In this guide we will take a look at some methods of smoking that don't use traditional rolling papers such as pipe smoking, bong smoking and vaporisers. We're going to explore the benefits of each device, how they are used and the pro's and con's of smoking without paper.
While smoking with traditional papers has been a staple since their invention during the 16th century in Spain, people are now looking for less harmful alternatives to rolling papers that still provide a satisfying alternative for smoking their herbs of choice.
Whether you enjoy smoking tobacco, smoking cannabis or simply smokable herbs and tobacco alternatives, this blog aims to provide the information you need to discover sometimes healthier alternatives to traditional smoking papers.
The importance of alternative smoking techniques
The importance of alternative smoking techniques is not just from a personal health stance, although this can be of massive benefit, but alternative methods of smoking have been used in important religious, sacred and recreational practices for thousands of years and continue to be used around the world today. Smoking tobacco and cannabis originates from ceremony and when used respectfully is an important ritual. You may be familiar with images and tales of the Peace Pipe used by Native American cultures, or the Chillums used by various religious groups and recreational users of (not exclusively) India and Africa.
There have been various types of smoking apparatus that have been invented throughout history to improve the quality of the smoke, whether it is pipes made from clay or stone which remain cool for a long period of time and give a smooth smoking experience, or vase like water pipes called bongs where the smoke travels through water to filter and cool it before it is inhaled.
In the modern day there are so many kinds of bongs, pipes and vaporiser devices used for smoking various herbs like cannabis, tobacco and herbal mixtures, the variety and quality is really quite astonishing. Many of these smoking devices enable you to be able to smoke weed without tobacco, or to vaporise your herbs so that it is less harmful to your lungs and body.
Although there are many different types of rolling papers (many of which use 100% natural and sustainably sourced materials), some contain harmful or carcinogenic ingredients which can be damaging and dangerous when inhaled. When rolling papers burn they produce carbon which is inhaled by the user; from a health perspective this is something that can be eliminated by swapping to an alternative smoking device.
Let's take a closer look at the alternatives and how to smoke without papers:
Vaporisers are devices used to vape weed, herbs and e-liquids by heating substances to temperatures below combustion. When your herbs reach these temperatures the active ingredients (for example in cannabis these are cannabinoids such as THC, CBG and CBD, as well as terpenes and flavonoids) are released without producing tar or smoke, making it a much healthier ingestion process than the inhalation of combusting plant matter.
Vaporiser devices are often battery operated and take very little preparation. With most vaporisers you can simply load your herbs and press a button to create the vapour and puff, you're away. Some vaporisers use a plug and can be rather sophisticated so this can make them less portable. If you're looking to take your vaporiser with you, then a handheld vaporiser would be ideal and there are plenty of options to choose from.
Vaporisers are popular for consuming cannabis and can be a great benefit to the medical marijuana community. Many people using marijuana medicinally are seeking to get healthier or to help with relief of various unwanted symptoms. Vaporising is clean, the effects are felt very quickly and it is pretty simple to do, making it the obvious choice for this type of user.
Pros and cons of vaporisers
Pros of vaporisers
Vaporisers are healthier than smoking with rolling papers - When you use a vaporiser there is no combustion which means that you are inhaling no smoke or contaminants that can be found in smoking papers or from the herb of your choice. Vaporised cannabis is a healthier alternative to the smoke inhaled when smoking with a rolling paper.
- The effects can be felt very quickly - If you are looking for an alternative way to smoke weed or herbs that works quickly and has strong effects, then a vaporiser may be for you. How fast you might feel potential effects can depend on your own personal factors such as tolerance, symptom relief requirements and weight.
- Vaporisers are simple to use - Although some devices are more intricate looking and may require slightly different ways of "firing it up", most vaporisers are user-friendly.
- The vapour is smooth - Unlike inhaling smoke from a joint or traditional cigarette (which can often be harsh), vapour is much easier to inhale and, if you are smoking weed, still contains all of the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes, meaning you get the full experience.
- It's cost-effective - Vaporising marijuana or other herbs is highly effective and ensures that you get the most out of your chosen product making it more cost-effective. It only takes a small amount of herbs to get a good hit on a quality vaporiser.
- Vaporisers can be highly portable - If you are looking for an alternative to rolling papers that can be as easily transportable, then you will find many different handheld, pocket sized devices to choose from.
As you can see, there are loads of reasons to choose a vaporiser for your herbs, yet with so many positives there are a few down-sides.
Cons of vaporisers
- Many people prefer smoking weed, tobacco and herbs because of the smoke - If you are looking for that nice hit, throat feeling and lung sensation that you get from smoking tobacco, weed or herbs when rolled using regular rolling papers, then a vaporiser might not hit the spot as the smoke is smooth, cool and doesn't give a sensation like regular smoking.
- Some vaporisers are not very portable - If you opt for a table mounted or vase like vaporiser then you might find that travel can damage it or it can be awkward to pack and move safely. Check our handheld vapourisers if you plan on taking it with you everywhere.
- The herbs go into the vaporiser and need to come out again - When you choose a vaporiser there is a chamber or bowl that is loaded with the herb of your choice. Once you have finished using it or when you want to reload it you must empty out the bowl or chamber. Vaporisers require a little maintenance and we recommend that you clean and maintain it often to ensure the quality of the vapour and functionality of the device.
A bong is a vase-like device that holds water where a 'downpipe' that has the plant matter in, travels down into the water. As you inhale, the smoke is drawn into the 'downpipe' through the water in the chamber which cools and filters the smoke. Once the chamber is full of smoke, the user can either release the rush hole or bowl in order to purge the air from the chamber quickly into their lungs. The effects of bongs can be felt very quickly and it is a cost-effective way to consume marijuana or other herbs.
There are of course many different types of bongs and they come in a huge variety of styles, shapes and sizes. Experienced users that smoke bongs will have preferences of the type of material that the bong is made from, the size of the chamber that holds the smoke and even things like the size of the mouth hole or bowl that holds the herbs.
Choosing the right bong for you depends on your smoking tolerance, the level of experience in bong smoking, and of course your own individual taste in colour, design and size. Our advice is to take your time choosing the perfect bong; there are many fascinating and fun designs to choose from and generally they are simple to use. Fill your bong with water (and sometimes ice depending on the style of bong you go for), load your herbs and puff from the mouthpiece.
If you would like more information about bongs, check out in-depth guides over on our blog.
Pros and cons of bongs
Pros of bongs
- Bong smoking is fast and simple - Using a bong doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming, it really can be as simple as load, light and puff. If you don't have enough time to roll and smoke with a rolling paper then loading a quick bong will definitely do the trick.
- The potential effects can be felt fast - Bong smoke is concentrated because of the way it is slowly 'creamed' into the chamber (this is done by slowly drawing the smoke into the chamber with your mouth). This means that you get a strong and dense hit that is felt within minutes.
- No need for rolling papers - With a bong you can load your herbs of choice into the bowl and smoke without the need of inhaling the paper. The water acts as a filter and cools the smoke. This means it is less harsh than a traditional cigarette.
- Bongs are cost-effective - Not only do you not need to buy rolling papers (or tobacco) but you can also get a stronger effect from your herbs with a smaller amount. This is because much of the plant matter is lost when burning a cigarette or joint. When you use a bong for your herbs (when used correctly) the smoke is dense and concentrated and gives a proper kick.
- Bongs are a great social way to smoke - Much like passing a joint or a cigarette you can spend the evening passing the bong between friends. Get the bong out at special occasions or with those select few you enjoy to smoke with.
- Bongs take very little maintenance - If you treat your bong with respect and clean it regularly then there is no reason it won't last for a very long time. It's very simple to find bong cleaning products for when it needs a clean and replacement parts if accidents do happen.
Cons of bongs
- Bongs can be delicate and difficult to transport safely - Many bongs are made of glass or ceramics meaning that they can be damaged if dropped or crushed. We recommend opting for a silicone or plastic bong if you plan on taking it on journeys.
- Bongs require maintenance - While many bongs are easy to maintain it is important to keep them clean so that the bong can be at optimum performance. Cleaning can also help preserve some of the components as years of buildup can cause deterioration to rubber grommets and other parts.
- Bongs often aren't discreet - In many places you can discreetly smoke a joint or cigarette - bongs on the other hand are a little less inconspicuous.
Pipes are long pipes where your dry herb of choice is loaded and lit at one end, combusted, and inhaled and tasted from the other. There are many different types of modern pipes to choose from, including ceramic and glass pipes that have cooling qualities which provide a smooth cool smoke. Using a pipe is usually a simple process and often pipes themselves are easily transported and discreet.
You can find all manner of pipes across the globe from basic wooden pipes for smoking tobacco to elaborately designed artisan glass pipes for smoking weed or other herbs, as well as an abundance of sizes and intricate designs.
Many cannabis users choose pipes as an alternative to traditional rolling papers and to avoid products like tobacco.
Pros and cons of pipes
Pros of pipes
- Pipes are often small, transportable and discreet - Many types of pipe are perfect for chucking in your bag or pocket. Many long pipes can be broken down and glass pipes sometimes come with a protective carry case.
- Smoking a pipe is fast and effective - It takes just a matter of seconds to load and smoke a pipe making it the perfect rolling paper alternative. The effects of the pipe can be felt quickly because generally it is loaded with pure herbs and you can burn it all in a couple of hits.
- You can save on herbs - It doesn't take much to fill a bowl and the effects can be stronger than those of smoking from a cigarette or joint. Generally, if cannabis is loaded into a pipe, the plant matter is loaded without another herb. It is not common to mix tobacco and cannabis in pipes, rather it is a pure method for smoking weed or tobacco (or your favourite smoking mix) exclusively.
- Pass the pipe - Smoking a pipe is a wonderful social smoking experience. With a pipe you can 'pack a fatty' and get multiple hits.
Cons of pipes
- Some pipes are breakable - As many pipes are made of glass or ceramic, care must be taken when handling and transporting them. Be sure to find a safe carry case or choose a material that is suitable for your adventures. You can find many different types of pipe and we recommend browsing our range to see what best suits your individual needs.
- Pipes do not filter the smoke - Although you aren't consuming rolling paper when you smoke a pipe, there is no water filter and the smoke can be harsh. Connoisseurs have favourite herbs for specific types of pipe. Discover your own preferences and build your collection. We recommend glass and ceramics for their cooling attributes and silicone or metal for durability.
- Pipes are less discreet than traditional cigarettes or joints - Although not as big and obvious as a bong, pipes are less commonly seen in public and you may get unwanted attention.
If you're looking to start with a rolling paper alternative then a pipe may be perfect for you. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, effective and simple to transport.
How to choose the right smoking method for you
The right smoking method for you is based on entirely personal factors and preferences. What is ideal and effective for one person might not be for another. Start with an idea of what kind of alternative you are interested in and then consider your circumstances, when and where you want to use it, your tolerance and more.
Smoking accessories are very easy to use and are generally self-explanatory. Do your research, consider the style, size and materials of your chosen device, and always consult a healthcare professional.
If you're looking to give up smoking rolling papers, tobacco or any other kind of inhalation device like a vaporiser then you may be interested to know that you can find all sorts of interesting creams, balms, lotions and edibles. CBD gummies are particularly popular, as well as CBD teas, which are both easy to fit into your daily lifestyle routine.
Choosing alternatives to smoking is not only a health choice but can save you money and time. To find out about more of our amazing products and the latest deals and offers, take a look at our online store where you can save on multi-buys and receive points and further discounts when you shop with us.
Speak with ICE Headshop
If you have any questions about our smoking paper alternatives or wish to get more information from our team, then don't hesitate to get in touch. We are available to help 24/7 and offer an easy-to-use shopping service so that you can find the perfect products for you.
Disclaimer: Please note that you must be 18 years or older to purchase CBD products. All claims and effects of CBD have been regulated by the MHRA since 2016 and distributors require a licence from the MHRA to make any medical claims. Claims are opinion based and non-scientific, and while we may discuss the opinions people share, they are not our own. Our CBD is not intended to treat, cure or prevent disease. Although we can advocate its calming & healthy properties it is in no way intended for medicinal use.