Everyone's saying that vaporizing cannabis is the way of the future: smoking, as we've heard ad nauseum, is smelly, bad for your delicate lungs, and an inefficient use of bud, to boot. Yet despite all this, the joint just...refuses to die. Clearly, there's something to be said for doing things the old-fashioned way. Here are seven reasons why joints still reign supreme.
1. The familiarity
Like a favorite book, drink, or pair of shoes, people tend to settle on their favorite way of getting high early and change it infrequently: familiar things are comfortable. If you've been buying Zig-Zags and using a wooden hand grinder since 1960, that probably won't change unless there's a compelling reason to do so. Ironically, your time-tested habit can still help break you out of a rut. "I find that smoking weed allows me to step outside of myself and look at things from a different perspective," writes Mike of All Things Cannabis. "If I'm trying to solve a problem or just thinking about life in general, weed gets me out of my own head and lets me see the world a little differently."
2. The low overhead
No papers? No problem. Go to literally any corner store and get a pack for $2 or less. The cost-savings can be substantial vis-a-vis top-of-the-line glassware or vaporizers, which can range in the hundreds of dollars. Choosing joints means everything you need is at your fingertips at a minimal cost. Another, albeit slightly unsavoury cost saving? Saving roaches, which you can then dismantle and roll up when you're caught short. "Roaches," writes Ese Hozer of Hail Mary Jane, "are awesome for emergencies. Definitely better than scraping bowls for resin, and much healthier too." Don't forget to find out what the paper you choose reveals about your personality.
3. The portability factor
Pipes break. Vaporizers need batteries or a charger. Bongs require space and water. To tote a toke to a tailgate or on a camping trip, nothing beats a joint: tuck it into your sock, a pack of smokes, or in the brim of your hat. "Rolled bud is very concert friendly - one of the best places to spark one up," writes Hozer. A couple of pre-rolled joints can easily go wherever you go without adding any extra weight.
4. The ritual
Opening the bag, inhaling the aroma. Selecting a bud and carefully removing the stems and seeds. Grinding the product into fluffy, rollable perfection, then gingerly distributing it and wrapping it into an elegant, uniform cylinder. Everything about the joint rolling process, including the moment when you light it up and take the first hit, can be a meditative experience that requires precision and skill. "A joint encourages you to take a moment to get it right. Its very nature requires you to step out of the demands of the day - what's happening on your social media, that report due tomorrow, dinner with your significant other's parents - and, for a moment, focus on your hands, your mouth, and your drugs," writes Vice's Jordan Foisy. Remove that component, and, for some, you remove the appeal.
5. The multi-sensory engagement
Rolling a joint engages all five senses: from the smell of ground herb, to its sensation between your fingers, to the the crinkle of the paper and flick of the lighter, to the taste of the green as you inhale, it's a full-body experience. That's what makes marijuana so enticing - that sense of generous indulgence. Writes Foisy, "Vaporizing devices are the opposite of that. They highlight their efficiency, bragging about how far they can make your weed stretch as if it were a $10 bill."
6. The art form
Rolling a joint is as simple, or as insanely complex, as you want it to be: many hours have been spent sussing out the best blunt-rolling cigars, grinders, and rolling papers to create both perfect, minimalist basic spliffs, as well as way more insane t-bar and cross-shaped iterations. In an interview with Vice, pro sculptural joint roller Cody Crosby summed it up this way: "A lot of new cannabis products are designed to be quick, efficient, discreet - that kind of thing. You don't really get to enjoy the smoking experience." Nor do you get the sense of accomplishment that comes with rolling a joint that both looks beautiful and burns perfectly.
7. The badass cultural cachet
Lighting up has, for better or worse, got a certain counter-cultural je ne sais quoi: no matter what, some people still think vaping looks lame in comparison. "I'll admit, I think 'vape' is a dumb-sounding word," writes John Wenzel of The Cannabist, "and hitting a vape pen generally looks about as cool as wearing a Bluetooth headset." Think the smoke-wreathed interiors of Casablanca or Pulp Fiction, of Lester Burnham and Ricky Fitts lighting up behind the hotel in American Beauty, or Dale Denton and Saul's cross-shaped joint in Pineapple Express: smoking makes you feel - just a little bit - like you're thumbing your nose at the man. If you're wasting time, you're doing it the way you damned well choose.