What is a chillum? A pipe, a bowl? Some hybrid of both? Actually, chillums are cool little smoking devices you should consider adding to your kit. Once a lesser-known way to smoke cannabis, today chillums are surging in popularity. They’re small, portable, and if you know how to use them right—most don’t—they provide a versatile and discrete way to puff. They also hit hard, offering the shortest path possible between your smoke and your lungs.
What is a Chillum?
In terms of its design, nothing could be simpler than a chillum. It’s basically a pipe in the form of a short, straight tube. They have an end-to-end tunnel, meaning the air flows straight from one end to the other.
But a chillum is different than other weed pipes for one major reason. Your more traditional pipe has a bowl that’s perpendicular to the stem of the pipe. When you hold the bowl, the flower sits “on top” and you suck the flame down into it.
With a chillum, however, the bowl is just the conical end of the tube. Think of it like a giant glass cigarette packed with weed at the tip. Usually, the opening where you’d pack your herb is rather large and has a high-diameter opening. And it’s exactly this singular design that trips up newcomers, especially if they’re only experienced with regular pipes.
How to smoke a Chillum like a pro
To the uninitiated, the chillum presents a challenge. Rookies will often hold them parallel to the ground, dumping out the weed in the process. Other folks will tilt their heads way back to hold it verticle, looking a bit ridiculous and definitely attracting the attention of any onlookers.
It’s also pretty hard to get a good light when you’re holding your hands above your head and can’t see what you’re doing.
Tip 1: Get Stoned
That’s obvious, right? But seriously, find a small stone or a pebble that fits snugly in the tip of the chillum. Sure, you could use a screen or other filter. But chillums are legacy tech, and cannabis smokers have relied on them for centuries.
Back in the eighteenth century, when Hindu monks were perfecting the art of smoking a chillum, they would search the ground for the perfect-sized pebble. Inserting the pebble in the opening blocks flaming ash and embers from rocketing down your throat when you pull.
It also makes sure you don’t eat any of your herb. The large opening of the chillum is the first stumbling block for a novice. To try and solve the problem, people will usually just load up entire nuggs into the opening. Problem is that doesn’t really solve the ash-eating problem.
Tip 2: Get Hands On
To make the best use of a one, take a hands-on approach. You can actually use your fist to create a chamber for the chillum. The technique is easy.
First, pinch the mouth-end of a loaded chillum between the first and second knuckles of your index and middle finger, keeping it vertical. Second, form your hand into a hollow fist. Just like you would if you were blowing into your hand to warm it up on a cold winter day.
Now, just hit it by breathing through your hand at the loop made by your index finger and thumb. You’ll pull smoke down the chillum, into your hand, and into your face.
You can even mimic the behavior of a carb if you want. Use your pinky to pinch shut the heel of your hand as you fill your “chamber” with smoke, then release to rush. Or if that doesn’t work, you can use the palm of your other hand, but you’ll need someone to help you spark the chillum.
As a final note, make sure not to set your hair on fire when you spark one up. They burn higher up than most pieces.
Final Hit: What is a Chillum?
Overall, a “chillum” can designate a wide range of similarly designed pipes. Anything that’s a simple tube could technically be considered one. Some people call the one hitters that go with their “dugout” weed boxes. For others, one hitter and chillum are interchangeable.
Technically, however, a chillum is the large-bore earthen, clay, or glass pipe described above. They’re not the perfect piece by any means. It’s hard to keep from eating some herb when you use one. And they hit hard—almost like a mini steamroller—which is something to keep in mind if you’re sensitive to weed smoke. But when it comes to simplicity, coolness, and portability, it’s hard to find a more versatile go-to than the chillum.