Cannabis and its consumption have been a part of human history for thousands of years. Originally grown in Southeast Asia, this flowering plant has been made into industrial fibers and smoked recreationally since before the Europeans discovered America.
Methods of smoking it, whether for medicinal purposes or just recreational, have differed all over the world; some like to roll it into joints, others light up pipes. Others prefer to eat it, make cannabutter or even, if they have the industrial know-how, make extract-enriched oil from it.
However, there’s one method that’s quickly becoming extremely popular in the USA, having taken its time to arrive in the USA all the way from Thailand – the Cannabis Thai Stick.
How a Cannabis Thai Stick is Made
A Cannabis Thai Stick sounds like it’s some sort of explosive device, or perhaps something even more sinister and illegal than just plain marijuana. A Thai Stick is one of the oldest ways to smoke marijuana in the world, originating in Thailand thousands of years ago to when the plant was first domesticated.
Instead of the traditional joint, wherein you grind the marijuana buds into small pieces and roll it in paper, you actually use whole pieces of marijuana bud.
You impale your bud on a bamboo skewer, something found in abundance in Southeast Asia. This helps the buds stay in place, as well as offering a convenient and hassle free method of holding on to the Thai Stick.
This alone isn’t that interesting, but it’s what comes next that really makes the Cannabis Thai Stick a completely different way to enjoy marijuana.
This interesting configuration is then wrapped in the fibrous plant material from the stalk of the marijuana plant. In the same way that many Southeast Asian dishes use whole banana or fig leaves to wrap up food, Thai Sticks are encased in the stalks of the marijuana plant.
This is then cured over a low fire to make sure there’s not too much excess moisture. The end product has the density and texture of fine bark. This is important so as to avoid an inability to light the Thai Stick – if it is too wet, you’re not going to be able to smoke it!
For those hardcore, experienced smokers of Cannabis Thai Sticks, the whole bamboo skewered joint is dipped in hash oil to further enhance the psychoactive properties.
If you start to explore Thailand, especially the more rural parts, you’re going to find vendors of Cannabis Thai Sticks all over the place, selling their own special roll or unique ratio of marijuana to stalk.
Let’s take a look at some of the history of this unique and interesting way of smoking marijuana.
History of the Thai Stick
Thai Sticks didn’t start off being called “Thai Sticks” of course; you wouldn’t call joints rolled in America “America Sticks” now would you?
The name came about because of the “Thai” variety of marijuana.
This strain, known as a “landrace” for its unique cultural origins, was one of the first strains grown in Thailand and became famous for its psychoactive properties.
A pure sativa strain, Thai is the grandfather of many famous strains such as Voodoo, Juicy Fruit and even the almighty classic Haze. Thai became exceptionally famous to the rest of the world thanks to American soldiers bringing it back to their home country during the 70s and 80s after the Vietnam War.
During the war, many soldiers were exposed to the freer, more open minded mentality regarding drugs during their time overseas. Additionally, with expanding air travel and international trips becoming more commonplace, many Americans fresh out of university were finding themselves wanting an experience out of their comfort zone; thus, they travelled to Thailand.
Thai people have been wrapping their marijuana into Thai Sticks since before they even knew what America was, so when the Americans saw these native Thai people smoking their marijuana in a totally different, unique way, they simply copied it.
Cannabis Thai Sticks were then suddenly all over the place; they spread across the pacific and into the USA.
What Happened to Thai Sticks?
Cannabis Thai Sticks, sadly, are no longer much of a thing anymore. Though they are beginning to see a resurgence in certain marijuana circles, Thai Sticks have all but disappeared – or in the very least, gone back to Thailand.
There are a number of different reasons why Thai Sticks have disappeared, so let’s take a look at a few.
For starters, stricter policies and overall more scrutinizing government agents meant that smuggling marijuana, both regular bud and complete Cannabis Thai Sticks, became extremely difficult.
As American public opinion soured on cannabis, the government began cracking down on the illegal importation of the plant.
Considering Thai Sticks are extremely large, as well as generally pretty obvious, they were one of the first types of marijuana consumption to disappear.
This is also coupled with the rise of the homegrown varieties of marijuana. As weed smokers returned from their Southeast Asian sojourns, they began growing their own weed in their backyards.
Over time, this shifted into a verifiable industry of home growers, creating a surprising new craft industry of American-grown marijuana. As marijuana production grew in the US, the whole supply chain migrated with it – no longer were any Thai Sticks coming from Thailand, instead everything was grown within a few miles of you by your local grower and then bought by your local dealer.
Plus, it’s pretty hard to attach marijuana to bamboo skewers when you don’t exactly have any bamboo in the first place.
The Sad Truth About Thai Sticks
Another reason why Thai Sticks faded into relative obscurity was because they are not actually a very efficient use of marijuana. When you make a Thai Stick, you’re skewering whole buds at once and smoking them together, all in one Thai Stick.
Compare this to a regular joint, wherein you grind down one or two buds at a time into a finer powder for a single smoke experience.
When smoking a Thai Stick, you just don’t get as much THC per smoke as you do with a regular joint. This is mitigated if dipped in hash oil, of course, but those looking for a more complete marijuana joint experience started to prefer normal joints or pipes.
This plays into the issue of potency – marijuana grown in Thailand just wasn’t that strong.
The strains of marijuana that Thai people had been smoking were not cross pollinated, experimented with or generally changed – they just stuck to the same variety. This caused a stagnation in intensity, with THC quantities being relatively low compared to modern weed in the West.
This was part of the reason for Thai people smoking Cannabis Thai Sticks like this; they needed to smoke whole buds at once to ensure they got a good amount of THC per puff. As weed strains began getting more and more complex, with better ratios of THC and CBD and more intensity, American marijuana smokers started moving back towards regular joints and more traditional ways of smoking their weed.
Of course, nowadays marijuana is a lot stronger, allowing you to make perfectly good Cannabis Thai Sticks at home if need be.
What You Need to Make Your Own Cannabis Thai Sticks
Cannabis Thai Sticks at home are perfectly within your reach, as long as you don’t mind two things; using up a lot of marijuana at once, and getting extremely high. Due to the nature of the Thai Stick, you’re going to be blowing through a lot of your stash, so perhaps get some friends together and share one.
To make a Thai Stick without bamboo skewers (because come on, who has bamboo?) you going to need two ordinary things – some hemp fiber and some hemp stalk. The first one is often sold in craft stores as a replacement for string, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Hemp stalks, however, are a little harder to get your hands on, so you might need to find your local cannabis grower and simply ask them – they probably won’t mind giving you the stalks, as they’re likely a waste material for him.
Then, once you’ve got your string and stalks, find five or six buds of relatively the same size and line them all up on a clear surface. Either using a needle or just a sharp knife, insert your hemp fiber through the first marijuana bud, wrapping your fiber around it and its neighbors over and over again until you end up with a long, cylindrical marijuana joint that looks like a strangely wrapped package.
Then, using the stalks of a marijuana plant, wrap it all up like a cigar.
Making sure it’s all wrapped up tight, leave this to dry out in a very, very low oven, at perhaps 80˚F. This is important to make sure all the moisture gets removed and it’s actually smokeable.
A final optional step is to dip the finished Thai Stick in hash oil, but you don’t need to do this if you just want a regular smoke.
After that, simply light up! You’ll find that it’ll taste a bit more acrid at first, but the flavor profile of the whole buds mixed with the natural hemp fiber and stalks is something absolutely otherworldly.
It’s a very distinctive way to smoke marijuana and it’s starting to make a comeback in the USA, so give it a try and see if you like it. Who knows, maybe it will eventually replace joints and blunts as the preferred method of smoking cannabis?
Also, you can’t help but feel regal holding a huge Cannabis Thai Stick – give it a try!