types of paraphernalia

Types of Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia was once a scary word, used largely by police officers and lawyers to describe crime scenes and condemn thousands of innocent stoners to criminal lives.

In today’s age of marijuana legal reform, however, paraphernalia describes all of the fun gadgets and toys you can acquire to make getting stoned easier, healthier, more effective, and more exciting.

Below is a list of all paraphernalia-related terms in our open-source cannabis dictionary.

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A bong is a vertical water filtration device used for smoking cannabis. Bongs are usually made of glass, and they’re comprised of a bowl and stem which lead into the water-filled pipe. When lit, the water in the bong acts as a filter for any undesirable burnt particles and allows only smoke to enter the user’s lungs. Not surprisingly, bongs have historically been the method of choice for smoking among the Thai, Hmong, and Chinese peoples. Some of these excavated gold water pipes date back 2400 years.

“Ana dropped her brand-new bong, but it somehow didn’t break at all.”


The water that goes into a bong or water pipe that makes it function. After extended use the water usually becomes murky. Some mischievous stoners will claim it contains THC because of this and will try to trick newbies into drinking it, but don’t bother–it’s just gross water that needs to be dumped.

“This bongwater is looking a little dingy. Should we replace it?”


A term used both for an amount of ground cannabis ready to smoke and the section of a pipe, bong, or bubbler that one loads ground cannabis into. Bowls are traditionally shared among a group of friends, though it isn’t uncommon to enjoy one alone.

“Let’s load up another bowl.”


Bubblers are glass pipes that use water to reduce irritation from inhaling smoke. After lighting the cannabis, smoke is pulled through a stem into a small supply of water, and into the user’s lungs. This makes for a much smoother and more pleasant experience than directly inhaling and adds a fun bubbling noise to the sesh.

“My favorite piece is the bubbler with sparkly gold swirls.”

Carb Cap

A dabbing tool, usually made of glass or nonferrous metal, allowing more controlled heat distribution and airflow. Cannabis concentrate is sealed inside the carb cap, after which heat is applied by a torch. They’re useful for dabbing at lower temperatures, allowing users to taste those flavorful terpenes.

“I lost my carb cap, so I can’t dab properly with my banger until I get a replacement.”


Also called a chilam, a chillum is a conical pipe design originating in 18th century India. They can be used for smoking any sort of ground, dried product, such as tobacco or chamomile, but are more commonly used for cannabis. In the 1960s, chillums became popular with smokers in the United States. They also have spiritual significance to followers of the Rastafari movement. Users put a filter inside and pack the wide end with ground flower before lighting the flower and inhaling from the smaller end of the glass, wooden, or metal pipe.

“Smoking with a chillum is more work than using any other pipe, but the ritual of it all makes me feel more grounded.”


The long often pointed tool used for picking up a small amount of cannabis concentrate for the purpose of applying it to a heated dab rig. A good dabber is long enough to keep your hands away from the extreme temperatures of the device while also allowing the user to control how much or how little product they inhale. They can be made from glass or metal and many glass dabbers coming in whimsical shapes and colors.

“I bought a new dabber that looks like a carrot!”


An extra piece to a bong that enhances airflow and provides a smoother, cleaner experience. They force the smoke to pass through the water in the bong to clear it of any burnt plant matter before reaching your lungs. Diffusers can be as simple as a straight tube, or they can be extremely complex with multiple additions, shapes, and holes to provide extra filtering. Unfortunately, the more complex the diffuser, the more difficult it is to clean.

“I love the smooth hits I get with a complex diffuser, but I didn’t realize how much it would suck to clean.”


Typically made of glass, a dome fits over the nail of a dab or oil rig to capture all of the vapor created when the concentrate hits the nail. They’re essential if you want to get the most out of each dab. Domes can be simple, but it’s common to see domes made with ornate and unique designs. You’re sure to find one that fits both your piece and your aesthetic.

“In my opinion, domes are essential if you want to get the most out of your dabs.”

Domeless Nail

Domeless nails have become quite popular among concentrate enthusiasts. Often much larger than regular nails, the domeless variety allows for more concentrate to be used at one time while also providing ease of use. However, the lack of dome means any concentrate used on it will lose heat more quickly, so it’s debatable as to whether they’re actually more convenient.

“Should I invest in something with a domeless nail, or should I just get a dome?”


Essential for bong operation, a downstem is a small, removable piece of glass that houses ground cannabis. Once lit, the user inhales from the mouthpiece, filling the chamber with smoke. Removing the downstem at this point then allows the user to inhale the produced smoke inside the chamber. They also tend to be the most delicate part of the bong, but thankfully, many head shops and dispensaries sell spares.

“Be careful with the downstem! If it breaks, we can’t use this bong.”


Commonly used term for a bong or pipe used for smoking. Glass is an excellent medium for cannabis consumption, as it is easily cleaned and retains its integrity even at extreme temperatures. Also, a skilled glass artist can make some really rad looking designs. Pipes and bongs can be minimalistic, but many consumers think of their glass as a vessel for artistic expression. It’s quite common to see gorgeous glasswork of differing colors, textures, and patterns for sale in a head shop or dispensary.

“Ever since I bought that heady glass, I haven’t rolled a single joint.”


A device used to shred cannabis flowers and buds. Grinders are usually metal, and they have sharp teeth to easily tear cannabis buds into loose-leaf material that is suitable for packing into a joint or glass. Some grinders feature a “kief catcher” compartment, allowing for the harvesting of kief.

“I just used up everything in my grinder, but now we can try out the Green Crack we bought.”

Heady Glass

Impressive and artistic functional glass art used for cannabis consumption. Glass artists are capable of making usable art in a wide range of styles, creating a valuable and desirable niche of cannabis culture. Plenty of users also delight in purchasing and using glass that reflects their interests or personality, so these pieces can be both functional and elegant.

“Even if I didn’t smoke, I’d probably collect all sorts of interesting heady glass, like bongs or bubblers.”


A device used for slow, gentle smoking of flavored tobacco and cannabis. The hookah has a lot of history and cultural significance to the peoples of South Asia and the Middle East, and in the 1970s, hookah bars and lounges began popping up in the United States as a place for people to gather and smoke together. Some hookahs can be multistemmed, allowing for more than one person to draw smoke from it at once, but it’s also common for people to simply pass the pipe around.

“Hookah hits are a great way to honor ancient smoking tradition with your friends.”


Isopropyl alcohol, also known as iso, is used for many cannabis-related applications. It is uniquely suited for cleaning resin and ash from glass, as well as being a useful solvent in concentrate creation. Many stoners who take a DIY approach for making extracts have their own special methods of production involving iso although using Iso for home extracts can be dangerous.

“The best way to clean glass is by letting it soak in iso overnight.”


A chamber built into glass for the additional filtration of smoke. This allows for smoother inhalation and less irritation in the mouth, throat, and lungs. Percolators come in various styles and methods of filtration, but always help smooth the experience. Generally speaking, the more complex the percolator, the more filtered your smoking experience. However, intricately designed percolators can be tougher to clean.

“My bong’s percolator is always a little tough to clean, but it cools the smoke so well.”

Production Glass

Mass-produced cannabis consumption glass. Whereas a more extravagant bong might feature flourishes for visual effect and artistry, production glass is focused more on functionality. Production glass is oftentimes a newbie’s first purchase since the affordable pricing and simpler designs are less daunting than those of artisan glass. However, it’s sometimes perceived to be lower in quality compared to more artistic pieces.

“Production glass tends to be cheaper than artisan-made pieces, but it gets the job done just fine.”


Many stoners prefer to affix a screen inside of their bowl to prevent flower from sinking through before it is lit up and inhaled. A screen will fit snugly into a bowl piece of a bong or pipe, they can be cleaned with isopropyl alcohol when they get clogged. There are three types of screens available: stainless steel, brass, and glass; they are generally sold in packs of 5 or more.

“If you keep getting doobie snacks when you hit your pipe try putting a screen in the bowl piece.”

Steam Roller

This type of smoking device is most popularly made out of glass but can also be found made of acrylic, metal, and wood. The steam roller gets its name from the round shape that resembles the front wheel of a steam roller. Generally, the bud is packed on top of the cylindrical smoking device while the smoker holds their finger over a carb on one end while lighting the herb and drawing through a hole on the other to collect smoke inside of the pipe. When ready the smoker lets go of the carb and inhales the collected weed smoke.

“Hitting a steam roller is fun because you can watch the smoke collect inside the piece.”

Vape Carts

Until the big vape scare of 2019 vape carts were one of the most sought after products at retail dispensaries. Vaping is more discreet than smoking a joint and creates a less intense high than edibles which is why it is a popular method with older cannabis-users and those looking to toke on-the-go.

“Let’s pick up some vape carts at the dispensary before we go to this family dinner.”


Often called a “vape” for short, it’s an oven-like device that vaporizes cannabis flower, instead of combusting it. The vapor can be inhaled, and the leftover decarbed plant matter is excellent for homemade edibles. Vaporizers are easier on the lungs than smoking, making them especially useful for medical cannabis patients.

“Since I invested in a high-quality vaporizer, I don’t see any need to smoke traditionally anymore.”

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