Marijuana can be a diversion full of rituals, but when your usual tools are out of commission or missing in action, it’s time to get creative. And while necessity may be the mother of invention, “I’m out of papers” or “my pipe broke” can inspire even the most ham-fisted cannabis fan to tap into their inner Thomas Edison.
There are many time-honored ways to get high in a pinch, and none of them require any sort of higher education or engineering skill. Which is good, because engineering school is expensive.
Here are five of the most popular tricks for smoking weed when your normal tools aren’t available.
1. The apple pipe method
According to the internet, Sir Isaac Newton was only 22 years old when he first started unearthing the law of gravity. That’s impressive, but many of our readers were likely much younger when they first realized that they could fashion a pipe out of an apple — and feel less bound by the laws of motion within moments.
The apple method is about as simple as it gets, and all you need is a fresh, crispy apple and a pen.
Remove the stem and use the pen to bore a hole through where the stem was, down to about the middle of the apple. Remove the pen and move towards the bottom of the apple and bore a hole that will connect with the north-south hole you bored from the stem. Then turn the apple and drill a third hold on the other side which also meets up with the north-south hole. This third hole will serve as the carb.
Up top, use a knife to carve out a bowl at the top of the apple where you drilled the first hole. Depending on the shape of your apple, this may not be necessary At this point you could put a little aluminum foil over the bowl and poke little holes in it, but it isn’t necessary, especially for a single use pipe.
When you’re ready to smoke, simply wedge a nice-sized nug of flower into the bowl, and while holding the carb, light the bowl and take a nice hit through the hole on the other side of the apple. Make sure to release the carb when you’re ready to clear the smoke from the chamber.
You may find that the hit has a nice fruity flavor to it, though you probably won’t want to eat the apple afterwards.
2. Rolling paper substitutes
When you absolutely must smoke a joint and you’re out of papers, a little creativity can go a long way.
Try to find a book with very thin pages, for instance a Gideon’s Bible like the type you may find in the bedside table at a motel. Another option is a phone book, which has an added bonus of finding an actual use for a phone book in the year 2021.
In both cases, try to find a page that doesn’t have much ink on it and gingerly moisten and tear out a large enough rectangular piece to use as a rolling paper.
The paper layer inside an aluminum foil gum wrapper can also be used. Just heat the foil side with a lighter for a moment or two and then gently remove the paper layer.
The papers used in these methods won’t have the adhesive gum found on most rolling papers. They will require a generous amount of saliva to seal them, and one should probably only use them for rolling a smaller, shorter duration joint.
Arguably, another method that fits into this category is the old “hollow out a cigarette” technique. If you have a spare cigarette in the house, roll it back and forth between the tips of your fingers to gingerly work the tobacco out of the cigarette without breaking the paper.
Then place some well-ground cannabis into the hollowed-out paper and tamp it down until you’ve filled as much as you want. And you’ll probably want to keep the filter on at the end just to hold everything together.
3. Hot knife hits and smoldering paper clips
The hot knife method is an old school marijuana MacGyver trick like no other. It’s basically a 20th century version of vaping. Kind of.
The idea is simple, take two butter knives and heat the tips on the stove until they get blazing hot. Then take a small piece of cannabis flower or a tiny bit of concentrate (this method works especially well with hash) and place it on the tip of one of the knives and press the tip of the other knife over it like a sandwich. As the smoke comes off, inhale deeply.
Many people prefer holding a plastic bottle that has been cut in half in their mouth and placing it over the knives to catch the smoke. Either way works, though the plastic bottle method may help you keep the white hot knives a bit farther from your lips.
Another popular old school method, if you’re looking to smoke hash with some household items, is the paperclip and cup method. Just take a small piece of hash and spear it on the end of a paper clip. Then bend the bottom of the paper clip so that it stands up on the table and light the piece of hash.
Take a glass cup and place it over the paper clip, extinguishing the flame. Once the hash goes out, the cup will fill with smoke and you can tip the side up and inhale it in a quick gulp. You can also stick a drinking straw inside if you prefer to sip it that way.
4. The pen is mightier than the one-hitter: The inverted pen method for smoking weed
If you have a pen with a metal tip, you’re in luck — even if the body of the pen is plastic.
First off, do your best MacGyver impression and disassemble all the pieces of the pen. If you’d like, you can put on a blindfold and imagine you’re in basic training and have been tasked with taking apart an M16 and putting it back together with your eyes closed. You can even put on some Buffalo Springfield or “Fortunate Son” in the background to complete the vibe.
Now, take the unscrewed metal cap and flip it, inserting the narrow tip into the end of the hollow shaft of the pen. Make sure to cram it in hard so that it makes a seal. Place some herb into the cap, which is now your bowl, place your lips on the other end of the pen, light the weed, and inhale.
5. How to smoke weed with a corn husk
For our midwest readers — or any cannabis fans who for some reason don’t have rolling papers but do have unshucked ears of corn and a penchant for adventure, this next method is for you.
How does it work? Take two cornhusks and leave them out to dry for about a half hour or more on a rolling tray. Grind up some cannabis, but not too fine —make sure it’s a bit of a coarser grind.
Take the cornhusk and cut off the pointy ends so you have about as close to a rectangular shape as possible.
Take another piece of corn husk and remove two long strips from it and tie them into loose ties. Fill the other husk with weed and place a filter inthe end. Roll it up like you would a normal joint, but instead of licking the gum and sealing it, take one of the strips and tie it around the end where the filter is. Then take the second strip and tie around the joint about halfway between the middle and the tip.
It’s going to take a little longer to get the corn husk joint lit, but once you do you have a sturdy, fully plant-based joint that will burn slowly and definitely help you out in a pinch, even if the smoke is a bit — or a lot — harsher than you’re used to.
Like the other methods mentioned above, it isn’t going to be your everyday solution, but when it is needed, it can definitely do the job.
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