Yellow cannabis hand pipe with marijuana flower in the bowl, sitting next to a cannabis leaf

What is a Marijuana Pipe & How Do You Use It?

Have you ever walked into a dispensary and spied some of the coolest glass pipes you’ve ever seen, and then realized that you don’t even know how to use a marijuana pipe? Well, those days are over. By the end of this guide, you’re going to feel like a seasoned marijuana pipe pro as we answer the questions:

  • What Is A Marijuana Pipe?
  • What Are The Different Parts Of A Cannabis Pipe?
  • What Are The Different Types Of Marijuana Pipes?
  • What Are Cannabis Pipes Made Of?
  • How Do You Choose A Hand Pipe?
  • How Do You Use A Marijuana Pipe?
  • Marijuana Pipe FAQs

What is a Marijuana Pipe?

A marijuana pipe (sometimes called a “weed pipe”) is a handheld device that is used to smoke cannabis and cannabis products, like concentrates. The pipe is a rather simple design: you have a bowl on one end, where you put your ground cannabis, and a mouthpiece on the other side, where you inhale the smoke. Some cannabis pipes also have a little hole in them, called a carb, that you cover with your finger while inhaling and then release, to create better airflow and a better experience for the consumer. While pipes come in all different sizes and types, most cannabis enthusiasts prefer a good quality glass pipe.

Prefer the bubbler experience? Check out our water pipe guide

What are the Different Parts of a Cannabis Pipe?

Cannabis pipes range from little glass tubes that fit in the palm of your hand to tabletop-sized, elaborate sculptures—but they all have pretty much the same parts. The parts of a cannabis pipe are:

  • Bowl: This is exactly what it sounds like—a small basin on one end of the pipe that you fill with ground marijuana (and sometimes sprinkle with a little kief).

  • Carb: Not every pipe has a carb, though most do, because it helps air flow through the pipe. The carb is a little hole on the side of the bowl (usually) that you can cover and uncover to control the airflow through your pipe. 

  • Chamber: The chamber is basically the stem of the pipe. It’s the tube the smoke travels down to get to the mouthpiece.

  • Mouthpiece: Another pretty intuitive part, the mouthpiece is where you will inhale.

What are the Different Types of Marijuana Pipes?

Not all pipes are created equal, and that’s a good thing when you like to vary how you enjoy your cannabis. Here are some of the different pipes we carry at our dispensary locations:


In the United States, the chillum is just another name for a one-hitter. This means it’s a pipe just big enough to have one or two pulls before it needs to be refilled. Chillums are popular because they’re discrete and easy to travel with.


For most cannabis beginners, this pipe is the one you think of. It earned its name because it looks like a spoon with a slightly larger mouthpiece, narrow chamber, and then wider bowl. 


If you’re planning for a longer smoke session, the hammer could be the tool for you. This pipe is shaped exactly like a hammer—it has a long, slender stem with a deep bowl at the end. Because of the depth of the bowl, you can usually enjoy your cannabis for longer before needing to repack your bowl.


A steamroller is a classic marijuana pipe with a big difference—the carb is at the end of the pipe, and the bowl is in the middle. Because of this, air flows more easily through the chamber, creating a more potent, though some consider harsher, experience. Steamrollers are probably not where you want to start if you’re just getting into marijuana pipes and smoking cannabis.


Ready to solve a mystery? You’re going to feel like you are with this pipe. The Sherlock has a long, classic curve to the chamber, similar to the tobacco pipe carried by the world-famous detective.

What are Cannabis Pipes Made of?

Cannabis pipes are most frequently made of glass. This allows them to be all different shapes, sizes, colors and styles. Many cannabis connoisseurs choose glass pipes because they are non-porous. This means the smoke cannot be absorbed by the glass, so you may have a cleaner experience (provided you take care of your pipe and clean it properly between sessions like any other tool). 

In addition to glass, marijuana pipes can also come in metal. While metal pipes are durable, they also can sometimes change the flavor of the cannabis, giving it metallic undertones many consumers find unpleasant. Metal pipes also may require more cleaning time, and you should never put a metal pipe in the dishwasher. This will make your cannabis taste like your detergent. 

Finally, some cannabis connoisseurs love wood pipes. These pipes typically have unique styles, many of which look like they would pair well with a wizard’s pointy hat. Wood pipes are often chosen because of how the wood can influence and enhance the flavor of the cannabis. They must be properly prepared before their first use, and they must be disassembled to clean them. 

How Do You Choose a Pipe?

You’re ready to purchase a marijuana pipe, so now what? With so many options available, how do you choose? Well, first of all, if you’re new to cannabis, opt for a more functional pipe. While there are some really stunning, art-quality pipes out there, they’re expensive, and not always the easiest to learn on. From there, most cannabis enthusiasts have four considerations when purchasing a pipe:

  1. Material: You can purchase glass, wood, metal, and ceramic pipes, so which one is the best? Most cannaisseurs gravitate to glass, specifically borosilicate annealed glass. It’s durable, typically thick, and will last the test of time as long as you take care of it.

  2. Price: If budget is a concern for you, you’ll want to stick with the simpler spoons, hammers, and chillums. These simple designs tend to be the least expensive to make, and therefore, more cost effective for the consumer. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, so don’t be afraid to ask your budtender to show you their budget friendly pipe options.

  3. Size: Don’t underestimate the importance of the size of your pipe. For example, if you typically consume small amounts of marijuana throughout your week, you’re not going to need a pipe with a deep bowl, like a hammer. You’ll probably want to opt for something chillum-sized. Conversely, if you prefer long smoke sessions, the last thing you want is an inadequately sized pipe that you have to constantly repack. Consider how you like to enjoy your marijuana and then purchase your pipe accordingly.

  4. Portability: In the same vein as size, portability is often a factor for cannabis consumers. If you plan to take your pipe on the go, you’re not going to want anything big and bulky. Palm-sized or even a little smaller is probably the way to go for your lifestyle.

Ultimately, there is no shortage of pipes on the market, so if you end up picking the not-quite-right pipe, you can always keep it for the right situations and purchase a new pipe that’s more suitable.

How Do You Use a Marijuana Pipe?

Some cannabis enthusiasts, whether they’re new to the industry or a seasoned marijuana veteran, stay away from pipes because they feel too complicated. Between grinding your marijuana, packing your bowl right, and managing the carb, it can feel a little intimidating. That is, until you do it for the first time and realize you had nothing to be scared of. To make it easy, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to using a marijuana pipe.

What You Need:

  • Cannabis flower (If you’re nervous about wasting your premium flower with your first couple tries, opt for popcorn flower or even shake. Both are more cost-effective options when you’re just learning.)
  • Grinder (you can use a scissors, but we prefer to use a grinder for a more even consistency)
  • Lighter
  • Pencil, pen, or another slender, flat object to push your cannabis down into the bowl

Step 1: Grind your flower and prep your pipe
If your pipe is new, give it a rinse to make sure it doesn’t have any residue on it from the manufacturing process. Once it’s clean and dry, grab your flower, your grinder, and get to work. You should grind just enough to fill the bowl for your session. It’s better to grind and pack more than waste any of your marijuana.

Step 2: Pack the bowl
Take a pinch of ground cannabis and set it into the bowl. Some people like to use a pencil, if you have a particularly deep bowl, to get the marijuana to the bottom. Others just give a little press of their pinky finger. You want to give the bowl the Goldilocks treatment—don’t pack it too light or too loose. Pack it just right aka somewhere in the middle. 

Step 3: Hold the bowl, cover the carb, and light it
When you hold your pipe to smoke, hold it by the bowl, not the stem. This will allow you to place your finger over the top of the carb. Using your lighter, ignite the cannabis in the bowl and gently inhale. Release the carb to draw the smoke from the chamber into your lungs.

From there, you can repeat step three as many times as you’d like or until the marijuana is fully burned. While you certainly don’t have to clean your pipe after every session, you should empty it of any ash or debris once it’s cooled.

Want to try vaping your marijuana instead? Our Intro to Vaping guide has all the details you need.

Answering Marijuana Pipe FAQs

The great thing about the cannabis industry is that most people love to help other marijuana enthusiasts—us included. Here are a few answers to some questions we get on the regular:

What should I look for when buying a glass pipe?
Whether you’re talking to a budtender or looking at pipes online, you’ll want to look for the words: borosilicate annealed glass. 100% borosilicate annealed glass to be exact. This type of glass is strong, thick, and durable, making it the perfect, long-lasting material.

What’s the difference between a piece, bowl, and pipe?
Let’s go from biggest to smallest. A “piece” is just the generic term for any sort of cannabis smoking device. Someone might say they have a piece and pull out a Sherlock or a chillum. Both would be accurately described as a “piece.” “Pipe” can also be a catch-all term, but it’s typically used to describe a handheld spoon. A “bowl” is the part of the pipe where you pack your ground marijuana flower.

Why is it called a bowl?
The bowl is called a bowl because it’s shaped like a bowl. Say that three times fast.

Purchasing a Marijuana Pipe

At one point or another, everyone was new to a marijuana pipe, so don’t be afraid to ask questions when you get to the dispensary. The budtenders are there to help you pick the right pipe for you based on how you enjoy your marijuana, your budget, and any other preferences you may have. Then, you can grab your flower and head home to enjoy your new piece.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.