Glass vs. Paper: The Not-So-Eternal Question

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For most stoners, if there is cannabis in hand all is well, or at least much better than it would be if the alternative were true. Still, some people vastly prefer certain methods over others, and will happily preach for a socially awkward amount of time about their loyalties while you nod politely and tune out to think about what’s for dinner. Truthfully, different tools do create different experiences of consuming cannabis, and for a curious toker such as yourself, those differences are worth understanding.

Thanks to legalization efforts, growing awareness surrounding cannabis and its use, and the internet, more legitimate information is at our fingertips than ever. Luckily for you, that means the days of relying on your stoner cousin who has a large collection of obscurely themed bongs and fancies himself an expert on all things green and skunk-smelling for your weed facts are long gone. There are some pretty compelling, logical reasons to choose certain methods over others, and depending on your priorities, the choice should be an easy one to make once you know the pros and cons of each.

Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of using paper to smoke your pot.


Your wallet will thank you (in the short-term). You can snag a pack of rolling papers for $5. However, I’d recommend watching a YouTube video or 10 to learn to use them properly, or you can forget about this advantage. Also, they don’t break when dropped, which means you’ll never have to scrape a bowl’s worth of bud off the broken glass-covered ground.

Some people prefer the taste. Nobody’s judging you if you want your smoke to taste like strawberries and death. Except that everyone totally is, but to each her own. Do you.

They’re your ticket to a low-key toke.

Joints and blunts are lightweight, highly portable, and easy to hide or stash. For those who have to smoke discretely, they are among the least conspicuous options. Hold one like a cigarette if you must, and you’ll draw even less attention. They’re ideal for concerts and those with small pockets.

They have a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi. There’s just something satisfying about hitting a joint or blunt. It carries a degree of nostalgia for a lot of cannabis users, feels like a classic cannabis experience, and you’ll almost be able to convince yourself that Snoop would hypothetically hang out with you.


Your lungs will take an especially rough beating. Weed smoked via joint or blunt is not filtered, and the smoke doesn’t cool down to a temperature that’s super safe to throw at your lungs. They won’t thank you later. If the thought of that is making your chest feel all tight and fluttery, look into a buying a vape.

If your rolling technique isn’t really solid, you’ll use more weed. If you’re in a Taco-Bell-for-dinner-4x-a-week chapter of your life (out of necessity, not preference. If you just love yourself a good Crunchwrap Supreme, then you can disregard this drawback), you should know that paper isn’t necessarily a cost-effective option. You’ll probably find yourself scrounging around the bottom edges of your grinder for your last scraps much sooner. While they burn longer than bowls, they’re also kind of anxiety-inducing. With every passing second, your stash burns and your joint shrinks, which can be counterproductive when trying to chill.

You’ll run out at the worst times. Coming home after a long workday, taking your pants off, and plopping onto the couch only to discover that you’ve used your last paper and have to run back out to the store is a massive bummer. I mean, you’ll smoke out of a piece of fruit before you’ll put the pants back on, but you’ll be thoroughly annoyed about it, which is the takeaway here

The roach goes to waste half the time. If a pair of tweezers isn’t on hand, most people would rather toss the last bit than scorch their fingers. The result? More wasted weed.

The rolling technique is frustratingly precise and tedious to master. Even once you have it down, it takes time. Good things come to those who wait, but let’s face it: patience is not your strong suit. Unless it is, in which case everyone is super jealous and resents you for your gift.

Nobody wants to smoke from a soggy clump of saliva covered paper. This speaks for itself.

Here’s the other half of the debate.


Glass hits better. Water pieces are especially smooth. If you’ve paid your dues coughing up half a lung smoking low-quality weed through less than ideal means, you’re undoubtedly over that struggle and ready for a less harsh way to get high.

You’ll thank yourself when your stash lasts longer. As long as you’re not torching your bowls, you’ll probably use less weed this way.

Your wallet will thank you (in the long-term). A good glass piece is investment. If it stays in one piece, it tends to stand the test of time. If you’ve got the cash, this purchase could pay off in the end.

Glass pieces are waste-free. Go ahead and throw this on your preachy list of reasons your carbon footprint is impressively low. Truly, well done, but quit reading off the list to everyone.

You can smoke out of a purple elephant if that’s your jam. There are countless options across a huge price range. Every shape and color you can imagine exists. There’s likely someone, somewhere, who’s just as weird as you, has hand crafted your dream piece, and will gladly take your money for it. You’ll get your weirdo fix every time you use it.


You’ll have to shell out more money up front. You can get a tiny glass piece for $10, or spend $500 on an ornate bong. What you spend depends on your budget, as well as the way you prioritize form vs. function. If you’re a regular cannabis user, this is probably not an unwise investment.

Maintenance is a thing. In most cases, you’ve got to clean those suckers. No, really. If you don’t, the burnt resin will build up and each hit will taste increasingly ash tray-like. After many uses and lots of mouths, they’re less sanitary than their paper alternatives to begin with, so if you’re going the glass route, do yourself a favor and boil your pieces regularly.

According to the federal government, they are considered drug paraphernalia after being used. For some cannabis users, leaving this kind of evidence is impractical.

Inevitably, you or someone you trust will drop and break your piece. I don’t know what the statistics are here, but we’ve all witnessed this often enough to warrant extra caution. The sound of shattering glass takes most stoners right back to the moment their butterfingers buddy dropped their first bowl in 10th grade. They can remember praying to the Pot Gods that their sleeping parents didn’t hear the crash and wake up to tear them a new one. On the bright side, it’ll be a good excuse to upgrade.

Plenty are pocket-sized, but they can be big and clunky. They can be cumbersome, and many bigger pieces are best used at home. They’re heavier than paper, and not easy to transport without making a mess.



So, is glass or paper the truly superior tool? The answer is entirely subjective, and ultimately, a toke is a toke is a toke, so weigh your options and proceed in whatever way suits you and your situation. You have more choices than every generation of stoners before you. What a time to be alive, right?

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