Essential Tools for Cannabis Flower Enthusiasts

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Let’s explore the “smoking” route in the Medical Marijuana Use Registry (MMUR), focusing on cannabis flower consumption through a heat source. Delve into key accessories: herb grinders, papers vs cones, rolling trays, lighters, hemp wick, pipes, water pipes, and vaporization devices. Cannabis flower varies in size, consistency, and unique strains with specific terpene profiles. Pre-ground flower often comes in 1/4 oz. and 1/2 oz., while small buds, termed “popcorn” or “minis,” are available in 1/8 to 1/4 oz. sizes, which occasionally can be found in 1/2 oz.

For whole flower, larger buds from the upper half of the plant may have higher terpene and THC percentages. Whole flower generally boasts the highest cannabinoid and terpene levels. Smaller buds exhibit lower terpene profiles and cannabinoid percentages. Ground flower, pre-milled for convenience and cost-effectiveness, suits conditions like arthritis and chronic pain. Many find joy in the ritual of preparing cannabis bud, requiring an herb grinder for the ultimate smoking experience.

Herb Grinder

An herb grinder is an essential tool for cannabis enthusiasts, designed to break down dry cannabis buds into a finer, more manageable consistency. Its primary benefits include enhancing the efficiency of cannabis consumption, as finely ground material burns more evenly and provides a smoother smoking or vaporizing experience. A grinder is essential for pre-rolls/joints, but is also recommended for water pipe “bowls”. More on bowls later.

There are various types of herb grinders available, with the most common being two-piece, three-piece, and four-piece grinders. Two-piece grinders consist of a top and bottom chamber, ideal for those seeking simplicity. Three-piece grinders have an additional chamber that collects the ground material, making it easy to access. Four-piece grinders feature a pollen catcher in addition to the chambers found in the three-piece model, allowing users to collect potent kief for later use.

flower grinder

Using an herb grinder is straightforward. Start by breaking the cannabis buds into smaller pieces and placing them in the grinder’s top chamber. Rotate the grinder’s top and bottom sections in opposite directions to grind the material between the teeth. Open the grinder to reveal the finely ground flower in the middle chamber, ready for consumption. The compartment below is known as a kief catcher, here you will find the finest particles from the plant known as trichomes. The trichomes, or kief, carry the highest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes – kief can be added to the ground flower to increase potency. Kief can also be added into your joints/pre-rolls.

Regular cleaning is recommended to ensure optimal performance and prevent residue buildup.

In summary, an herb grinder is a valuable accessory for cannabis users, offering benefits such as improved consistency, enhanced potency through kief collection, and a more enjoyable overall experience. Users can choose from different types based on their preferences, and utilizing an herb grinder involves a simple and efficient process.

Rolling Tray

Rolling trays are indispensable tools for cannabis enthusiasts, serving as a practical and organized surface for preparing joints or blunts. These trays, available in various materials and designs, provide a stable platform for rolling, preventing herb spillage and ensuring an efficient and enjoyable cannabis experience. Imagine using a bare tabletop surface to grind up your flower, pack a cone, and/or roll a joint – this would be a much messier experience. When the rolling tray is not being used to actively consume, it can be used for storage to hold your device of choice, flower, and tools needed all in one place to be carried on the tray when ready to consume.

Crafted from materials like metal, wood, or plastic, rolling trays offer durability and easy maintenance. They often feature curved edges to keep loose cannabis contained and can include compartments for holding papers, filters, and other accessories, promoting a clutter-free rolling space. The diverse designs cater to individual preferences, ranging from minimalist aesthetics to vibrant, artistic patterns like the cheetah tray in the below video.

Rolling Papers vs Pre-Rolled Cones

Rolling papers and pre-rolled cones are both popular methods for enjoying cannabis, offering distinct advantages. Rolling papers are thin sheets typically made of wood pulp or hemp, allowing users to handcraft their joints with a preferred amount of cannabis. With some skill they offer a customizable experience, letting users control the size and shape of their roll.

On the other hand, pre-rolled cones are pre-formed, ready-to-fill cones made of materials like rice paper or hemp which can be purchased at your local dispensary. They streamline the rolling process, making it convenient for those who may struggle with hand-rolling or seek a quicker solution. Pre-rolled cones are often chosen for their simplicity and convenience.

In essence, the main difference lies in the level of convenience and skill. Rolling papers provide a hands-on, personalized experience, while pre-rolled cones offer a hassle-free, time-saving alternative. The choice between the two depends on individual preferences, rolling skills, and the desired level of convenience in the cannabis consumption ritual.


Cannbis flower being rolled in a joint

Lighter

You will need a lighter to ignite the cannabis flower. Cannabis flower needs to be heated to activate most of the plant’s medicinal properties. This is a process known as decarboxylation, “decarb” for short. Decarboxylation is the process of heating the leaves, buds, trim, or kief of cannabis or hemp plants. The heating process targets cannabinoid acids (aka inactive cannabinoids) within the plant’s trichomes. This decarb process changes the plant’s molecular structure, retaining one hydrogen atom while losing one carboxyl group. This change converts THCA and CBDA into their active forms of THC and CBD, respectively.

THCA’s main benefit is reducing inflammation, and this would be consumed raw – juicing raw cannabis or blending it into a smoothie are the most popular ways to consume THCA in flower form. THCA can also be sold in a powder-like form for adding to flower to increase potency. To access the many benefits that THC provides, it is necessary to heat the plant through smoking via a pipe, using a vaporizing device, or other methods.

Hemp Wick

Lighters are easy to find and a convenient, easy way to ignite your flower. However, with lighters then comes the intake of butane. The butane burns at higher temperatures causing a harsh sensation in the throat and lungs. Butane contains harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide. Hemp wick is a great alternative to lighting your cannabis bud. Hemp wick eliminates the probability of inhaling harmful byproducts. With hemp wick, you use a lighter to ignite the wick and then using the wick you then light your flower. Hemp wick burns at a lower temperature, and this increases the terpene aromas that you will taste in your smoking experience. Overall hemp wick creates a cleaner smoking experience

Hand Pipes

Hand pipes, commonly known as bowls or glass pipes, are compact and portable devices used for smoking cannabis, making it great for beginners. They are a popular choice among cannabis enthusiasts for their simplicity and ease of use. Crafted from various materials like glass, metal, wood, or silicone, hand pipes come in diverse shapes, sizes, and designs, allowing users to choose based on personal preferences.

The design typically includes a bowl to hold the cannabis flower, a carburetor (carb) for controlling airflow with your thumb, and a mouthpiece for inhalation. Glass hand pipes are favored for their heat resistance and the ability to showcase the smoking process. Metal pipes are durable and often have a sleek, modern aesthetic. Wood pipes, while less common, add a natural and rustic touch. However, hand pipes are known to be harsh on the throat given the heated smoke is directly inhaled through the pipe without any water present to cool the smoke sensation.


cannabis pipe

Hand pipes offer a convenient and discreet way to consume cannabis on the go. They are easy to load, quick to use, and require minimal maintenance. The variety of styles and materials available cater to different tastes and preferences within the cannabis community, making hand pipes a versatile and timeless accessory for those seeking a straightforward and portable smoking experience.

Water Pipes (Bongs)

Water pipes, commonly known as bongs, are popular and iconic tools for flower consumption, celebrated for their ability to deliver smooth and filtered hits. These devices typically consist of a water chamber, a bowl to hold the cannabis flower, a downstem to carry smoke into the water, and a mouthpiece for inhalation. The water filtration process helps cool and purify the smoke, providing a milder and less harsh experience compared to other methods.

Available in various materials such as glass or acrylic, water pipes offer diverse aesthetics and functionalities. Glass bongs, in particular, are prized for their purity of flavor and artistic designs. Some feature percolators, additional water chambers, or ice catches to further enhance the cooling and filtration process.

Water pipes come in different shapes and sizes, catering to individual preferences. Sizes vary from 4 to 21 inches on average. Typically, the larger the water pipe, the more expensive the price. Larger bongs with multiple percolators may offer a more intricate filtration process, while smaller, more portable options prioritize convenience. Whether for solo use or in a group setting, water pipes remain a favored choice among cannabis enthusiasts, providing an enjoyable and customizable smoking experience with the added benefit of water filtration.

To clean your water pipe, use 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol along with a salt-based product will do the job. Add some isopropyl alcohol to your bong, just enough to shake around inside the glass. Add the salt as an abrasive and shake away. This will remove a majority of the residue built up left after use over time.

cleaning bong

Image courtesy of royalqueenseeds.com

Vaporization Devices

Vaporization devices, commonly known as vaporizers or vapes, have gained popularity for their ability to deliver a smoke-free cannabis experience. These devices heat cannabis at lower temperatures, releasing active compounds as vapor instead of smoke. This method reduces harmful toxins and offers a cleaner inhalation experience. Vaporizers come in various forms, including portable pens and desktop units, each catering to different preferences.

The device anatomy varies depending on the design of the brand but usually the components of the dry herb vape follow the same process. The heating chamber is like a convection oven, where the ground flower is placed and heated in order to maximize the plant’s medicinal effects. The power supply would be the battery, which is re-chargeable. Next is the mouthpiece, the part you place your mouth on to inhale the vaporized cannabis.

Portable vaporizers are discreet and suitable for on-the-go use, while desktop models often provide more advanced features and precise temperature control. Vaporization allows users to enjoy the flavor and effects of cannabis without the combustion by-products associated with smoking. The versatility, health-conscious design, and customizable settings make vaporization devices an increasingly popular choice among cannabis consumers seeking a modern and efficient way to partake in their favorite herbs.

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Overall, cannabis flower is the most natural and original form of the plant which comes with all the benefits of the whole plant creating what is called the “entourage effect”. The entourage effect is the theory that the outcomes of consuming the plant containing all the cannabinoids and terpenes will be more effective as they work with synergy to create targeted relief, e.g., to feel more sleepy for insomnia or an uplifted mood for depression. Consuming cannabis flower can be done in multiple ways: smoking, vaporizing, and the bud can be used to make edibles as well. If you are new to the cannabis experience, then follow these above steps to successfully consume your flower. If you ever get lost or need extra assistance on starting out with medical cannabis, reach out to our office to schedule a consultation with our Registered Dietitian!

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