Back in our college days, we reveled in the novelty of over-the-top glass bongs and kitschy hookahs (ok, we still really like those). But now that we're all grown up, we've developed a taste for the finer things.
Fortunately, cannabis paraphernalia has kept up (and no one really calls it that now, anyway), and there are oodles of options for cute pipes, high-tech vapes, chic stashes, and more. Behold, the most elegant add-ons the Bay Area industry has to offer.
Don't see your fave? Email us with your suggestions!
Not Your College Bongs: Billowby
Based in the Haight, Billowby is among the modern cannabis companies seeking to normalize consumption—specifically, this startup is sapping the seediness out of buying a bong. You'll find no patchouli or Bob Marley posters here—in fact there's no brick-and-mortar store (like the Haight really needs another head shop, anyway). This stylish shop is all online, making your perusal of hand pipes, water bongs, grinders, and papers completely discreet. Billowby curates only the highest quality blown glass pieces (some of the cutest we've ever seen) and presents them in a decidedly lady-friendly format with clean design, poppy photography, and plenty of education just in case you don't know how to roll a joint. The company's M.O.? To bring genuine customer service to the bong shopping experience. Amen. —Michelle Klug // billowby.com
The iPhone of Vaporizers: Pax 3
Deep in the Mission, beneath Burning Man's corporate HQ, lives Pax Labs, a floor full of genius engineers who've done for vaporizers what Apple did for phones. Stanford grad and founder James Monsees skipped the usual development cycle of re-skinning Chinese junk and instead, along with his team, developed a smart device whose mouthpiece has an internal accelerometer that knows when you're holding it versus jostling it in your purse. The upcoming Pax 3 is the company's first vaporizer to work both for loose leaf herb and extract inserts, and, available in three lustrous metallics, the 3 is as gorgeous as they get. Extracts aficionados can also shop the new Pax Era. —D.D. // Pax 3 ($275) is coming soon at paxvapor.com
Fancy a Smoke: Tetra
Vaping and edibles may be all the rage, but some ladies and gents still prefer to do this the old-fashioned way. But for smokers with an eye for design, the average head shop pipe just won't do. Enter online boutique Tetra, founded by fashion world veterans who are “dedicated to elevating the aesthetics of smoking." Here you'll find the most gorgeous and often one-of-kind pipes, lighters, ashtrays, and storage boxes you never even imagined. Do yourself a solid, and click on over. —Chloe Hennen // shop-tetra.com
Accessories for Fashionistas: Van der Pop
Van der Pop made a splash earlier in the year with its chic, childproof handbags for power tokers and ladies who lunch. Dubbed the Happy Sack, the company's luxe clutch with a lock and key sold out in a flash. While we all wait for the restock, you can shop the line's collection of various stylish accoutrements including credit-card sized graters (goodbye, old grinder), rolling papers, stash jars, and more. // Van der Pop's Greater ($15), vanderpop.com
Just Breathe: Firefly 2 Vaporizer
Firefly, the smart vapor company launched in 2012 by Mark Williams, a former design manager at Apple, and Sasha Robinson, formerly of Nike and LG, has recently introduced its second-gen vape. And let us tell you, Firefly 2 will change your relationship with smoking weed. The new vape heats cannabis only as you inhale, extracting more active ingredients from the flower including flavorful terpenes. The resulting vapor is so smooth and satisfying, you'll find yourself pondering the flavors and aroma the way you would with a glass of wine. This vaping high feels cleaner and clearer, without the haze of smoke. —Andrea Brooks // Firefly 2 ($330) is available at thefirefly.com
The Tom's of Pot: Bloom Farms' Highlighters
For every amazing Bloom Farms Highlighter (otherwise known as a vape pen) sold, the company donates a meal to someone who's hungry via the SF Marin Food Bank—their aim is to provide 1 million meals this year. While creating a cannabis business that's a positive presence in the community, Bloom Farms also cares a great deal about quality. Their cannabis oil is extracted using state-of-the-art CO2 technology with indica, hybrid, and sativa options available, as well as rotating signature strains. The result is a smooth, discreet vaporizer you can stick in your pen cup. —A.B. // Bloom Farms Highlighters ($40-$60) are available at select Bay Area dispensaries, getbloomfarms.com
Sort of Like a Mood Ring: Alchemy Vape Pens by Dark Heart
In the sleekest vape pens we've ever seen, Alchemy blends cannabis oil with botanical extracts to create four unique experiences— Awaken, Explore, Inspire, and Relax. Each draws on the wisdom of herbalism, aromatherapy, and the culinary arts to provide a mellow, clean buzz with a tantalizing flavor. The pens are slim, subtle and well designed—perfect for a Saturday afternoon spin around the neighborhood. —A.B. // Alchemy Vaporizer cartridge ($35) and battery ($10), available at select Bay Area dispensaries, darkheartalchemy.com
Mad Pain Relief: Absorb CBD Pens + Cartridges
If you're looking to treat real pain (we're talking arthritis, MS, cancer), why not vape a super-high-CBD extract? Absorb CBD offers one of the highest CBD ratios on the market with its 25:1 CBD to THC cartridges. The brand grows its cannabis using hand-crafted organic fertilizers, spring water, bioactive soil, and high altitude sunshine—no additives, and the flavor from the raw cannabis essential oils is nice and full. Absorb CBD also offers a line of topicals that are perfect for sore muscles. —A.B. // Absorb CBD cartridge and pen set ($40-$70) is available at Sava, getsava.com; absorb.biz
The Collector's Bong Shop: The Cave
Sleepy San Mateo might be the last place you'd look for custom $15,000 bongs shaped like pterodactyls or Baleen whales, but The Cave is the regional destination for functional glass art collectors. The gallery's seasonal openings draw heads from across the state who wait overnight to be among the first in line for giveaways from world-famous, celebrity glass blowers who come to sign bongs and chat with adoring fans. Yeah, seriously! —D.D. // 2499 S. El Camino Real (San Mateo), thecavesmokeshop.com
The Smart Water Bong: Sundae Stack by Hitman Glass
Once you've got the hang of all the fine cannabis concentrates out there, you'll need a nice piece of glass for enjoying them. (Newbies to concentrates should know we're talking about potent hash and oils that make all the low-THC buds your parents smoked look positively quaint.) To smoke like a pro, you'll want the Sundae Stack: White Label by Hitman Glass, a fantastic clear-glass inverted cone with five donut-like tiers designed to keep that nasty bong water at the bottom where it belongs. To see it at work in the wild is a study in human joy. Unfortunately, the Sundae Stack doesn't hang around long on local shelves, so your best bet is to order directly from Hitman. —Jimi Devine // Hitman Glass' Sundae Stack ($1,000) (Currently Sold Out) is available online at hitmanglass.com.
Plug and Play: Absolute Xtracts' Disposable Vape Cartridges
For folks looking to enjoy medical cannabis on the go with zero mess, Absolute Xtracts disposable vape cartridges—made with 100 percent pure cannabis oil cleanly extracted with CO2—are regularly mentioned among the best in the state—in an industry-wide blind test on various vaporizer cartridge companies, Absolute blew everyone away in the cost to potency category with their samples taking both first and second place. The cartridges are available in 14 yummy strains, including Blueberry Kush (indica) and Girl Scout Cookie (hybrid). —J.D. // Absolute Xtracts vape cartridges ($35/0.5mg) are available at SPARC; absolutextracts.com
Meet our Cannabis Guide Authors:
(Illustrations by Julia Barzizza)
(From left to right)
Andrea Brooks is the San Francisco–based founder and CEO of Sava, an online marketplace for high-quality, hand-crafted cannabis goods.
David Downs is a San Francisco–based award-winning freelance journalist, best-selling author, and 7x7's Cannabis Insider columnist.
Jimi Devine has been involved in the cannabis industry since 2005. He writes for SFGate's "Smell the Truth," Cannabis Now, and more.
Amanda Reiman, PhD, is a cannabis expert, vegan, Oakland evangelist, and teaches classes on sex and drugs at UC Berkeley.
Flavia Cassani is a cannabis enthusiast, entrepreneur, Flow Kana cofounder, and environmental devotee.
Chloé Hennen is 7x7's editor in chief who got curious about cannabis in the Bay Area and decided to make this guide.
This post was originally published in April 2016