Methods Of Ignition: Matches, Lighters and...Torches

What's the best way to light up? Flicking your Bic is now a choice, not a necessity. The number of options, however, can be overwhelming. We hope the following guide shines some light on the subject.


The Good: Matches are the finickiest method of ignition, but practical for lighting joints if you have steady hands and plenty of patience. What they lack in durability, they make up for in wide availability.

The Bad: Lighting a joint's doable, but lighting a pipe with a match is tricky. Just moving the match from the strike board to the bowl might snuff out the flame.

Even if the flame makes it, the time required to light the bowl can outlast the match's lifespan, leaving you with a burned finger and scorched cannabis. Once the bowl's lit, you'll have to pass the pipe quickly unless you want to repeat this painstaking process.

The Ugly: When using matches, patience isn't just a virtue: it's a matter of taste. After striking the match, wait a moment for the sulphur tip to burn away. Otherwise, your first draw will be super harsh.

Butane Lighters

The Good: Butane lighters are widely available and inexpensive. They cost more than matches, but they're more versatile and durable, allowing consumers to light pipes and joints with ease--inside or outside. They can even be used to snuff, as well as light, a bowl.

The Bad: The durability of the lighter's flame comes at a cost: the flavour of the butane itself, which can taint the cannabis' flavour.

The Ugly: Along with the harsh taste, the heat of the gas flame can make the smoke hard on the throat and lungs.


The Good: Vaping is the smoothest way to to inhale, eliminating combustion almost entirely by heating the bud and vaporizing the THC. Vaporizers also eliminate odors caused by smoking cannabis, allowing you to enjoy your it discreetly.

The Bad: Vaping eliminates many of the health concerns associated with smoking cannabis, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily healthier. A vaporizer is as healthy as what's put into it.

In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Adam Winstock -a drug researcher for King's College London - noted that vaping doesn't remove harmful chemicals that may be found in buds or dabs, such as pesticides and butane.

The Ugly: Vaporizers pens are convenient, but expensive, ranging in price from $30-$200 (USD).

Butane torches

The Good: The heat of the butane torch makes it the go-to lighter for dabbing, a method of consuming cannabis concentrates such as budder, shatter and oil. Dabbing requires heating the "nail" (a titanium, quartz, or ceramic surface) to 550-750 degrees Fahrenheit, so torches are a must. Matches will die and butane lighters will melt long before the "nail" is ready.

The Bad: Heating the nail makes dabbing the most time consuming and least portable method of consuming cannabis. However, the time taken is offset by the higher THC content of dabs, which fast-tracks your high.

The Ugly: Dabbing is among the newest and most dangerous methods of producing and consuming concentrated cannabis. According to John Stogner, a professor of criminal justice and criminology at University of North Carolina (Charlotte), making dabs can result in "small fires, explosions and burns." Stogner also warns that the health effects of dabbing are currently unknown.

Hemp Wick

The Good: One of the newest products on the market is the "hemp wick," a cord of hemp fibres dipped in beeswax. This natural alternative offers a milder way to light up than lighters or matches. The wick burns at a lower temperature than a lighter, making puffs milder on the throat and lungs.

The Bad: Consumers often coil the wick around a lighter and let it burn throughout a session, which saves time but can ruin the night if someone forgets about the open flame.

The Ugly: While eyeing the flame, you should also have be wary of getting burned by wick's dripping wax.

h/t BuzzFeed, Live Science, The Cannabist


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