipes like bubblers and bongs in addition to their dry pipe collection. Bubblers take the best of both worlds since they’re small and discreet like a pipe, but use the filtration power of water to alleviate the discomfort of hot smoke. Bongs are larger and typically have removable bowls and no carb. 

How to use a weed pipe

Before we dive into the process of how to smoke weed with a pipe, you’ll need to first acquire the necessary materials to do so. Here's what you'll need:

Materials

How to smoke weed from a pipe step-by-step

  1. Prepare the dry herb - Working over a rolling tray to catch anything that falls, start by grinding up a nug into an even, soft consistency. This will ensure you have a nicely lit pipe and high-quality puff. Don’t overdo it and grind the flower too finely or it could fall through the bowl into the interior of the pipe. If this happens consistently, try a reusable metal pipe screen on the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Pack the bowl - Place a tiny amount of ground dry herb into the bowl. If it’s a tad over full, the flower may become too tightly packed, reducing airflow, and making it difficult to keep lit and smoke. Use a pipe tamper or your finger to tamp genty with a very light touch. This will create an even burn and prevent anything from falling out of the pipe. One of the major stumbling blocks when smoking a pipe for the first time is not having a properly packed bowl.
  3. Light the bowl - If you’re sharing with others, most pipe smokers (and bong smokers) find it a common courtesy to “corner the bowl” instead of lighting the entire bowl of herb at onnce. Igniting only a corner using a wooden match or pipe lighters helps to conserve the smoking material and parcels it out over the course of several hits, allowing everyone who’s sharing to enjoy it. Hold the flame of the pipe lighter over one side of the flower and draw in gently until it’s lit. Check that it truly is lit and not just a false light.
  4. Test draw and smoke - Take a slow, light, test draw to start, especially if you’re new to pipe smoking. Doing a test draw first will ensure that the pipe is producing vapor and it’s not a false light. To take a full hit, cover the carb hole with your thumb half way or fully depending on the airflow, and inhale with slightly more force through the mouthpiece to draw the vapor into the interior of the pipe by taking several shallow puffs. Remove your finger from the carb to open the airway and clear the vapor. It may take a little practice to get the hang of it and see what works best and feels the most comfortable. Once you get the hang of it, it’s best to take even puffs on the pipe, allowing the vapor to accumulate inside the pipe before savoring the taste and aroma of the green goddess.
  5. Keep the pipe lit - Nothing is more annoying than having to do multiple mid smoke relights during a session or having to empty and repack a bowl. It will go out and that’s totally normal, but an even grind and good tamp in the beginning will help to reduce relights. If this does happen, you may have to debowl by placing the bowl upside down over the debowler and moving it in a circular motion to get everything out.
  6. Fall into pipe smoking bliss - It’s time to relax and enjoy! Smoking a pipe is a leisurely activity that’s great for sharing during social settings, so take your time with each inhale and pass that pipe around for maximum enjoyment!
  7. Clean the pipe - Don’t forget to clean the pipe after every few uses. Not only will the bowl start to smell, but the sticky resin and ash buildup will also start to affect the flavor and quality of your hits. Keep a pipe cleaner and isopropyl alcohol handy at all times!

How to use a water pipe to smoke weed

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To really understand how to use a pipe for weed or pipe tobacco, you’ll want to try out a water pipe. Bongs and bubblers work a little differently since you’ll have to add water, but it’s very similar and once you get a few sessions in, you’ll be able to take a hit with your eyes closed. You’ll need the exact same materials as above (dry herb, rolling tray, wooden matches or lighter, etc.) in addition to a little water. Everything is the same, except you’ll need to start by filling the main chamber with water just until it covers the bottom of the downstem. Unlike previous smokes with a dry pipe, the water will make each hit a lot more comfortable on the throat and lungs. Grind the flower and pack the bowl as usual and remember to do a good packing job so it lights well.

How to clean a pipe

Knowing how to use a weed pipe is just the beginning! If you’re smoking a pipe, it’s crucial to understand how to clean one as well. Regular cleaning ensures that each and every hit is fresh and flavorful, plus, no one wants to share a filthy pipe! After a few smokes or once you notice gunk, ash, or buildup inside the pipe, that’s your cue to do a deep clean. Luckily it’s easier than it sounds. The following step-by-step guide is our go-to specifically for glass pipes, but this isn’t the only method.

Materials

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Coarse salt
  • Sealable plastic bag

How to clean a glass pipe step by step

  1. If the bowl is removable, clean it separately. First, turn the pipe upside down over a trash can or other such receptacle to remove any leftover ash or use a debowler in a circular motion. You can also gently blow out any pieces of loose material that’s trapped inside.
  2. Place the glass pipe inside the plastic bag and fill it with the isopropyl alcohol until the pipe is covered. Add a scoop of salt to the bag. Be sure that the alcohol and salt get inside the interior of the pipe. The salt works as an abrasive to gently remove build up from hard to reach areas.
  3. Seal up the bag and allow the pipe to soak in the mixture for at least one hour. If your glass pipe is extra dirty, you may need to soak it overnight. After the time is up, carefully shake the bag back and forth for roughly five minutes so the salt can get to work on the interior.
  4. Remove the pipe and check if it’s entirely clean. If not, it’s time to use a pipe cleaner to pick out the stubborn pieces of resin. Soak the pipe cleaner in fresh rubbing alcohol and slide it inside the mouthpiece, carb hole, and around the bowl.
  5. Rise it in fresh water, lay it out to dry completely, and you’ll be back to smoking a pipe in no time!

Now that you know how to properly smoke a pipe, it’s time to pick one out for yourself! Head over to our online smoke shop for a rotating selection of some of the best glass pipes, one hitters, steamrollers, metal pipes, bubblers, silicone pipes, water bongs, XL pipe cleaners, and more!

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