Cone vs. Bowl Part 2: Getting High the American Way

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You’ve traveled from Australia to the US. You’ve learned the laws and the social norms of the different states, and you’ve bought yourself some bud. What now?

Getting high in the States isn’t exactly the same prospect as it is back home. Unless you’re in a hostel with a gang of diehard Aussie traditionalists, you won’t be running into any gateys or brass cone-pieces in your travels…

Vapes Everywhere

The first thing worth mentioning is the huge popularity of vaporisers. Americans are a long way ahead of us, as far as bud-smoking paraphernalia goes, and you’ll likely run into a wide variety of dab pens, as well as herb & cartridge vapes on the streets of most American cities. You may even struggle to tell whether they’re smoking weed or not; a lot of the newer models are completely odourless and super discreet.

Fedora not included*

The portability and the distinct lack of smell makes them a great option for smoking where you otherwise couldn’t. I wouldn’t test it on a plane, but I know people who regularly vape at work, in college classes, or in cafes & restaurants.

Dab pens are particularly useful for these purposes; they also don’t come with the neckbeard-y stigma of a bulkier piece. We’ll definitely be seeing more of them in Australia in the years to come.

Staying Traditional

With that said, a lot of folks in the States turn their noses up at anything battery-powered or electronic. The go-to for these purists is the ‘glass bowl’ or bong, both of which are available in abundance, and can easily be as expensive as a vape. American smoke shops are significantly more accessible and commonplace than their Australian counterparts… but don’t count on finding brass cone-pieces, or trays of cheap stems. Instead, you’ll inevitably be confronted with stacked shelves of glass, name-brands, and every accessory you could think of. 

A San Francisco smoke shop off the infamous Haight & Ashbury

American ‘bowls’ are basically just glass pipes; generally upwards of 4 inches long, with room for two or three cones-worth of bud in the end, and a shotgun on one side. Nicer ones will be hand-blown, with attractive patterns in the glass. They can easily go for US$30-50.

That said, I bought one from Amazon for 5 bucks, and it’s served me well for six months. Purchasing one is really a question of budget and personal taste, more than anything else. They’re also surprisingly easy to clean. Whack it in a Ziplock bag filled with cleaning alcohol for a few hours, and watch as the resin slips right off.

While you won’t catch anyone smoking out of brass or plastic, you will find a healthy number of joint and blunt-smokers on the streets of most US cities. In particular, blunts are much more popular than they are in Australia. They can be purchased pre-rolled alongside joints in most dispensaries. Pre-rolls of either variety will inevitably be more expensive gram-for-gram than buying straight bud, but the convenience of buying, lighting, and smoking in the space of five minutes is a truly magical thing.

Feeling Hungry?

After walking into those dispensaries in search of pre-rolls or a souvenir bowl, you’ll inevitably encounter the incredible range of edibles America has to offer — and this is where legalisation really comes into its own. Aussie dealers might be able to sell you pre-rolls, oils and artisanal strains, but it takes an industry to concoct the smorgasbord of edible THC delights available in the United States. These aren’t your roommate’s overcooked brownies; we’re talking candies, desserts, cereals, even beef jerky — all professionally packaged with their specific THC content on the label. Price and availability vary state by state, but it’s safe to say that if you can eat it, someone is selling edibles made from it.

Before you run along in search of edible gummy worms however, be sure you check whether it’s THC or CBD you’re getting in your purchase. If it’s being sold at a coffee shop or a restaurant, chances are it doesn’t have THC in it and therefore won’t get you high. This article explains the distinction quite well. Even dispensaries occasionally pull this trick, particularly the more open ones in tourist hotspots. Real edibles will almost always be sold with a label indicating the average THC content.

So long as you read the label, you’ll be okay. Downing a couple of brownies is a great way to pass the time on a long bus trip. The stronger ones can be very psychedelic. They also make a great alternative over-the-counter meds, if you just wanna sleep your way across the country. Those same road trips may also be the ones where you’ll be crossing state lines, and it’s often better not to be carrying anything incriminating when you do that. Who knows what a cop might do if he sees a bong or a bag of buds… he’s unlikely to whip out a THC test kit over a couple of cookies, though.

Weed in the States

I hope you’re as excited as I am about the myriad of options available for getting blazed in the USA. In the meantime, be sure to check out Part 1 of this series on Legal, Decriminalised and Illegal States.

Tune in next week for Part 3, where we will navigate the CBD craze.

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