Bowl is a noun that refers to the part of a pipe or bong that holds the cannabis. Sometimes on a bong or water pipe the bowl is called a slide.

What does bowl mean?

The weed bowl is a core component of any device for smoking cannabis. The bowl itself can be made from bamboo, ceramic, glass, metal, plastic, or wood, and carved or embellished with all kinds of artistic or creative touches. Like most other accessories for pipes and bongs, you remove and clean the bowl separately.

Bowl Usage and Meaning:

“My bong is shaped like the SpaceX Dragon Endeavor, and the bowl is the tailfire.”

“I need a new bowl for my pipe, I dropped the last one into that rain gutter.”

Bowl can also be used as a noun to refer to the cannabis itself in the bowl. Like this:

“We smoked that bowl, natch.”

How to Pack a Bowl

First, select a heating source. You can use a regular butane lighter to ignite the flower. Some prefer hemp wick, a waxy hemp string segment that lights easily, burns evenly, and doesn’t have an icky aftertaste like butane does. Others prefer a glass wand that can heat to vaporize your herb on contact.

Next, as you get ready to pack and prepare your cannabis for smoking a bowl, consider air flow. Will you use a screen for your pipe? Screens placed at the bottom of the bowl can help create a smoother flow of air and prevent debris from passing through and you from inhaling burning bits of cannabis.

If you don’t have pipe screens, you can try and DIY—but be careful. Remember, heating any metal not designed for it can mean you’re inhaling hazardous metals.

The next step in delivering an even smoke and maximizing airflow through your device is breaking down your herb. This allows the smoke to pass through the bowl evenly, creating a homogenous airflow.

Use a grinder to break down bigger nugs into smaller pieces. Finally, to facilitate better burn, pack the bowl with weed more densely at the top and more lightly at the bottom to improve airflow.

How to Smoke a Bowl

Start by holding your heat source right over the top of the bowl. Light the herb as you cover the carb hole and inhale to draw smoke into the chamber. (This can also create a passable “cherry” for your neighbor so there’s no need to keep lighting up.) When you’re ready to inhale, release your thumb from the carb. Remember, exhale away from the pipe or bong so you don’t make a mess for everyone else.

Other bowl smoking etiquette to remember:

Pack a bowl that’s proportional to the size of the number of people in a smoking session. One or two people won’t need the same party bowl as a big group of tokers. Pack a larger party bowl for many people so that each person gets a fresh hit.

Usually, it’s up to whoever brought the cannabis to decide who lights the first hit. Don’t be greedy or a bad host! Be sure to corner your bowl by lighting just a portion of the visible cannabis to ensure everyone gets the same experience. You don’t want anyone—including you!—to get stuck with an ashy hit last.

If you cherried the bowl as we described above, meaning it is already lit, pass it, but not without telling the person you are passing to that it is lit. Don’t waste that hit.

Like the person who steals a server’s pen, the lighter thief is despised at a smoking session. Never pocket a heat source, even a regular old lighter.

Blunts vs Bowls

Some smokers love blunts, while others defend bowls to the death. There are benefits to each vehicle for cannabis:


Blunts don’t taste as good, and bowls hit smoother. Even the freshest blunt paper doesn’t taste great, and stale it’s gross. And water bowls in particular deliver much smoother, cooler smoke.


Blunts are more portable, and bowls are more breakable/losable. It’s a no-brainer to port a joint here and there, but even a one-hitter needs a container of herb, too, and is probably breakable.


Blunts use more cannabis. We’ve all been there, wishing we could suck more of that lovely smoke down as we see it drift away on the wind. A lot of a nice fat blunt gets wasted, if what’s in it is any good, especially on one smoker.

On the other hand, in large circles, when done right, a blunt smokes far longer than a bowl. In this context it can be a better value.

Ease of Use

It’s way easier to pack a bowl than it is to roll a good blunt. But if you’re worried about getting caught, it’s probably easier to hide that blunt.

Images that illustrate the definition of “bowl”


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