An Ode to the Simple Joint, Still the Best Way to Get High
Just look at that. What more do you need? Photo via Flickr user Wiros
Fellow and future potheads,
We are at the beginning of a golden age. Weed has never been more accepted, available, and accommodating. There are currently a variety of ways to acquire and consume marijuana. Worried about the health effects of smoke? Try a vaporizer or a vape pen. Want to get annihilated in a way that would make David Crosby wish he had never picked up a guitar? Try a dab or whatever this guy is up to.
The future is now, ganja enthusiasts. That’s why I wish to take a moment, before these halcyon days become permanent, to make a case for the joint as the best way to imbibe the sweet, sweet green.
The joint is the family station wagon of weed-smoking methods. A nostalgia object, on borrowed time, waiting to be replaced by more efficient, more expensive ways to smoke weed. It’s a waste of weed, it doesn’t get you high enough, it’s unhealthy—these are the common complaints against joints. Yet these are also some of the reasons why I love the joint.
The appeal begins in the creation of the joint. There is a ritual, a skill at play. You have to take time and care with a joint. You have to know how much the paper can handle, when the weed is evenly distributed, and when it’s ready to be flipped over and rolled. The final motion, licking the sticky strip and twisting the joint, is a craft that rewards patience and dexterity. A joint encourages you to take a moment to get it right. Its very nature requires you to step out of the demands of the day—what’s happening on your social media, that report due tomorrow, dinner with your significant other’s parents—and, for a moment, focus on your hands, your mouth, and your drugs.
Disclaimer: As my friends can attest, I suck at rolling joints. No matter how many tutorials I watch on YouTube, my joints always come out spindly and weird looking, like an old miser in a Dickens novel. It’s possible that this inability has led me to fetishize Js.
Apparently the good people of 1970s Madison, WI also fetishized joints. Photo via Flickr user jfzastrow
Compare this to a pipe: Whether it’s a $5 special obtained from a disapproving convenience store clerk or a $90 piece that looks like it was made by a glass blowing student under the influence of psychedelic mushrooms and fantasy novels, there’s no process or technique to using them. Stuff bowl, smoke all stuff in bowl, repeat. Then watch as what once was a clean looking object becomes filled with brown resin that seemingly represents all your unfulfilled ambitions.
Then there are bongs, the pick-up truck-owning big brother to pipes. My problem with bongs is they reflect a bullying, domineering aspect of pot culture. An immaturity that still clings to marijuana, a reminder of the high school parking lot roots of getting high. The goal is to get as fucked up as possible and, more importantly, to be able to handle getting that fucked up. Bongs represent getting high as something the cool kids do—it’s weed as an exclusive club. I don’t think weed should be scary, it should be welcoming for anyone to try, but it can be hard to convince someone to smoke weed when you are smoking out of a device that looks likes it should be used for killing aliens.
Joints are more transportable than bongs, more subtle than pipes, and more welcoming than both. A joint is an invitation to a community. It’s for sharing. They can appear anywhere they are needed: Sitting at the beach or in a field watching a band, suddenly a joint is produced from the backpack or purse of some highly-appreciated soul. That magical moment is a lot harder to imagine with someone pulling out an eight-chambered bong during dusk at a music festival.
It’s this generosity that I feel is the key value of marijuana, the leftover hippie vibe that gets rolled into every doobie. That’s why vaporizers and vape pens miss the point of weed with their efficient vaporizing. Weed is a rare part of our culture that works by the values of the potluck. Weed should be about an overzealous generosity, a sharing that leaves your shelves and stocks bare and empty. I am comfortable sharing all my weed because I know it will return tenfold. Weed is always a waste—you’re wasting time, wasting thoughts. That’s the whole damn point. Vaporizing devices are the opposite of that. They highlight their efficiency, bragging about how far they can make your weed stretch as if it were a $10 bill.
And in regard to the argument that vaporizers offer a healthier, cleaner high, that’s only true if you don’t take into consideration the drop off in vitamin D that occurs when you become a vaporizing shut-in. Everyone I know with a high-end tabletop vaporizer ends up orbiting that thing permanently, leaving it only on rare food excursions.
Weed is going to become legal in our lifetime, and when that happens the floodgates will be wide open. Weed gadgets and new strains—our wildest pothead dreams are going to be realized and also capitalized. But before marijuana becomes a productive member of society, ready to buy a condo and pay its taxes, I’d like to remember what drew me to it in the first place. The idea that there can be alternatives to the values continually shoved into our faces, that it’s important to take time to pause and reflect, that introspection and friendship are their own rewards and that ownership is far less important than generosity. That’s why I ask that we not leave joints behind, fellow enthusiasts, lest we forget what made this stuff great in the first place.
Unless it’s this joint. We can probably leave that one behind.
We are entering the Golden Age of Pot, and as much as we love vaporizers, poppers, and bongs that look like alien weapons, the joint remains the best way to consume marijuana.
How to conserve your weed
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- Get the right gear
- Store your cannabis properly
- Invest in quality
- Smoke less
There are many reasons you might want to get the most out of your cannabis flower: to save money, minimize dispensary visits, or simply to stretch out your supply during a dry spell. Whatever your reason for wanting to conserve your stash, there are steps you can take to stretch your weed dollar further. This guide will walk you through how to properly conserve your weed.
Get the right gear
Having the right gear for cannabis consumption can go a long way towards conserving your cannabis. Joints and blunts are the least efficient consumption methods for flower, as the burning tip burns off the cannabinoids even when you’re not inhaling. It also takes a lot of flower to properly pack a joint or blunt, which means much of your stash is going into a single experience. If you love your joints, remember, you don’t have to smoke it all at once.
Glass pieces, such as pipes and bongs, feature smaller bowls and prevent you from loading too much bud at once. If you smoke the whole thing and you still want more, you can just pack another bowl. Bongs are also a good way to maximize your flower, as the long chamber allows you to consume all the smoke from the burning cannabis and take fewer hits to get the same experience.
Glass pieces, such as pipes and bongs, feature smaller bowls and prevent you from loading too much bud at once. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
To get the most mileage out of the flower you use in blunts, joints, or glass, use a proper three-tier grinder and save the kief, which are the resinous trichomes that fall off the flower during the grinding process. You can reuse this very potent dust to sprinkle on top of future bowls and add to their potency.
Vaporizers are also a great way to stretch out the viability of your dried cannabis. Vapes heat cannabis at lower temperatures and burn off less of the cannabinoids in the bud, which means you get more THC by consuming less cannabis.
Store your cannabis properly
The proper storage of cannabis helps ensure your cannabis stays fresh and potent for as long as possible. To extend the shelf life of cannabis, it should be kept in a cool, dark place at or slightly below room temperature. The ideal storage temperature for weed is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, or 21 degrees Celsius. The darkness and cool temperature prevent moisture from changing the integrity of your flower and stop mold or mildew, which love light and warmth, from growing.
To extend the shelf life of cannabis, it should be kept in a cool, dark place at or slightly below room temperature. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Light and oxygen are the main culprits when it comes to degrading flower. According to a study that explored the stability of cannabis in various storage conditions, light is the single largest contributor to the loss and deterioration of cannabinoids. Carefully stored cannabis can stay reasonably stable for 1-2 years in dark, room-temperature conditions.
Ultraviolet light will also degrade your cannabis, so use dark and airtight glass jars to preserve your flower’s THC and prevent it from degrading into cannabinol (CBN), a cannabinoid that doesn’t have the same intoxicating properties as THC.
Invest in quality
There’s something to be said for investing in higher quality cannabis. Levels of potency, terpene profiles, curing and drying processes, and growing conditions all play into the experience of smoking a particular flower cultivar. If you can afford to spend a little more on high-quality flower from a reputable source, the potency may encourage you to consume less. Be aware, however, that research indicates those who routinely consume highly potent weed develop a tolerance over time, in which case the best method for conservation is to cut back on frequency.
As you increase the regularity of your consumption, the body builds up a tolerance to THC. Tolerance increases with many substances, such as caffeine, due to a biological process called downregulation in which cells decrease their sensitivity to particular molecules. More THC in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) overwhelms the CB1 receptors, and in turn, the cells reduce their sensitivity to THC. With this negative feedback loop, a consumer must smoke more and more cannabis to achieve the same experience they could when they first began consumption.
Your body will need more potent doses of cannabis the more frequently you consume, as your body “downregulates” the introduction of cannabinoids. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When you intentionally regulate the amount of cannabis you intake, your body’s tolerance adjusts and you soon will be able to achieve your desired experience with a lot less green. Little habit adjustments go a long way: lightly pack a smaller bowl; roll narrow joints, called pinners, instead of fat joints; or invest in a one-hitter or snap bong piece designed for the smallest hit possible.
Already have a high tolerance? Never fear — a study from the Yale School of Medicine found that “significant CB1R upregulation begins with two days of abstinence and continues over four weeks.” In other words, when a cannabis smoker takes a break, CB1 receptors begin to bounce back after two days and return to almost normal levels after four weeks.
How to conserve your weed Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Get the right gear Store your cannabis properly Invest in quality Smoke