Sunday November 3, 2019

By Nicholas Demski


If you’re a cannabis consumer who prefers to smoke out of glass pipes or bongs, you already know that not all glass is created equal. There are a lot of head shops out there, both online and in-person who will tell you that every piece they sell is great. So how do you know how to actually spot the best glass and avoid getting scammed when you're buying your next piece? We’ve got a few tips that can help you to spot a gem, and get the best deal on it too!

Buying the Right Glass Cannabis Piece for You

When buying a glass pipe for cannabis, the first thing to decide is exactly why type of pipe to buy. Do you smoke flower or concentrates? Different glass styles are more suitable for each one. Then there’s the question of whether you prefer a dry pipe or a water pipe. Experience will help you know the answers. Generally, dry pipes are easier to use but not as smooth as a water pipe. For flower smokers, there are many types of dry pipes ranging from cigarette-sized one-hitters to popular glass spoon pipes, chillums, steamrollers, or longer Sherlock-style pipes.

There are a wide variety of dry and water pipes.

Water pipes, also known as bongs, are very popular and range from tiny bubblers to human-height tubes on the very extreme end. Most bongs fall within the 6-18 inch range, though. Flower consumers are looking to diffuse and filter their smoke as much as possible, so glass pieces with one or more percolators and plenty of holes for diffusion are best for a smoother smoke.Concentrate consumers have almost as many options of different glass styles as flower smokers. Smaller styles of glass for concentrates include pen-style nectar collectors as well as mini-recyclers and nano-rigs.

A glass dab rig is the standard for most concentrate consumers. Almost any medium or larger bong can be adapted to work for concentrates too, although you might sacrifice some flavor along the way. To use a flower bong as a dab rig, simply attach a quartz, glass, ceramic, or titanium nail where the bowl would go. While huge bongs can also be adapted into dab rigs, keep in mind that smaller chambers are generally better for dabbing.

Choose High Quality Glass

There are plenty of appealing deals out there on seemingly decent-looking glass cannabis pipes, but don’t be fooled. There's a lot of flimsy, thin, or downright dangerous products out there. Look for thick borosilicate glass, the thicker the better. If you tend to be clumsy, look for a piece that has 9mm glass if possible. Mass-produced glass pieces made in China (the kind you might find on Amazon or eBay) have aspecific reputation for being thin and poor quality.

These pipes can have lead decals, be painted inside with dangerous paints, or factories can use prohibited methods—like drilling glass—which can leave behind dangerous dust and cause long-term health problems.

When buying a glass cannabis pipe or bong, make sure it’s all glass. Cheaper bongs and pipes can be made with rubber or plastic joints. Metal bowls and metal or plastic down stems are also common on cheap water pipes. Regardless of how appealing the price point may be, don’t waste money on a mixed-materials piece. Rubber, plastic, silicone, and metal are difficult to clean and not as safe as glass under high temperatures. Well-made glass-on-glass joints are important to achieve a perfect seal on the pipe, so check the seal on any places where glass parts connect before buying if possible.

Whenever possible, try to buy glass from a region with a well-established cannabis culture. American glass is particularly known for its quality. Glass from the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and many other countries are good bets too. You might even be surprised to find a talented glass artist in your own town if you search!

Buy Direct from a Glass Artist

Glass art has become a huge cultural trend, and there tends to be a lot of crossover between glass fans and cannabis culture. Many glass artists are consumers themselves, so they understand what users want out of a glass piece. Additionally, many glass pipes, bongs, and rigs are true works of art that you can proudly display in your home.

Buying directly from a glass artist is the best way to get a high-quality piece.

While it's true that most hand blown-glass comes with a heftier price tag than mass produced pieces, buying one is still achievable. Head shops can occasionally have great deals on local hand-blown glass. 

The best way to get a high-quality piece, however, is to buy directly from the artist. Most glass artists have Instagram to promote their work. Try messaging them directly to ask for pricing on a piece. Cutting out the middle man can make a huge difference in the cost of hand-blown glass.

Get the Best Deal

Whether or not you’re buying from an artist, online is often the way to get the best deal on a high quality piece. When buying online, you can easily compare the same product on different online head shops to ensure you’re getting the best price for it. Social media is also a great place to find deals on any kind of glass. Look for cannabis glass accounts on Instagram or Facebook groups. EBay is another way to find a high-quality second-hand pieces but beware of new glass being sold on eBay as the quality may be questionable.

Whether you are buying in person in a head shop or negotiating with an individual online, don’t be afraid to ask for a deal such as throwing in additional accessories with your purchase.

Markups on glass can be high in head shops, try asking for a discount or waiting for a sale if you’ve got your eye on a specific piece. If it’s a branded piece, you can also get the name of the brand and search for a better price online. Cannabis glass is a big topic that can take some trial and error, broken glass, and coughing fits before you find the perfect solution for you. However, smoking from glass is one of the best ways to preserve the full flavor of your cannabis and have a smooth and enjoyable smoking experience. Keep our tips in mind to get the best quality for the price, and don’t settle for the cheapest piece. 

Do you have any other tips and tricks when you’re buying glass? Get in touch in the comments below and let us know about them!

Nicholas Demski Nicholas Demski

As a former global educator, Nicholas uses his B.S. in biology to leverage his understanding of cannabinoid science into meaningful content for readers. For several years, Nicholas has written for several blogs, including Green Flower, and provided copywriting services for CBD and cannabis companies worldwide. He's also a Staff Writer for Terpenes and Testing Magazine, CBD Health and Wellness Magazine, and Extraction Magazine.

While Nicholas is a medical cannabis patient in Michigan, he has traveled from Spain to Colombia to Cambodia to see what cannabis is like around the world. He uses his background in science, world experience, and unique writing style to help people learn more about cannabis and cannabinoids at and on Instagram @Cannabiologist. You can also connect with Nicholas on his LinkedIn profile.

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