Weed nerds-- Help me find a hookah alternative with a similar vibe?
June 30, 2016 12:00 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I currently spend the majority of our time together wrangling our two year old. We have been getting in an 'adult time' frame of mind about twice a month by smoking weed from a hookah. It's awesome. However, I'm concerned about the health effects. Looking for an alternative that preserves the relaxing ritual feel. Snowflakes below

Basically, we turn down the lights, put on some jazz, and spend about 30 minutes smoking and talking. The smoke is pleasant and not at all harsh-- something that is important to my husband who can't deal with joints, pipes, etc.-- and we find that we love the ritual of passing the pipe back and forth, watching the smoke, etc. We usually have amazing conversations, followed by great sex and eating everything that is not nailed down. We love it!

However-- since we now do it twice a month, I'm concerned about the health implications as from my reading it sounds like hookah smoking is not so great on a number of fronts. I bought us a vaporizer (small, hand held) but while it gets us stoned it doesn't at all replicate the all the other elements of the experience that we love.

So-- I'm wondering about 1) a different, maybe larger vaporizer that would allow us to sit around and pass it back and forth 2) another mechanism for smoking that is social, not harsh and that I haven't already thought of 3) hookah tobacco or coal alternatives that would reduce the impact of our new favorite pass time. :)

(To be clear, I am not at all concerned about implications for our toddler or looking for advice on that front. This experience allows us to bond and come together in a way that is great for us and our marriage and therefore great for our family and our kid.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

I would recommend the Volcano by Stortz & Bickel - it makes a big bag of vape that you can pass back and forth. Only downside is the fan/crackling of the bag can be a little noisy, in which case their Plenty model might be a better alternative.

I've used their products for a few years now and they're sturdy, well-engineered and a very pleasant alternative to smoking methods. Happy to talk more over memail if you have specific questions about how they work.
posted by terretu at 12:08 AM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hookahs are awesome! But yeah, as someone whose lungs can't handle smoking any longer, vaporizing is the way to go. Like b1tr0t, I have a Silver Surfer desktop vaporizer, and it is just about perfect. Depending on how much you want to pay for it, you can get it visually customized in many different ways. Setting it up can be nearly as involved and ritualistic as a hookah, including loading the bowl, waiting for the SSV to come up to temperature, passing the whip around for hits. Regardless of make, I think getting a whip-based vaporizer is probably the closest option to replicating the hookah experience.
posted by insert.witticism.here at 7:25 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, I forgot. I was also going to mention that you can get adapters to connect a water pipe/bubbler to the vaporizer whip. While filtering isn't so much of an issue with vaporizers, the water can cool the air down, which is soothing. Plus, it can be fun to handle the bubbler.
posted by insert.witticism.here at 7:30 AM on June 30, 2016

Get a table-top whip style vaporizer. It's basically a hookah that vaporizes instead of burns the material so the process to prepare and use the thing will be basically the same (I think, I've never used a hookah).

A couple of tips:
-If you don't already have/use a grinder, get one. They're cheap and make the process a lot easier and consistent with helps with the ritual feel of it.
-Food/medical grade silicon hoses are really cheap and make a nice upgrade to the hose that comes with it (true for most whip-style vapes).
-The easiest way to clean the glass components (which will get coated in resin) is to boil them in a big bowl of water in the microwave. You can even collect the bits that break loose (it's just condensed vapor) and use it like hash (put a little chunk on top of some herb) or use it to cook some edibles. Given the frequency of use, you won't have to clean it very often at all. Like, maybe once a year.

I have a friend with an Arizer Extreme Q (which will also let you use bags like the Volcano if you want to try it out) and he likes it a lot.
posted by VTX at 7:50 AM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Lots of good answers above. My only advise is to keep your apparatus clean and to realize you do not need to hold the smoke in to get maximum effect. Use small amounts that can be pulled easily and exhale immediately.

Vaporizers are excellent, but unless that have seriously improved recently, they use much more weed per session, and my personal experience has been a less heady buzz.
posted by terrapin at 9:07 AM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have yet to use a vaporizer that I really liked. I'm with terrapin above. I also found that it seemed like we were using a lot of pot and not getting much in the way of a buzz.

For a nice clean smoke, I like a good old fashioned bong. For the cleanest smoke, I'll use a clean bong filled with clean water that has been kept in the fridge. I find it cools down the smoke and makes it quite a bit smoother.
posted by futureisunwritten at 9:18 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

they use much more weed per session

I've always thought that it's the opposite. Everything is kept to much lower temps so you're not losing anything to combustion and the result is less weed consumed. That has been my friend's experience as well with both the Arizer Extreme Q and a 1st gen Pax by Ploom (which needs to be cleaned damn near every time you use it) and seems to be the consensus among users in general. But now we have two people claiming the opposite so I'm really curious.

Maybe you guys were setting the temp too low?

My friend has also noticed that vaped sativa strains don't do much so he prefers indica leaning strains. Now I wonder if that has been due to the method of consumption.
posted by VTX at 9:44 AM on June 30, 2016

The VaporTower is the most hookah-like vaporizer I've seen. It comes in various wood finishes, and the delivery system is a small glass globe at the end of a tube.

I know lots of smokers swear by the high that the Volcano gives you, but sucking drugs out of a plastic bag doesn't sound like the experience you're going for.
posted by cirocco at 11:55 AM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I came here to recommend a Volcano vaporizer, but I see it's already been mentioned.

They are expensive, but well worth it; cheaper ones can be very hit-and-miss. You can find good deals on used ones.
posted by teatime at 3:12 PM on June 30, 2016

Has anyone used the vapor tower? Does it seem to work well? Cirocco- have you tried it?
posted by jeszac at 3:48 PM on June 30, 2016

I have Da Buddha, the sister vaporizer of the Silver Surfer, mentioned numerous times above. I think it is great and would work well for your purposes.

Though, honestly, I can't imagine that smoking weed twice a month is going to do anything harmful to you. That is really low intake. But, yes, if you are worried about it a tabletop vaporizer is the way to go. There is s bit of a learning curve
posted by fieldtrip at 4:43 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I switched to a vaporizer a while back and would never go back to burning the herb. In fact, I routinely turn down the opportunity to share a bong or joint with others...it's just gross. I take issue with a couple of things repeated in this thread though. First, that vaporizing uses much more weed than burning it. I have found the opposite to be true. Maybe people are not grinding the weed as finely as possible, I don't know. However, I estimate I am using about half as much as I did when using a pipe or joints. Second, While the Volcano is the Rolls Royce of vaporizers and certainly a good product, it costs in the neighborhood of $750. I opted for the Airizer (look on Ebay) at $150 and am completely satisfied. By the way, you needn't puff out of plastic bag if you don't want to, the unit comes with a hose and mouthpiece to partake directly from the unit, just like a hookah.
posted by txmon at 7:17 AM on July 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Use a table top Vape with a whip. Like the Arizer ones.

For those who are use to a hooka can't stand the burnt taste/heat of normal methods of smoking it's perfect.

It works like a hooka, you can pass it. But yeah, it can use more than other stuff. And you can get reeaaally baked too fast if you don't take it easy.
posted by OwlBoy at 7:22 PM on July 20, 2016

Yep. Volcano. Came here to say it but got beat to it.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 10:17 PM on August 13, 2016

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