Even if you have never tried weed, you could probably recognize the must-have accoutrements. While creative stoners with time to kill can make a smoking implement out of just about anything, it is typical for the cannabis enthusiast to own at least one pipe, and perhaps they also have a bong and a vape for the sake of variety.
However, one tool that few stoners have, and a piece of paraphernalia you aren’t likely to recognize, is the bubbler. Read on to learn more about bubblers — what they are, who uses them and why everyone should get one.
Simply put, a bubbler is a handheld water pipe. Just as a bong uses water to filter the smoke for a cooler, smoother inhale, a bubbler allows smoke to travel into a water-filled chamber before it travels through a mouthpiece. While bongs tend to be big, bulky smoking tools with many moving parts, bubblers are smaller and more straightforward, with fixed pieces that won’t get lost when you are on the go, like a regular spoon pipe.
Bubblers vary in size and shape, but they all consist of four parts: mouthpiece, bowl, chamber and carb. You fill the bowl with weed, as you would a pipe, and the chamber with water, as you would a bong. Then, you light the weed and inhale, covering the carb to hear the bubbling water for which the tool is named.
Bubblers boast all the benefits of a bong and all the benefits of a regular pipe in one convenient package. In effect, bubbler users gain:
Filtration. Water helps to cool down a cannabis hit, but it also removes any ash present in the smoke. Removal of ash makes the hit smoother because it prevents the extra-hot, extra-harsh elements of cannabis combustion from reaching your airways. Thus, you are less likely to cough and more likely to enjoy the subtle flavors of your strain.
Portability. Some bubblers are small enough to fit in your pocket, and most are the right size for a glove compartment or purse. This makes it easy to bring your smoking implement of choice to friends’ houses, smoking lounges and other spaces where cannabis consumption is legal. Plus, because bubblers don’t require extra accessories, like downstems, bowls, adapters and ashcatchers, you are only carrying around a single piece of smoking equipment.
Technically, bubblers aren’t only for marijuana. In fact, most types of water pipe were initially developed for use with tobacco, which has never been illegal in the United States. As a result, bubblers are legal almost everywhere, even in states that prohibit cannabis consumption and sale. Still, you might want to check with your local laws to make sure that bubblers aren’t considered illicit paraphernalia, especially if you aren’t allowed to possess bud in your area.
The best place to buy a bubbler is the same place you buy your weed — a Chicago dispensary. Budtenders at your favorite dispensary will be able to guide you toward a bubbler that suits your needs and style, and if they don’t have the right bubbler in stock, they can either order it or direct you to the right place to make your purchase. Buy getting your bubbler from a local brick-and-mortar, you are supporting local business, which keeps your community thriving.
However, if the dispensaries in your neighborhood don’t offer any bubblers, there are a few other places you can look. Smoke shops, which tend to stock tools for tobacconists, sometimes have a couple bubblers in their display cases, and headshops, which specialize in cannabis accoutrements, almost certainly sell bubblers. If all else fails, you can look online, where you are likely to find designer bubblers at high prices.
For some stoners, a bubbler seems like a novelty that does offer benefits over other smoking tools, but for most stoners, once they try a bubbler, they never go back to regular pipes. Offering a smooth hit, a sleek design and a simplified size, the bubbler is an old piece of tech that is gaining new appreciation from this generation of cannabis aficionados.