For centuries, people have been smoking dry herb out of chillum pipes, otherwise known as bats and one-hitters in today’s terminology. These pocket-sized, slender pipes are designed for portable cannabis use and allow you to microdose with ease.
What is a chillum pipe?
The traditional use of chillums has an uncertain history. Cultures from all over the world—as far as India to South Africa to Jamaica to South America—tell stories of spiritual gatherings featuring chillum pipes.
Although it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when people started using them, we do know that the first chillums were made from clay, wood, or stone. Headshops today typically sell stylish glass chillums, given the impressive range of techniques glass blowers use to produce colorful, unique designs. You can also find lighter versions made from stainless steel.
One distinguishing feature of a chillum pipe is that it doesn’t have a carb (carburetor) hole. Unlike a bowl, which has a hole (the carb) that controls airflow, chillums only have an opening for the herb, a long conical “neck” for the smoke to pass through, and a mouthpiece.
In India, Ayurveda practitioners wrap a piece of cloth over the chillum mouthpiece to serve as a filter. To avoid bits of herb from falling through the chillum, other people insert tiny, mesh screens (which help with “scooby snacks”). Depending on the pipe design and how it smokes, you may not need to make these adjustments.
How do you use a chillum pipe?
Compared to more advanced smoking equipment, such as bongs and dab rigs, chillum pipes are one of the easier ways to consume cannabis. To get started, you’ll need a decent grinder, a lighter, a chillum, and an ashtray. From here, you simply:
- Grind: Get your buds to a powdery consistency so they burn best. Pick out any seeds and stems you find for smooth, creamy hits.
- Pack: A pinch or two does the trick. Try not to overload the bowl or pack it down too tight, but you’ll want enough to keep the herb from falling out. If you know your tolerance, chillums are ideal for microdosing measured amounts of cannabis without getting overly “high.”
- Puff: Hold the chillum at a 45-degree angle as you light the herb and gently inhale from the mouthpiece. Slow puffs are recommended to avoid getting ash in your mouth.
- Tap out: Once the bowl is “cashed,” or burned to ash, tap out your chillum in the ashtray so it’s ready to go for next time. Regularly clean your chillum with a combination of rubbing alcohol and salt to stay ahead of resin buildup.
What is it like to smoke from a chillum?
Chillums are a simple, no-frills method of smoking cannabis. That said, they tend to be harsher on the throat, mouth, and lungs, because they don’t have a carb. Without one, the smoke pushes directly from the bowl of the chillum to the mouthpiece, giving you less control over the amount of smoke you inhale.
This can be stalled by the addition of a mesh screen, or you can inhale slowly instead of gulping the smoke. Some chillums produce sizeable smoke clouds, though, even with a small amount of herb. Remember to start low and go slow if you’re a novice.
Chillum pipes are better suited for a solo smoke sesh. In group settings, you can pass a hand pipe around without having to constantly keep refilling it. With chillums, you pack as much as you can handle and put them away when you’re through. That’s because the bowl of a chillum is smaller than most, making them ideal for outdoor settings when you want a single hit (or two) of cannabis.
Many people opt for chillums for this very reason: they’re private and offer the opportunity to microdose cannabis as you please.
Chillum vs. pipe vs. bowl - What’s the difference?
Hand pipes, also known as bowls or spoons, aren’t the same as chillums because of the carb. When you put your finger over the hole, it directs the smoke towards the mouthpiece, allowing you to control the intensity (or however long you hold/release the carb).
Chillums are straight pieces with a conical-shaped bowl, whereas hand pipes have a bigger, more bulbous bowl. Some glass chillums feature a dot-sized marble on the side so they won’t roll off of flat surfaces and break. The biggest difference between the two comes down to the carb.
To sum it up
If you’re looking for a discreet smoking experience for one, chillum pipes are the way to go. These one-hitters are great for on-the-go needs and don’t require a lot of prep. Just remember to pre-grind your buds if you’re heading out of the house. As one of the more old-school ways to enjoy cannabis, chillums have a throwback feel about them that makes you appreciate their simple, yet effective, design.
What is a glass chillum pipe?
In general, chillum pipes are three to four inches long, made from glass, and only hold a small amount of herb. Glass chillums come in funky shapes and sizes, but the simplest ones look like slender tubes with a tiny bowl and a mouthpiece. They don’t have a carb hole, like hand pipes.
Are chillums better than bowls?
It’s really a matter of preference. Chillums have their perks: they’re portable, great for solo smoking, and fun to smoke out of. Bowls (hand pipes), on the other hand, accommodate greater amounts of herb, come with a carb, and last a couple of puffs longer. This kind of pipe tends to be better in group settings when you want to pass it around rather than refill it after every hit.