Why Glass is Better?
Glass tobacco pipes stormed into smoke shops worldwide starting in the mid 90’s. Lately though, consumer taste has drifted towards electrics for convenience, we are now finding that these ‘pens’ and ‘vapes’ are not all they’re cracked up to be. First, they may be called vape, but they are anything but vaporizing. When your Cannabis is in contact with the heating element, that’s combustion. Period. Recent testing during the vape crisis found dramatic toxicity levels from the lead and cadmium solder used to assemble the heating elements in the majority of pen vapes.
Now at a time when we are social distancing for fears of a pandemic, maybe a review of why glass has been the go to material for pipes for the last 30 years will be helpful.
▪ Health: Since smoking is at its heart, a communal or social experience, we often pass the dutchie at the sesh. Your lips are now going to be touching whatever the person next to you has on their lips. Not so good these days. The godfather of Glass Pipes; Bob Snodgrass, observed that Glass would be a great alternative to rolling papers, metal, stone or wood pipes and plastic vape pen mouthpieces because Pyrex had almost zero surface porosity. The surface of most materials is porous (little holes) and provides places for bacteria and viruses to hide to escape disinfection. Think acne in the pores of your face; scrub and squeeze all you want, skin still has high porosity and so does paper, metal, wood, stone and plastic/silicone. Pyrex does not. Without the little holes for the bad stuff to hide in, all you have to do is pass your glass pipe mouthpiece over the lighter you are already holding. Voila, sterility. No Corona Virus here thank you very much!
Much has been made (incorrectly) of the inherent health benefits of vaping. I agree that Vape Pens are both convenient and clandestine, but I disagree whole heartedly that there are ‘health benefits’. Solvents are used to make the cannabis extract (not concentrate) in the first place, and then thinners and aerosolizers (vitamin E acetate or poly ethylene glycol) are added to make the pen work. Since solvents strip out all the beneficial parts of cannabis in an effort to contain the smell, Pens only deliver THC. The euphoric effect of THC is downgraded substantially because that euphoria requires ALL of the plant to get CBD, CBN, CBG and the natural flavor profile of organic terpenes. Vapes get you sort of high. Sure, your cart says Strawberry Cough but that doesn’t mean the strain anymore, it’s describing the flavoring chemicals that have been added to make it taste and smell like Strawberry. Ok, so, you can smoke a bowl of flower from a glass pipe, or, you can add solvents, aerosolizers and flavorant chemicals to increase your convenience. Maybe you should read about the transition from rolling papers to cigarettes and how convenience in the form of a pre-packaged cigarette masked the chemicals that harmed so very many people. There is NO health benefit to vaping, it’s just a convenient way to sort of get high.
▪ Flavor Enhancer: Glass tobacco pipes were developed to provide a pure smoking experience by eliminating the competing tastes of metal, wood, plastic/silicone and other porous or burnable materials, in effect isolating the natural flavor of the leaf. Whether enjoying a beautiful handpipe, bubbler or a pure glass hookah you can be assured that glass will not impart any undesirable flavors or tastes.
▪ Color Changing Artwork: In the early 1990’s, glass artists began experimenting with silver and gold fuming processes in an effort to change the characteristics of glass handmade pipes. What was discovered was that a thin layer of pure gold and/or silver applied to the inside or the surface of the pipe created a unique phenomenon once leaf resin was introduced to the product. The tobacco particulate, combined with the precious metals refracted the light much like a prism (think Dark Side of the Moon), causing the pipe to change colors. Additionally, different tobaccos produced different hues ensuring completely unique hand pipes based on individual usage.
▪ Renewable: One key characteristic of glass is its ability to not only be cleaned repeatedly but also sterilized, killing harmful bacteria (See Above). Wood, metal, stone and plastic pipes cannot be thoroughly cleaned due to their inherent porosity, allowing various bacteria to lurk in your pipe. A thorough cleaning of your glass pipe via commercially available cleaners, or a common dishwasher will return your handpipe to its near original state. This provides the user with a clean palette for a completely new and different color changing experience.
▪ Uniqueness: Unlike metal, wood, or other glass machine manufactured pipes, each handmade handpipe is blown by glass artists in our state of the art glass studio. While we strive to ensure consistency and keep our products true to their cataloged likeness, no two pieces are exactly alike. Each Chameleon Glass pipe is truly a one of a kind original.