A Look at Your Basic Tools for Cannabis
By Justin Allec
Turn your eyes away from the shining, elaborate glasswork and whatever this week’s edible trend is to some rather more ordinary items. Yes, let’s hear it for your basic tools, the kind of things you just need to have on-hand if you’re going to indulge in cannabis. There’s nothing too fancy or expensive here, but each item can save you trouble and make it easier to get to the headspace you want.
You need a good working surface. Fresher cannabis is fairly sticky, so a rolling tray is a good idea to keep your desk, table, textbooks, and countertops clean. Grind it up, dump it here: banked sides keep all the cannabis in place, even if you don’t use it all at once.
We took a deep dive into papers a few years ago and found that, for taste and performance, bleached rolling papers aren’t all that nice. Instead, try a brand that uses natural fibres such as Pure Hemp or Element, which burn evenly but allow you to taste each delicious terpene.
What? That’s the technical name! A good pokey stick is a helpful friend. Use it to clean pipes, put the finishing touches on joints, pack bowls, clean out grinders—whatever you need. I’m fond of using paper clips or thicker-gauge wire as you can heat the stick up for even more effective cleaning.
If you’re still using scissors to chop up your cannabis, you’re doing it wrong. A grinder is easily worth the cost in terms of saving time, effort, mess, and cannabis. There’s about a hundred models on the market and some are pretty fancy, but if you don’t want to bother with kief-filters and different cutting blades, a simple two-piece grinder will serve you well.
The last resort or your first choice? A simple pipe—be it made of glass, wood, stone, metal, whatever—is a cheap addition to your kit that gives you a way to deal with roaches or when you just want to relax with just a teeny bit.
The ubiquitous Bic is my go-to lighter for bowls, though I prefer a wooden match for joints. I’ve found that other lighters such as Zippos and your standard barbecue lighter taste terrible, though they’re fine for bongs. Butane torches are a fun idea for extreme wind or cold, though they’re almost too powerful.
Be responsible. Always keep your cannabis kit together, secure, and out of the reach of children and pets. Up high and out of sight doesn’t always mean inaccessible.
Though it imitates the filter from a cigarette, a joint’s filter is simply a small bit of paper rolled up to provide a holding surface. Some brands of papers come with their own filters, though for my purposes a length trimmed from cardstock works fine.
Your glassware and tools could use a good cleaning every few weeks to keep things tasting and smelling fresh. There’s a host of commercial cleaners available—Orange Chronic and Formula 420 are both excellent—but your local shop should have a few available. These are usually friendlier to your glassware, your health, and the planet than harsh industrial-grade cleaners from Canadian Tire.
I bashed scissors above, but you can use a small, sharp pair in your kit for trimming stems, shaping papers, cutting filters, and other random uses.
If you’re conservative about your cannabis, you need something airtight to put your nasty, stinky roaches in to save for your grandfather joints. Sealer jars work well, and you can always add a dryer sheet (or potpourri) to deal with the odor.