This article was written for the site by the same fellow who wrote the ecstasy trip report. This guide is perfect if you’re wondering how to clean a glass pipe while saving the resin.
Keeping your smoking instruments sanitary and clean is an important action in order to prevent buildup of bacteria, inhalation of ash and chemicals, and poor smoke taste. If you own a glass piece, keeping it sanitary is easy to do and doesn’t take very long. The benefit is a safer, better tasting smoke. You will also be instructed in the creation of crystallized pipe resin.
First, clean out the ash from your pipe, bubbler, or bong immediately after finishing the bowl. This will allow you to clean the piece and is important even if it will not be cleaned in order to prevent the ash from falling inside. Nothing is worse than inhaling a hit of ash.
For most glass pipes, the beauty of the pipe increases with the amount of smoke resin that accumulates on the inside of the pipe. Thus, many owners of pipes choose not to clean out their pipes, thinking that cleaning it involves removal of that resin. On the contrary, a good cleaning with running water and occasionally some soap leaves the mostly oil-soluble resin in place while removing bits of ash and whatever was on the lips of the last toker.
In bongs and bubblers, replacing the water and rinsing out the pipe is essential. I do this after every use. Old bongwater not only looks nasty, smells bad, and makes for crappy smoke, it also can build up chemicals from the smoke which could be hazardous to your lungs. Do yourself and your smoking clan a favor and wash out that bong or bubbler of yours.
Every once in a while, you may decide to clean your pipe out thoroughly, for a variety of reasons. One advantage of owning a glass piece it that the resin inside can easily be removed with acetone, also known as nail polish remover. If that fails, most head shops offer some type of cleaner such as Formula 420. What many people don’t know is that you can save this resin (assuming you have a solvent which evaporates cleanly). [Editor's note: An alternative here is high-proof isopropyl alcohol and salt. The purpose of the salt is to provide increased agitation and friction as the tar is dissolved and removed by the alcohol.]
If you wish to remove the resin to smoke it, save the acetone you used to remove the resin in some type of glass dish, such as a pie pan. Make sure that the acetone evaporates cleanly by letting some unused acetone evaporate off a clean piece of glass. If any amount of residue is left after evaporating clean acetone, you will need a cleaner solvent. If the solvent is good, allow the acetone and resin mixture to evaporate in a well-ventilated location. If you have access to a kitchen, this process can be sped up by pouring the acetone in a pot and applying a moderate amount of heat (NOTE: Do not do this if you cannot ventilate your kitchen sufficiently. Also, ONLY DO THIS WITH AN ELECTRIC STOVE. A gas stove + evaporating organic solvent = BIG EXPLOSION).
After all the acetone is evaporated off (make sure there is no solvent smell left at all), you should be left with resin crystals, differing in size depending on the heat of evaporation. Gather them up with a razor blade and store them in paper or foil. They don’t taste wonderful, but if the resin is accumulated from months of dank smoking, the combination of cannabanoids produces a truly all-around wonderful high. Make sure you regulate your dosage, because resin can be as potent as hash by weight.
If you don’t own a glass piece, wise up and go buy one already. A small piece can be obtained for less than $20 and will give you a purer, cleaner smoke.
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