The smoker’s toolkit

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at

Do you smoke different things for different occasions? Like, if you’re going to the store, you rip a bowl. Long day ahead? Bong. A family event with your dysfunctional relations? FAT wood. Does it matter?

—A. Propriette

Great question! Yes. Yes, I do. I also choose specific strains that I think will pair well with certain events.

I am generally a pipe smoker. I prefer a Sherlock Holmes- or Gandalf-style pipe. The longer stems cool the smoke, and pipes are great for sitting on the patio or in a park with a few friends. If I am headed to a party, I like to bring doobies. Joints don’t break when you drop them, you can roll a big joint or a small joint depending on the size of the circle, and if you get blazed-and-confused and end up wandering away, you haven’t just lost a $50 smoking device.

Blunts are great for festivals or heavy sessions with seasoned stoners. Remember that adding nicotine to cannabis increases THC absorption by as much as 48%, so be careful with the newbies. Really though, smoking methods are really just a personal choice. Hell, some people prefer vaporizers. Weirdos.

The real art is picking the right strain for the occasion. Different types of weed will have you feeling different types of ways. You probably don’t want to be all quiet and couch-locked if you are supposed to be giving a speech, the same way you wouldn’t want to be all hyped up on sativas if you are at an event where you are expected to sit still and pay attention. I like Blue Dream for movies. (It’s an excellent hybrid and makes things either funnier or sadder, depending on the film.) I am gonna want something that will give me the munchies if I am hitting a fancy restaurant or a big buffet. (Bubba Kush is a good one. So is Granddaddy Purple or Afgoo.) And maybe a chocolate Hashberry or a Cookies variant if I plan on spending a mellow evening conversing with friends. Experiment with a few different strains, and see what works best for you. Let me know what you recommend.

What are the minimum pieces/items required for a complete smoker’s “kit?” (Papers, pipe cleaner, a pipe, grinder, etc.)

—B. Prep-Aired

The bare minimum is a chunk of weed and a way to make fire. Light up the nug and inhale the smoke. No muss, no fuss. That approach may be simplistic, but you don’t need to carry around a utility belt full of cannabis gear. I generally carry a pipe, some rolling papers, two or three lighters and some weed. Some folks carry a whole kit bag: Pipes, grinders, papers, pokers, blunt wraps, the works. And that’s cool, but I like to keep it simple. I once walked down the street with a man as he prepared and rolled a joint in the palm of his hand. It was one of the best joints I ever smoked in my life.