Today I want to talk about the ritual of cannabis consumption. I was having a nice little glass of absinthe the other night and it got me thinking about the ritual and pseudo-ceremony that stoners go through when consuming cannabis.
For those unfamiliar with absinthe, the traditional way to drink this spirit is to pour a small amount into a glass, then take a special perforated spoon that sits across the rim of the glass and set a sugar cube on the spoon’s perforations. The idea is then to take ice water and very slowly (over the course of 5-10 minutes), one drop at a time, drip the ice water onto the sugar cube. As the water saturates the sugar cube, it begins to dissolve. What you then see is icy sugar water dripping slowly through the holes in the spoon and into the absinthe waiting below.
The absinthe and iced sugar water combine and create a beautiful, seemingly iridescent, smoky-white green. This product is called the “louche.”
The delicacy of technique and length of time needed to create the proper absinthe louche lends itself wonderfully to a meditative or reflective mental state. In this instance, the ritual matters as much as the absinthe itself. Sure, you can pop open the bottle, take a swig, and be three-sheets gone in a matter of minutes; but there is a missing sense of refinement and appreciation. Like savoring a great meal, the pauses and pacing of the experience serve to enrich the sensation.
With cannabis, I find that I have a similar ritual. As a caveat, I want to mention that I love smoke. Whether it’s from a campfire, a stick of incense, or my bong, I love it. The way it moves, the way it seems to follow flesh and heat, the way it mingles with the wind — I just love watching it.
I like to smoke from a bong. My bong is about 2 feet tall and hand-blown of thick, clear glass. It has an ice cube chamber and a nice large bowl. These days my favorite strain goes by the moniker of “Blue Dream” which is a heavy Sativa (I generally top it with a touch of heavy Indica, “Pez” is my current favorite Indica strain). I pack my bowls densely. Before I smoke, I suck a little on the bong to listen to how much air is getting through. After I am sufficiently happy with the amount of airflow, I take several long slow breaths to prepare my lungs and ensure that I will have enough lung capacity to finish the bowl in one hit. I take one final, lung-clearing, exhale and position my lips to ensure a strong seal.
Now the fire! I like to hold the fire a few millimeters away from the cannabis and suck the flame through the bud. I have a wall mirror in the room where I smoke and I am able to fill the bong slowly, all the while watching the serpentine smoke seductively fill the chamber. Once the chamber is fully opaque/the bowl is empty, I pull the bowl and (if I have rationed my lung capacity properly) I breathe it deep to the bottom of my lungs.
Post hit, I generally close my eyes, exhale slowly, and listen to my heart beating and feeling the metronomic thrums of blood moving through my limbs.