Month: May 2023

The Stoner’s Guide to Buying Bongs

Published on May 2, 2023

man using a cool bong

by Cyrus Grant

Bongs are a tried and true stoner staple. Not only do they make for a great smoking experience, a lot of them are basically art pieces (seriously, blowing glass is no joke). If you’ve decided it’s time to up your bong game, you’ve come to the right place. Mama will cover everything you need to know about bongs, plus some things to look out for when deciding to buy at a head shop or online.

So, whether you’re in the market for your first bong or just a new bong, here’s Mama’s bong buying guide. Oh, and if you want to see some cool bongs make sure you scroll to the end. 

Bong Basics 

So we all know what a bong is. It looks like a vase and you use it to smoke grass. A+, right? Well, that’s certainly the most important info, but let’s get a bit more into the weeds (pun absolutely intended) on what bongs actually are and how they work.

How Bongs Work

Bongs are technically a type of water pipe that uses water to filter smoke for a smoother smoking experience. The main features of a bong are a bowl (this is where you put the weed) that extends down into a chamber that holds water, which then rises into a cylinder where you place your mouth and inhale from.

To break it down for any bong noobs out there, this is how you use a bong:

  1. Pack your weed into the bowl (a small, almost pipe-looking device coming off the side)
  2. Light the weed
  3. Suck air until the water chamber is filled with smoke
  4. Remove the bowl
  5. Inhale the smoke

And that’s pretty much it. Some bongs work a little differently (we’ll cover some different types down below), and some even come with extra features like percolators to provide additional smoke filtration, or even ash catchers to keep the water clean. 

Bong Materials

Ignoring your homemade fruit bong for a sec, there are four typical materials you’ll find bongs are made out of — glass, ceramic, silicone, and acrylic. If you take nothing else from this, remember that the best bong materials are in that order.

  1. Glass – The standard bong material, and for all intents and purposes, the best. Glass performs the best, provides the cleanest and smoothest taste, and is surprisingly resilient (still, be careful not to drop it).
  2. Ceramic – Ceramic bongs are a close second to glass and can provide a cool and unique look. They feature many of the positives of a glass bong, but feature one distinct negative — they’re heavy.
  3. Silicone – A cheaper, shatter-proof alternative to the above two materials, a silicone bong can work in a pinch, but let’s be honest, the taste and quality of smoke that come out of these things are 🤮.
  4. Acrylic –  Just don’t. They’re cheap, but you’re basically just smoking out of a hot plastic water bottle.

There are a few other materials out there, like metal (again with the gross taste) or even bamboo (great option, but kinda a pain to clean since you can ruin them if you’re not careful). 

TLDR: Buy a glass bong…or ceramic if you don’t mind essentially lugging a brick around.

Standard Types of Bongs 

While you’ll typically know a bong when you see one, there are a few different types you’ll often come across.

Classic Bongs (aka Round or Bubble-Base Bong) 

If you’ve ever seen a cartoon bong, it was probably one of these guys. Round-base bongs feature the standard cylinder that stretches down into a round-shaped chamber. The only real difference with this bong from other standard-shaped bongs is that your high friend might set it down just a liiittle too angled, and the next thing you know it’s on the floor. Minus half a point for slightly less stability. 

Beaker Bongs 

Pretty much the exact same as the round bong, but with a wider, more stable base that resembles a science beaker. These are probably the most popular on account of them functioning well and also being more stable than most other bong shapes. The best bong is one that’s tough to accidentally knock over, trust us.

Straight Bongs

Straight bongs are, well, straight. Rather than having a tube that goes down into a larger chamber, they just go straight down into a base. With these, you just put a bit of water in and then it’s business as usual. The plus side of a straight bong is that they’re slightly easier to store, but the downside is they tend to be the least stable of the three major bong shapes. 

Cool Types of Bongs

The bongs in this section are essentially variations of the three above, but with some cooler twists and features. If you’re looking for a bong that provides a little something extra, this is the section for you.

Gravity Bongs

Gravity bongs are technically more of an airflow thing than a gravity thing, but let’s leave the science to people in lab coats and focus on what really matters — gravity bongs will get you extra high.

The basic idea is that water creates a vacuum that draws in a bunch of concentrated smoke. It’s obviously a more complicated process, but it’s easy to use and the important part is that it works. In fact, Seth Rogan (notable stoner), uses a $600 gravity infuser by Stundenglass. Talk about a cool bong.

Percolator Bongs

Percolator Bongs are generally one of the three standard bongs, but with an additional feature called a percolator (fancy word for “filter,” basically). The percolator is a piece of glass in the bong that not only helps filter the smoke, but can also cool the smoke for a smoother, less harsh experience. The only downside to this type of bong is the fact that it’s kinda a pain the ass to clean, since the percolator is generally a pretty small and complex glass structure inside the bong.

Multi-Chamber Bongs (aka Recycler Bongs)

A variation of the straight bong, recycler bongs are straight, but contain two water chambers connected by various smaller tubes. This results in the smoke being filtered a second time, resulting in a smoother and cooler (temperature-wise…but, they look pretty cool too) smoking experience. Again, cleaning is a bit of a hassle, but that’s the price we pay for beauty.

Ice Trap Bongs

What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold. If you want the literal coolest smoking experience, you’ll want to look for an ice trap bong. These bongs feature something known as an ice trap or pinch, which holds ice cubes so that smoke rises past it and rapidly cools the smoke. Cool smoke = less harsh hit, and it’s as simple as that. 

The only thing you’ll have to look out for is when the ice melts it will fill up the water chamber below to the point you might need to dump some out. Honestly though, the slight amount of extra effort is worth the nice and cool smoke you get.

Buying at a Head Shop vs. Online

We live in a time where you can literally order weed straight to your door (Tough Mama even offers it), but sometimes it can still be worth venturing out into the world when it comes to doing some shopping. Here are some advantages to buying a bong at a head shop versus buying one online.

Head Shop Advantages and Disadvantages 

Advantages

  • Employees can answer questions and make recommendations
  • You get to physically inspect the bongs and compare them to each other
  • Get a better idea of the size
  • Take it home with you that day

Disadvantages

  • Less price flexibility
  • Not as convenient or available near you
  • Limited selection

Online Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Convenient
  • Limitless options
  • Not rushed to make a choice

Disadvantages

  • Can’t inspect what you buy
  • Harder to get direct advice
  • Have to wait for delivery
  • Risk of damage during delivery

Bonus Section: Some Cool Bongs

Stündenglass

Stündenglass Gravity Infuser

We mentioned this one already (made popular by Seth Rogan), but it’s so nice we just had to show it twice. This thing is a high-tech way to get high, and pretty f-ing cool. The price is slightly less cool, but you gotta pay to play sometimes.

Summerland

Chongo Ceramic Bong by Summerland

If you’re into a minimalist, natural look, Summerland makes some killer bongs. Honestly, these double as home decor. Might just buy a few to keep around the house…for aesthetics of course.

BadassGlass

Budsy Water Bottle Bong by Puffco

This one technically breaks our no-plastic rule, but it is pretty cool. If you really want water filtration on the go but don’t want to lug your glass bong along (reasonably so), then this is a solid and discrete option. Just make sure you don’t actually drink the water after.

BadassGlass

Mini Baseball Bat Bong By Bougie

A bong that looks like a baseball bat with a baseball bat percolator inside? Yeah, this one knocks it out of the park.

BadassGlass

12″ Twisted Spiral Bong

Oooo spirals. Not only does this feature a unique design, it’s also technically an ice bong. Double cool.

BadassGlass

Gas Mask Bong

Gas. Mask. Bong. Enough said.

Smoke Station

Gorilla Smoking A Fatty Hand-Blown American Rig

A smoking gorilla bong affixed atop a glass banana. Mama might be in love.

And that’s it on Mama’s bong buying guide. There are basically an infinite amount of cool and high-quality bongs out there, so get to searchin’ for something that matches your style. And don’t forget what you learned today, so can you make sure to buy the bong that’ll give you exactly what you’re looking for. 

Oh, and for when you’re not in the bong mood, check out Tough Mama’s selection of seriously great products!

What Is Live Resin and Why Does It Matter?

Published on May 1, 2023

man smoking live resin vape

by Dan Ketchum

Sometimes, weed culture crosses the thin green line right into hype culture. And with the tech bros in one ear and the crunchy Birkenstock crew in the other, it can be hard to sort shit out. It’s especially hard when you’ve got one thing called live resin and another called live rosin nestled between 12 other buzzwords – like, who’s branding this stuff?

No worries, though, cause Tough Mama’s here to help you strike a balance between knowing your smoke and just smoking your smoke without straining your brain. Enjoy our slow-burning, smooth-hitting, BS-free breakdown of what live resin is, and why it matters to ganja enthusiasts like you.  

What Is Live Resin?

So what is live resin? Cutting right to the chase, it’s simply a cannabis concentrate, typically produced in oil form. And a cannabis concentrate is just a concentrated (yep) mass of the most active or enjoyed parts of cannabis, like THC or CBD. You’ve heard of concentrates like various oils for your vapes and the resins advertised on pre-rolls – we’ll dive into all of that in a bit.

One of the things that sets live resin apart is how it’s made, and yes, that is a segue.

How Live Resin is Made

Hello, and welcome to the “how it’s made” section we just set up in the last sentence. 

To get that live resin cannabis concentrate, you start with flash-frozen cannabis plants, which are weed plants frozen ASAP after harvesting, typically by way of liquid nitrogen or dry ice, like a sick high school Halloween dance. That plant is kept cool throughout the entire process of extraction, in which all the good parts of cannabis you want to put into a concentrate – psychoactive THC, chill CBD, flavorful terpenes, and such – are separated from the rest of the plant using a solvent like CO2, butane or propane. (Don’t worry, though, modern extraction processes ensure that no traces of solvent are left in the final product.)

Live Resin in Comparison

A lot of the time, concentrates are extracted from dried and cured weed. The main idea behind the flash-freezing method for live resin is to retain more terpenes – the natural chemical compounds that imbue each strain of weed of their distinct aromas and flavors – than those methods, which can sacrifice more terps during the extraction process. 

Here’s how it differs from other concentrates you’ve probably heard of, or seen at the dispensary.  

  • Rosin is an extract that’s made without using any solvents, just forces like heat and pressure.
  • Live rosin, like live resin, is extracted from flash-frozen cannabis.  
  • THC oils can encompass different kinds of concentrates, including live resin. They can be extracted in different ways, but end up as the oils in your tinctures, capsules, and vape carts.
  • Wax and shatter are more solid cannabis concentrates that are often enjoyed by dabbing. While wax can be sticky or sappy, shatter has a glassy, sugar candy-like consistency.
  • Crumble is a potent and affordable alternative to wax and shatter. Like those, it’s usually made with solvents, but has a more honeycomb-like, drier texture.   
  • Budder is another type of terpene-rich, solvent-produced concentrate, this time with a taffy-life feel.  

Live Resin In Your Life

OK, we’ve got all the abstract Google responses to “what is live resin” out of the way. So how does live resin actually factor into your life as a stoner? TBH, it may already be factoring in right now.

How You Use It

Because live resin concentrate has a smooth, saucy consistency (jury’s out on its saucy personality), it’s real common for it to show up in vape cartridges. But that also means it’s easy to micronize and mist onto cannabis flower, which is how you get those “live resin-infused” pre-rolls. Spoilers: we make both of those things and we’re gonna talk about ‘em in a sec.

You don’t have to do anything special, like set up a dab rig or anything, to smoke live resin – if everything’s on the up-and-up, it’ll be labeled loud and clear as a part of the weed you already enjoy, like “live resin vape carts” or “live resin-infused flower.” And after the fact, weed products with live resin don’t really impact the regular storage needs of your zaza.

How It Feels

Ideally, live resin concentrates with all those terps intact offer a fragrant, flavorful experience when you partake, retaining plenty of the original strain’s character. Because those terps are present, products made with live resin may also help facilitate the entourage effect, making for a full-bodied high. 

(P.S.: The entourage effect is the theory that your high is ultimately affected by the sum of weed’s parts, that the interactions between various cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and other cannabis compounds actually strengthen the high.)

Get Curious

Like Mr. Rogers said, it’s good to be curious. Tough Mama believes that, and we believe in exploring, too. That’s why we’ve got Mini Mofoz pre-rolls and party hardy Yolo Shotz infused with premium Hi-Phi cured resin right alongside Live Resin Infused Hemp Blunts and Live Resin Vape Carts

Get curious, and see if that live resin life is for you – by trying a 1.6g Big Block indica blunt with a brain-smacking 37.42% THC content, a more euphoric, aromatic Mango sativa vape cart, or something entirely in-between. 

Cuz sometimes Tough Mama knows best, and sometimes, it’s your call.

Dan Ketchum splits his time between Dallas and LA as a freelance lifestyle, fashion, health, and food writer with more than a decade of experience. In cannabis, been fortunate enough to collaborate with Cannabis & Tech Today, FOCL, Vitagenne, Reign Together, Mistifi, and more.

Ask Mama: Stoner Rules Every Weed Lover Should Know

Published on May 1, 2023

stoner rules and weed etiquette

When you were a weird little sticky-fingered, cabbage-scented kid, Tough Mama taught you all kinds of essential etiquette, like always say “please,” be as punctual as you can, tip your servers 20% and don’t fart at the dinner table (except on Christmas). 

But now that you’re all grown up and those fingers are sticky with Tangie trichomes instead of lemon Starbursts, it’s time Mama taught you the social rules that really matter in life: weed etiquette to live by, whether you’re on the streets or in ~high~ society.  Here are 15 rules to know.      

Thou Shalt Not Bogart

Sharing is caring, and when someone shares their big-ass cone blunt with you, that means they care. Show your appreciation by making sure there’s plenty of smoke to go around for everyone. On the flip side, expect to share and offer freely if you’re in a group setting and packing plentiful heat. 

It Always Goes Left (Till It Doesn’t)

Mama has no idea where this one comes from, but it’s one of the most basic stoner rules out there and it’s been around since even before there were gorillas. When you’re passing a joint (or vape or hot dog-shaped novelty pipe or whatever you freaks do), it always goes to the left. It just does. 

HOWEVER, allow Mama to drop some advanced weed etiquette on you. Once you go through the first round – like the joint or bowl is cashed – you start a new rotation if there’s a second round, so it now goes to the right. And thus the universe is in balance.  

Buyer Goes First

If you’re in a group smoking situation, proper weed etiquette dictates that the person who purchased the weed goes first, whether that’s the first toke of a joint, hit of the bong, dab off the rig, bite of the “special” brownie, or sip of Yolo Shotz.  

Be the Windbreaker 

A stoner rule for truly seasoned stoners: be your bud’s windbreaker. If they’re trying to light up in a breeze, you smoothly step in and provide a barrier. Bonus: do it all nonchalant and Daniel Craig-like and you’ll also look extremely cool.  

Ask Permission…

Mama always says consent is key, and that’s true in the world of weed etiquette, too. Ask permission before you light up in someone’s house, car, dorm, pool, man cave, she shed, what the f**k ever, you get the idea. Not your house? Ask.

…and Don’t Assume!

This one’s a two-part stoner rule. Wherever you are, whoever you’re with, don’t just assume someone’s a stoner or not a stoner. Yeah, weed’s really popular now. So is Dungeons and Dragons, but you don’t assume everyone you meet is a wizard. Just ask politely if they partake and don’t make a big deal out of it.

Always Appreciate  

Remember how Mama just said “sharing is caring?” Look, not everyone has the guidance of a matronly monkey, so not everyone is savvy enough to pack aromatic Chemistry Cookies indica vape carts every time. Sometimes, your friends share what they have, and what they have is a touch skunky

Times are tough. It’s the thought that counts, so don’t complain, and don’t be a dick.   

High-drate Freely 

If you’re sharing your stash or partaking in someone else’s generosity, offer some nice, hydrating bevvies whenever you get the chance. Hydration is always important, but it’s extra important – and extra appreciated – when cottonmouth is a thing. 

Puff, Puff, Pass (Usually)

OK, last one of the group smoking stoner rules, but this shit’s important. If you’re hitting a joint, “puff, puff, pass” is the golden rule, meaning it’s OK to take one or two hits. That rule changes if you’re sharing a bong, vape, or pipe, in which case you’re looking at a one-hit situation. Remember: don’t bogart, or it gets the hose again!  

Cash It Out

When whatever you’re hitting is cashed, it’s OK to take just one hit to make sure that it is indeed cashed. Once you know it’s dunzo, it’s your civic duty to let the supplier know that it’s done cashed – don’t pass a cashed bowl on to the next person. 

Educate the Masses

This is newer weed etiquette for an old head like Mama, but the reality is that as ganja becomes more mainstream, stoners are getting more educated, more conscious of what goes into their bodies and way savvier in general. People are more likely to know the difference between an indica and sativa nowadays, so let the group know what they’re smoking when you share.

Corner the Bowl

Finally, it’s time to stop pretending you know what this means and let Mama tell you what it actually means. When you’re smoking a bowl, cornering is the practice of lighting the flower from the side so as to conserve it for a longer smoker. This goes for relighting the bud, too. (And um, if you’re unsure about what the hell we’ve been talking about in general, you may need to consult our Stoner Dictionary.)

Don’t Hit Sick 

C’mon now, you lived through 2020, right? If you’re feeling under the weather, know you’re under the weather, or even suspect it at all, it’s time to politely pass on sharing smoke with others. Keep that shit to yourself, no one wants your germs. Mama taught you better than that. 

Karma Rules

If your gracious stoner buds smoke you out, karmic stoner rules say that you should smoke them out down the line, too. Mama also says you should, because it’s the right thing to do and that kind of “I got you, bro” mentality is what makes the cannabis community such a great place to be. 

And when it’s your turn to provide some bountiful, hard-hitting green, Tough Mama knows just where you can find it.

Ask Mama: How to Cure Weed (And Why It Matters)

Published on May 1, 2023

how to cure weed

For legal reasons, Mama can’t use the word “cure” too loosely, but one thing Mama does absolutely cure is her weed. Today Mama is here to give you a little introduction to curing weed, including what it is, why you should care, and how you can even do it yourself.

So, get ready to turn your freshly picked cannabis into the frosty nugs we all love…or just learn about how we do it for you.

What Does Curing Weed Mean?

If you love sandwiches and pizza…and bacon, good news, you love things that are cured. A lot of the meats we love (pepperoni, bacon, mortadella, some hams, etc.) are all cured, and when it comes to weed, it’s basically no different.

Before you start hitting the “who cares” button, just know that without the curing process, your weed is gonna suck. Straight up. Curing weed is an essential part of preserving it, and involves the careful drying and aging of the buds to remove excess moisture. Not only that, but it also allows the flavors and aromas to fully develop.

Why Curing Matters

Besides just making for a longer-lasting shelf product, Mama wants to make sure her friends are smoking weed with the best possible flavor, aroma, and smoke quality, for the longest amount of time. And that’s exactly what curing weed does.

Preserve the Terpenes!

Science time for my sweet cannabis nerds out there. Terpenes (the stuff that gives weed its unique flavor and smell), are actually pretty sensitive and can start to break down in temperatures as low as 50°F. All that to say your weed will get all fucked up if you don’t cure it right.

By carefully curing your weed, those terpenes won’t degrade and evaporate as quickly, meaning it’ll be enjoyed in all of its flavorful glory when the time comes to smoke that beautiful zaza.

Flavor Flav

Yeah, terpenes affect flavor, and yes, curing weed helps preserve terpenes. But, that’s not the only benefit it has when it comes to flavor. It turns out that if you don’t do a good job curing weed, the taste profile will be more like eating fresh lawn clippings than smoking delicious chronic. Grass is a cool slang term for weed, but hard pass if the weed tastes like actual grass.

Back to the lab coat for the curious overachievers out there. Why does weed taste like grASS if not cured properly? Well, it has to do with chlorophyll (the compound that makes plants green). Curing weed also helps break down chlorophyll, which reduces the grassy flavor, and results in a smoother, more pleasant smoking experience. Science, bitches. 

Potency of the Pot

Much like terpenes (which control flavor and aroma), THC and CBD can degrade more quickly if weed isn’t cured properly. No one wants weak-ass weed, which means curing it is even that much more important. By curing your pot, it’ll hold its potency for a much longer period of time.

Shelf Life Matters

Unless you want your weed to be moldy, taste awful, or have the potency of oregano (in highness, not taste), then you best cure it. While Mama doesn’t let her weed get that old (it’s not doing you any good sitting in a cabinet for ages), the principle of the matter is that your weed shouldn’t go bad in a couple of weeks. In fact, when properly cured and stored, weed can maintain its flavor and potency for up to two years (which is like six gorilla years just FYI). 

We’re guessing you’d only need weed to last that long ‘cuz you buried it like secret treasure and then forgot about it, but whatever the reason, you have two years.  

How to Cure Weed 

If you’re looking to cure your own weed, or just want a sneak peek of Mama’s green thumb, here’s the basic procedure for drying and curing weed.

Quick side note, drying and curing weed aren’t the same thing, but they are both necessary steps. More on that coming right up.

Step 1: Harvest 

Before you dry or cure, you’ll obviously have to harvest the buds. This is done when most of the trichomes are visibly cloudy, indicating that you’ve arrived at peak potency.

Step 2: Trim

Like many things in life, a good trim goes a long way. After harvesting your buds, trim away any excess leaves and stems. This will help the buds dry evenly and keep mold away during the process. 

(Doing it in this order is called a wet trim, but you can technically do a dry trim by drying and then trimming.)

Step 3: Dry

The drying stage can take anywhere from 2 to 10 days, but tends to be on the shorter side when opting to go with wet trimming since there’s less material that needs to dry. You can hang your buds or use a drying rack, but either way you’ll want to do so in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated space. Aim for 60-70°F and humidity levels of 55-65%.

After 2 days, check on the buds by bending the stems. If they snap, they’re dry. If they bend, check again the next day.

Step 4: Cure

Finally, the part we’re all here for. It’s curing time, which is mostly a waiting game, but does require a few different steps in and of itself. For the curing stage, the first thing you’ll need to do is put all your bud in airtight jars away from light. Your jars should be about three-quarters of the way full (no one likes being crowded — weed included), and then put them in a cool, dark place.

When it comes to curing temperature, it’s pretty similar to drying conditions. Aim for roughly 70°F and humidity between 55-65%.

Burping isn’t just for babies, it’s for curing weed too. For the first week of curing, open the jars once or twice a day for a few minutes to release any moisture and replenish the oxygen inside the container. In case you didn’t pick up on it, this process is known as burping (but better than the baby version since there’s no chance of baby vomit and the reward is weed).

Based on the strain you choose, curing time can differ a bit, but the general timeline is about 3 weeks (some like to go up to six months, but that’s up to you and how patient you’re feeling).

And just like that, you’ve cured weed. Hooray!

Mama’s Final Thoughts 

Bottom line, whether you’re growing your own or buying it from Mama, you always want your weed to be cured. And because Mama loves you, she’ll let you in on a little secret, double check any infused pre-rolls you buy from places that aren’t Mama, ‘cuz some of those guys out there are running cheap tricks by hiding the uncured taste with infused flavors. Don’t trust the lames.Mama cares about taste, smell, and potency, so you’ll never catch her playing games when it comes to the quality of weed she offers. Whether it’s her products or her very own flower, Tough Mama provides only the best.

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