The Art of the Chief
There is an endless supply of ways for us to elevate our reality with bud. Chief among them are the blunt, joint, bong, bowl, edible, and vapor. Regardless of how you consume it, cannabis must go through a process called decarboxylation which is the act of heating the compounds in the bud to release the medicinal properties. In other words, no matter how you enjoy it—you got to put that fire (heat) to it. Using wraps, paper, glass and even drinking cannabis tea can all get you lifted and here we’ll explore some of the most popular ways to get blown.
Many of us started rolling blunts. Hip-hop culture in the late 80s and early 90s told us about Phillies in East Coast rap (hear “How to Roll a Blunt by Redman). By the early 2000s, the South put Swisher Sweets in the air (hear “every song ever to come out of the ATL”) and by the teens, we heard rappers and singers talking about the Dutches. But before all of that our Caribbean sistren and brethren put the ganja in natural leaves like Backwoods. Irie (hear International Farmer by Peter Broggs). In order to smoke an L, you typically have to break down a pre-rolled cigar by splitting it along one side and pouring out the tobacco products inside, also known as “guts”. It then takes a skilled roller to put crumbled bits of bud inside the empty cigar and then wrap it back up securely. The last steps include sealing the split end with a little saliva and (out of courtesy for others) putting fire to it to seal the side and kill the spit. After this step, most of us choose which side to spark and slowly turn it over the lighter to “torch” it and get the L smoking.
Stoned-out rappers like Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa encouraged us to roll paper planes and “jernts” without all the tar of blunted Ls. But any of the old heads will tell you about (or roll you) doobies like they use to blow back in the 70s and before. Even their elders (rest their souls) used to fire the reefer sticks called marijuana cigarettes down in the juke joints and speakeasies (hear Cab Calloway’s, Reefer Man). Rolling a J is very simple and involves sprinkling your tree into a paper, tucking one end in between the other end and the bud, and then slowly rolling it into a neat cylindrical tube. When done correctly, we call this a pearl.
For those who still want to chief but do not want the harshness of blunts and joints, there are other means to toke. These include the use of glass pipes to smoke pure sinsemilla without any paper or cigar material. Two such pipes are dry pipes and wet pipes—or bowls and bongs. Bowls are simple devices composed of a cradle to hold the bud, a hole in the side to percolate air and a stem to pull smoke through for a quick-hitting head rush. Likewise, bongs made popular by Cypress Hill (hear Hits from the Bong), use a similar smoking system with the addition of a chamber that holds water to filter the smoke through before you inhale. This provides a full, clean hit that oftentimes will sit you down for the day and have you in la-la land looking through the haze.
Not all green has to be lit in flower form to be enjoyed. It is well documented that ancient cultures used a product called ‘bhang’, a cannabis tea to get lifted. Perhaps it was this use of bhang that led our ancestors to retrieve the oils from the bud and put it in food. Over time this infusion became the popular treats known to smokers and non-smoking THC enthusiasts as edibles. To make edibles the bud is cooked over time with butter, oils and even water to infuse the THC with those other products which can then be used in food and drink for a couch-sitting, drawn-out high that can last for hours.
Another non-smokable way to ingest the ganja is vaporization. Vaporizing involves not burning, but heating the bud to release the THC and other cannabinoids without unleashing the other plant compounds that come with smoke. It is the healthiest way to chief while still tasting the bud and clearing some of the fog that can come with other methods. Vaporizers come in the form of handheld devices and volcanoes where the heated vapor fills a bag and can be passed around and inhaled.
Over centuries of use, the craftiest minds have devised many ways to take off using Ms. Mary Jane (hear Mary Jane by Rick James; and Ms. Mary by Slim Thug). There is no one way and no right way but only a high way. We at FourFortyEight encourage you to responsibly explore the various ways to elevate and see where cannabis will take you.