How to Pack & Smoke a Bowl of Weed

How to Pack & Smoke a Bowl of Weed

Published on 3/2/21

Joints and blunts may be the standard-bearers for cannabis consumption, but packing a pipe and smoking a bowl is a marijuana tradition that goes back hundreds of years and won't go out of style any time soon.

For novice smokers or stoners who have lived their whole lives twisting up spliffs, pipes can seem a little complicated. To help demystify the process of packing a pipe and smoking a bowl of weed, we designed this piece to cover everything from how to use a weed grinder and how to grind weed without a grinder to how to pack a bowl and how to smoke weed from a pipe. So gather your favorite smoking accessories, pay attention, and learn how to smoke marijuana from a pipe.

Parts of a Marijuana Pipe


No matter what kind of pipe you use, the anatomy and functional structure of the piece will always follow a few general principles. 

First and most importantly, there is a bowl. This is a concave surface with a hole at the bottom that holds your weed. Some bowls are shallow and others are deep, but either way, they cradle your bud as it is smoked into ash. Most pipes have a second hole on the side of the bowl, called a carb. The carb controls airflow into the pipe, allowing for streams of fresh air to enter the pipe and push any lingering smoke into your lungs at the end of every hit. On the other end of the pipe, there is another opening, called a mouthpiece, where you put your lips to inhale the smoke.

The body of every pipe is slightly different, but pieces with a straight chamber and pronounced bowl, often referred to as "spoon pipes" for their resemblance to the utensil. If the body of your pipe curves down to make the bowl sit lower than the mouthpiece, you're probably smoking a "Sherlock pipe" named for the famous fictional detective. There are dozens of other styles of pipes, but in most cases, the glass artist crafts the body or middle chamber of the piece to comfortably fit in the palm of your hand. 

What to Look For When Buying a Weed Bowl

Every smoker's pipe preferences are a little different, but luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from.

When it comes to material, most cannabis smokers opt for a pipe made out of hand-blown glass, just like the industry's preference for bongs and dab rigs. If you're too worried about breaking glass, there are also plenty of pipes made out of metal, old-school wooden pipes, and even some newer pieces made of heat-resistant silicone or plastic. 

The next decision you'll have to make is about the size of your pipe. If you want something easy to conceal and hide, there are plenty of miniature options that you can tuck into your pocket or purse in a pinch. Of course, if you want the other end of the spectrum, you can also search out an oversized pipe that will fit more weed in each bowl. 

Like most cannabis accessories, finding the perfect pipe is all about balancing looks versus function, and selecting a size, shape and material that you will be happy to revisit session after session.

How To Grind Weed


If you plan on using a pipe to smoke, having a grinder in your accessory arsenal is key. Smokers grind their weed to create an even surface area of bud so it burns easily. Most grinders are hand-operated, made of either metal or plastic and usually contain 2-4 separate components. 

For a 2-piece grinder simply place your bud between the teeth, put each side together, give it a couple of twists, and dump the ground bud onto your favorite tray. In a 3-piece grinder, the ground-up bud will fall into your bottom chamber, giving you a convenient tray of weed to pack into your bowl. A 4-piece grinder operates the same as a 3-piece but with a screen added to the bottom of the third chamber to catch the kief, or lose trichomes, that may fall off the bud during the grind. For a super-charged bowl pack, put the weed from the third chamber into your bowl and sprinkle a little kief from the fourth chamber on top.

If you don't have a grinder, don't stress, learning how to hand grind weed is easy, just start ripping the bud apart and breaking it between your fingers until the flower is small enough to pack in your bowl.

Best Lighter Options for Smoking Bowls

Outside of your pipe, grinder and weed, you'll need a lighter to complete the set and smoke a bowl. The classic method is butane lighters like disposable Bics, refillable Clippers or even the cheap non-branded versions available at every convenience store in the country. 

For a cleaner taste, some cannabis-specific lighting methods allow you to avoid inhaling butane fumes. Several brands sell Hemp wicks, which allows smokers to use a hemp flame to light their weed instead of the butane lighter. For an even cleaner fire, use a butane torch to heat a glass wand, that you can use to light your bowl without any fire at all. 

How To Use a Pipe for Weed


Alright, now that we know how to pick out a pipe and what you'll need to start smoking, let's run through the step-by-step process of how to smoke a bowl.

Grind Your Weed

It doesn't matter if you're using a grinder or doing it by hand, but every bowlshould start by breaking down the bud.

Pack the Bowl

Place the ground-up weed into the bowl of your pipe. If the hole at the bottom of your bowl is particularly large, you can buy a pack of screens that will sit in the bottom of the bowl and prevent your flower or ash from falling into the middle chamber of the piece.

Cover the Carb

Remember the air-control carb hole we mentioned earlier? Make sure that your finger covers the hole when you pick up and spark your pipe.

Light Up

At the same time as you begin inhaling, light the weed with your chosen heat source. The simultaneous mixing of fire and air will send the smoke streaming towards the mouthpiece and into your lungs.

Clear the Chamber and Exhale

Once you've started your hit and smoke is in your mouth, release your finger from the carb to push any remaining smoke out of the middle chamber into your lungs. Then, like any form of cannabis smoke, simply exhale after a few seconds and enjoy the resulting experience. 

Are pipes your preferred method for smoking cannabis? Let us know what kind of pieces you prefer and why in the comments below!

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