When you’re in an argument with someone - likely some non-stoner dweeb who doesn’t know anything about much - you’ll often hear this line on more than one occasion: “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it”. Besides the fact that this cliche is annoying, it brings to mind a very important point that we’d like to discuss today - instead of focusing on what you’re smoking, let’s talk about what you’re smoking WITH.
Are you the kind of stoner that packs a mean bowl in your crystal or stained-glass pipe? Maybe you’re more of the type who gets blitzed on a bong? Perhaps you roll the fattest blunts on the West Coast? Or by chance you prefer to hit those dab rigs as hard as a bat nailing a baseball?
We’ve all passed around a peace pipe, shared stories over massive bong hits and even got high on each other’s vaporizer fumes. Have you ever dabbled with one of the oldest and most traditional forms of smoking weed? It’s called a hookah, and it’s one of the most satisfying smokes you’ll ever have (keep reading to find out why).
Before we learn how to smoke weed out of a hookah we need to define what exactly a hookah for weed looks like. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about hookahs that will help to clear the haze on what this device is, how it is used and why you can put weed in a hookah for your next smoke session:
The name hookah is a very old Hindustani word that is thought to have originated in the ancient Persian Empire, whereas some suggest it’s more of a recent development in 15th or 16th century India. Although mysterious in its origins, hookahs have been widely used for hundreds of years and have entrenched themselves in many Middle Eastern and Eurasian cultures.
Hookahs for weed and shisha usually consist of the following parts:
Bowl - an interior bowl that holds the smokeable materials
Windscreen - can be made of foil or an actual screen, these suspend coals above/below the bowl as a direct, non-contact heat source
Plate - a plate of metal that catches any ash or combusted plant materials
Basin - the main water chamber that cools down smoke and adds moisture to every inhale
Tube/mouthpiece - the hose-like apparatus with a mouthpiece at its end whereby smokers inhale
Valve - this is often used to purge smoke or fumes that are leftover after the smoothest inhales have been taken
A hookah is a kind of water pipe used to smoke tobacco, cannabis and various infused mixes of herbal remedies. Hookahs consist of a unique heating and moisture collection chambers - instead of using a lighter to ignite smokeables, hot coals are used in a non-direct contact way. Essentially, a bowl containing the cannabis or shisha - a mix of flavored tobacco and other herbs) - is above the coals, and when inhaled the heat is drawn up/over the smokable, vaporizing resins & flowers.
Hookahs are used to smoke a variety of things, but most commonly they are packed with cannabis or shisha. Shisha is a tobacco mix that includes other herbs and spices for added flavors & aromas. Think of shisha like a fragrant incense-like mix that is inhaled and enjoyed as a relaxant, as a delicious treat after a meal, or shared amongst friends at a party. Cannabis is often smoked in hookahs as well because of the extremely smooth inhales you can expect from a weed hookah.
People have been learning how to smoke weed out of a hookah for centuries, and today is a golden age for enjoying the smooth, sweet and savory tastes and smells of weed from a hookah. The first and most popular benefit of smoking weed from a hookah has to do with taste; weed hookahs combine cannabis flowers with shisha for a truly elevated and flavorful smoking experience. Herbal mixes, flavored tobacco and the various tastes & aromas of weed make hookahs a very versatile device that can fit any occasion.
Not only is a weed hookah one of the most enjoyable ways to smoke your buds, but it’s an ornate device that is the centerpiece for many stoner’s collections of pipes, bongs, rigs and other equipment. Hookahs often feature stained or colored glass, ornate metals and trippy, intricate designs that add sustenance to any smoking experience.
What’s more, hookahs for weed can include multiple tubes/hoses in order to smoke with your friends & family without the need to share mouthpieces. This makes puff-puff-passing obsolete, and is one of the chief reasons why many stoners invest in an ornate looking weed hookah of their own.
There are many people who find smoking a weed hookah to be a bit challenging as much as it is a silky-smooth smoking experience. Hookahs do require more than your average know-how and upkeep than other smoking devices, so they aren’t considered to be very user-friendly for novice stoners. You have to maintain perfect conditions for your coals to be not too hot, but not blow out too early as well. Practicing keeping your coals lit and at the right temperature can take many weeks/months to nail down, so try not to get too frustrated in the early attempts to smoke weed out of a hookah.
Hookahs for weed are also not very convenient, mobile or easy to upkeep. Cleaning hookahs can require delicate care, and they do not travel well due to their larger size and ornate, breakable materials. On top of this, even though you can put weed in a hookah it can take time and a lot of focus to do properly. This makes weed hookahs quite a process, even for seasoned veterans. Thus, if you’re more concerned with smoking on-the-go, without much fuss or setup, then a hookah for weed might not be for you.
Hookahs certainly are a more advanced form of smoking devices that are meant for true smoking cannaseurs. Setting up hookahs, maintaining them, cleaning them and learning how to effectively smoke out of one can take a lot more practice than your average bong or pipe. Therefore, if you’re an experienced cannabis smoker and you’re seeking to try something more refined, more skilled and with more potential for customization, then a hookah for weed is perfect for you.
Now that we know that you can put weed in a hookah and what the benefits are, let’s detail how to smoke weed out of a hookah for the best experience possible:
Hookah (glass or metal preferred, avoid plastic knock-offs)
Cannabis flowers and/or Shisha
Coals (avoid bbq or chemical-based coals whenever possible)
Tongs or heat-resistant utensils
Step #1: Cleaning
Even if you’ve purchased a brand new hookah device, it’s recommended that you clean/sterilize it before smoking anything. Because hookahs are designed to pull all the air - which means all the residual particles too - with every powerful inhale, you have to maintain a clean hookah more than many pipes or bongs in order to maintain clean smoke and the purity of your inhales. We recommend using natural cleaning products to avoid altering the tastes/smells of your hookah pulls.
Step #2: Filling
Once your hookah is cleaned, dried and ready to be filled with weed you need to first prep the water chamber. The reservoir will hold a certain volume of water depending on how large/small your hookah is. No matter its size, fill your hookah reservoir roughly ⅓ to ½, as befits your device. Keep in mind that over filling with water can make it difficult to inhale as the extra pressures from excess moisture can deliver less smoke through your tubes. Alternatively you can do some water and some ice for a truly unique hot/cold inhale.
Step #3: Inhaling
Now that you have a filled water chamber it’s time to test the inhale pressurization before you light up any buds. To test the inhale pressure, simply do a full drags on the mouthpiece/tube and determine if there’s enough water in the hookah. Leaks in the hoses will be obvious and require immediate patching. If there’s too much water in your reservoir then your inhales will be taxing on your lungs - remember this phrase: ‘if there’s any strain, then you must drain!’. Conversely, an under-filled water chamber will make it too easy to inhale, which will mean not enough smoke will reach you through the tube/mouthpiece. Adjust as needed after this step.
Step #4: Packing
Your hookah is cleaned, filled and pressure tested so the next logical step is to pack it with weed! Try not to over-pack your bowl as this will cause uneven burning/decarbing of your buds. A trick to avoid over-packing is to refrain from pressing cannabis flowers or shisha down into the bowl - just put enough to smoke and don’t worry about maximizing the weed-per-inch like you do with bongs, pipes and vaporizers.
Step #5: Covering
Before you get to actually smoking your neatly packed bowl, you need to set up the windscreen or foil covering. Windscreens can be purchased and are manufactured to fit nicely over most hookah bowls. If you’re making your own with foil just be sure to poke holes evenly throughout the surface of the foil cover so that proper airflow can escape through these perforations. Once covered, your bowl can be placed in suspension above your catchment plate, or directly on the plate - depending on your hookahs design.
Step #6: Igniting/Heating
A long lighter, match or dab torch are typically used in the next step of lighting your coals. Some hookahs have wider opening so that your entire hand can fit in, but this also changes the dynamic of inhaling/pressurization so it’s likely that your hookah for weed will be narrow & cylindrical. Alternatively, you can light your coals outside of your hookah and once lit, glowing red and fired up just the right amount, you can use tongs of any heat-resistant utensils to carefully place the coals inside the chamber. Coals typically go above windscreens/foil, but some flip this script and actually place everything below the bowl. Regardless what method your hookah incorporates, the burning coals are the last thing you need before getting to what matters: smoking them nugs!
Step #7: Smoking
As the coals heat up the bowl and therefore the plant resins and materials begin to release their velvety smooth smoke, be sure to monitor your coals. The most common mistake when smoking weed out of a hookah has to do with coals going out too quickly, or getting too hot and burning the shisha/weed too quickly. Hookahs are designed to be a ‘slow burn’ type of device, so patience will be required for the full experience.
Once your coals have initiated some significant smoke build-up, take a pull on the mouthpiece and watch the delicious & aromatic haze creep up your tube and into your lungs. Remove a coal or two to lower temperatures if they get way too hot in your chamber, or move them around and adjust the windscreen/foil for a better heat spread.
There you have it! We hope you’ll be ripping hoots from hookahs at every cannabis cafe, pot party and weed shindig from now on. Smoking weed out of a hookah is a truly refined smoking experience, so when you need some extra relaxation, savory smoke and smooth highs try some pulls from an ornate weed hookah and take your cannabis game to the next tier of opulence.
Is it safe to put weed in a hookah?
You can certainly smoke weed from a hookah, it just requires a few extra steps or more consideration due to the moist nature of shisha vs the dried state of cannabis flowers.
How does a hookah work?
Hookahs are a kind of water pipe that pass heated air through hash, shisha or cannabis mixtures that are contained in a water chamber. The combined moisture and smoke coalesces and is then inhaled through a long tube and mouthpiece.
Why do people smoke from a hookah?
Many people prefer smoking from hookahs because it’s a very refined process that takes time, effort and careful attention to fully enjoy. Much like making your own espresso drinks at home, the extra steps and finer details involved in smoking from a hookah represent a commitment to the craft of smoking, more so than just a convenient hit of cannabis or shisha. Hookahs for weed are also very smooth to inhale and can be very intricate in their design, which is a major draw for this kind of water pipe.