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Glossary of Common Glass Terms

by Angel Ferrer 4 min read

Glossary of Common Glass Terms

Glass Terms that You Hear Often

Newcomers to the world of cannabis can quickly run into a bewildering variety of new terms. Some may sound familiar, having entered the lexicon of non-users, but have meanings that are more specific, or just plain different than commonly thought.

For example, not all water pipes are hookahs, and a hookah should not be used for cannabis. Other terms are just completely new and foreign. This can make trying to buy pipes and related items with unfamiliar terms or features a total disaster and an altogether frustrating experience.

But have no fear!  

We’ve put together this helpful Glass Glossary to help you get well on your way understanding everything you need to know about glass pipes to enjoy your herb.

While we tried to be as comprehensive as possible, note that notevery cannabis-related word is included. After all, we’re only human, and we didn’t want to bore you with some of the more obscure terms that you likely won’t run into on a regular basis.

PRO TIP: Note that we’ve combined phrases that all mean pretty much the same thing into a single entry and divided the list into three sub-lists, just so things will make more sense. No, these aren’t all literally always made of glass—but many of the better ones are.

Glass and Devices that can be Used to Smoke Herb

Technically, dabbing (with a dab rig) and vaping (with a vaporizer) are different from smoking (with a pipe) and different from each other, but you get the point. These are devices you put cannabis products in so you can inhale.

Bong: A large water pipe for smoking dried cannabis. There are multiple styles.

Bubbler: A small, hand-heldwater pipe.

Banger, concentrate rig, dab rig, oil rig, vapor rig: Awater pipe designed for use with concentrates or oils. There are several different types.

Dry piece, hand pipe: Any non-water pipe. Popular types include sidecar, Sherlock, hammer, spoon, steamroller and chillum. A one-hitter is only big enough for one inhalation.

Mini-tube: A very smallbong.

Nano-rig: A very smalldab rig.

Water pipe:Any pipe that uses water to cool the smoke. Includes bongs,dab rigs, and hookahs (which are designed for molasses tobacco, not cannabis).

Vaporizer: For vaporizing, not smoking, dried herb, concentrates, or oils. A tiny one is an oil pen.

Glass Pipe Attachments and Components

These are parts that go on a pipe, dab rig, or vaporizer. Some are more or less optional, while others are names for parts of the piece itself.

Adapter: Can be placed on thedownstem to accommodate an otherwise incompatible style ofbowl ornail. Also protects the pipe from heat damage.

Ash catcher: Functions instead of ascreen onwater pipes. May also diffuse or cool smoke.

Atomizer: The heating element of avaporizer.

Bowl: The part of a pipe where the herb is burned. A removable bowl can be called a slide.

Carb: A hole in the side of a pipe that can be covered with a finger or uncovered to control airflow.

Carb cap: Used to regulate airflow and temperature in adab rig.

Dome: Fits over thenail to trap and collect vapor. Domeless nails include a vapor trap and don’t need a separate dome.

Downstem: Tube that directs smoke from thebowldown into the water.

Filter / Screen: A metal or glass item that fits in a bowl and keeps ash and herb from being inhaled.

Grinder: Used to coarsely grind dry cannabis for smoking. There are many different styles.

Heady: Exciting, potent, or (of glass) custom-made.

Nail: The heating element of adab rig. These can be electric (an “E nail”), or heated externally with a torch.

Types of Glass

Like glass? Some people get really into the technical and artistic aspects of cannabis paraphernalia—quite understandable, as some pieces are beautiful. Some of these terms refer to essentially aesthetic details, while others address the performance of the piece.

Borosilicate or scientific glass: Contains 5% boric oxide for resistance to both heat and chemical corrosion. Pyrex, as an example, is one such type. This glass is durable and highly resistant to damage from temperature changes.

Latticino, Zanfirico, Cane, and Dichroic are all distinctive methods of incorporating color patterns into the glass itself, making this glass a visually stunning and unique addition.

Frit glass:Crushed glass or beads are fused to the surface to create a granular effect.

Linework: Refers to striped color patterns incorporated into a glass pipe. Reversal or wig-wag is a type of linework.

Millie glass:A type of fused glass mosaic.

Quartz: The name of a mineral, but here refers to a type of glass that is heat-resistant but not as strong as Pyrex.

Sandblasted glass: A distinctive method for etching designs into glass.

Soft glass:Soft only in comparison to other glass types. Can take very bright color, and strong enough for regular use if made somewhat thick.  

Making Sense of Glass

A basic glossary should get you started, but there are still so many terms out there. Many refer to the myriad design variations on water pipes, which come in different sizes and shapes and have different features designed to spread, direct, cool, and filter the smoke in different ways. In the beginning, it might help to ignore all of that and stay focused on the basics: are you smoking, dabbing, or vaping, and do you want a water pipe or a dry pipe? Larger or small?

Get something simple. You can grow into a more complex piece, and the more varied terminology that goes with it, as you gain experience. You can also visit to shop all types of glass