Cannabis 101: Glass Pipes and How to Clean Them

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Glass pipes weren’t exactly common back 30 years ago when I was smoking lousy black market brick weed in my home state of Massachusetts.

Back then, smoking usually involved a metal or wood pipe, complete with a screen that I got from taking my sink apart and removing the filter.

I quit using cannabis not long after I graduated from high school, but I started again a few years ago when Washington legalized it under I-502. And I was greeted with a fairly unfamiliar landscape.

Glass pipes are now a favorite for cannabis connoisseurs. Perhaps because the smoke seems to taste a bit cleaner and more crisp through them. They’re also often hand-blown and beautiful as art in their own right.

One thing that’s odd when you get your first glass pipe is that most people don’t use screens with them. The cannabis at stores today seems to be greener and more cohesive than old school brick weed, and it stays together in the bowl a lot more easily than the old crumbly stuff.

Glass pipes also often have a carb – which is a little hole on the side that you cover while you start to inhale (similar to a bong). The covered hole lets smoke build up in the pipe chamber, and you can release it to get the built up and somewhat cooler smoke pushed into your lungs.

Covering and uncovering the carb can also let you add air into the chamber while you smoke, which can make the smoke seem less harsh.

It takes a little getting used to, but once you make the switch to glass, you probably won’t want to go back.

The next glass pipe mystery for me was how to clean the resin buildup around the bowl after several smoking sessions.

There’s formal glass pipe cleaner compounds that you can get at the store, but I found a much easier and less expensive solution online – and it works great.

All you need is a bottle of rubbing alcohol (isoproyl alcohol) and some salt.

To get started, mix the rubbing alcohol with perhaps two or three teaspoons of salt (or more if you like). Stir them together in some sort of container or cup, and then place your glass pipes in it and let them soak.

I usually soak them and swish them around in it, then wash them off with water and dry them with a paper towel every half hour or so until all the resin completely wipes off.

Depending on how much resin is on the pipe, it could be finished in a half hour, or it may take a few hours to strip it completely down.

The alcohol seems to loosen the bonds of the resin to the pipe, while the salt acts as kind of a gritty scrubber to remove the gunk without damaging the pipe.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it.

How about you? Do you have any tricks or tips for newcomers to glass pipes? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section!

Cheers,

-SueVo (suevo@mainstmj.com)

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