What is a Head Shop?
In the new world of online shopping, there is no surprise that brick-and-mortar head shops are competing against the rise of online head shops. Although online head shops are great for things like discreet delivery and shopping from the comfort of your own home, there is nothing quite like walking into your local head shop to see all of the different products and pieces in person. Another plus? You have direct access to advice and suggestions from employees that know their shop’s products from the inside out.
Origin & History
Emerging in the late 1960’s, head shops served the purpose of supplying the smoking needs of the current hippie counterculture. A majority of the country’s very first head shops during this time were opened in hippy-saturated districts of America’s biggest cities. Some of these original head shops include “The Psychedelic Shop” on Haight Street in San Francisco, The Birmingham Balloon Company on Fry Street in the Texas town of Denton, and the properly named “Head Shop” on East Ninth Street in New York City.
These stores were groundbreaking in hippie culture, but it wasn’t long before the revolution came to a halt momentarily. As the baby boomer generation aged and various court rulings emerged, head shops throughout the U.S. were compromised into focusing their inventory on other alternative products such as tie-dyed & novelty shirts, psychedelic posters and decor, incense, and magazines.
So, What Exactly IS a Head Shop?
In a short description, head shops specialize in selling parts and accessories to improve one’s own smoking experience. But through the rise and fall of the head shop industry, the inventory inside of these shops has grown to include much more than smoking accessories. In today’s modern head shops you can find water pipes, one hitters and chillums, rolling papers and tools, storage containers and boxes, various types of vaporizers, scales, incense, lighters, posters, decor and much more.
Commonly Used Terms
If you are planning on visiting a head shop for the first time, it helps to know some of the jargon that is commonly used within these types of stores.
- Adapters: Often used to personalize the size, angle or sex of your piece.
- Ashcatchers: An attachment to water pipes to catch ash before it falls into your pipe. Ashcatchers also act as a “pre-cooler” for your piece.
- Bubblers: By using a small amount of water, this type of hand pipe cools the smoke before it is inhaled.
- Borosilicate glass: A durable and strong type of glass. It is resistant to extreme temperatures, making it a common glass option for making pipes.
- Banger: A small, often interchangeable part for your piece that is used to load extracts and/or essential oils to either vaporize or smoke.
- Chillums: Lacking a carb hole, these smaller glass pipes resemble the smoking experience of a rolled joint without any added flavors from papers or leaves.
- Dry piece: A smoking piece that does not require the filtration of water. Some examples of dry pieces include hammer pipes, sherlocks, spoon pipes, steamrollers and chillums.
- Dugout: An all-in-one handheld product that consists of a compartment for a bat as well as space to store ground, dry herbs. These are often made from metal or wood and are great for on-the-go smokers.
- Glass blunt: A straight pipe that is hollow in the middle and includes an additional hollow tube to serve as a mouthpiece.
- Grinder: A device that features various small pins or nails used for grinding dry herbs for a smoother smoke.
- Nail: A surface that is heated before placing your concentrates on it. Often made from quartz, titanium or glass.
- Water pipe: A type of pipe that includes a percolator and uses water to operate. These can also be called bongs or bubblers.
The Future for Head Shops
Society’s overall acceptance of smoking products has made significant progress in recent decades, and some may say that it is rapidly on its way to becoming more of a social norm. The success of any local head shop relies immensely on a wide social acceptance for not only their products, but the various uses for them. Overall, head shops are a go-to place for anything and everything smoke related. Whether you’re into vaping or dabbing, your local head shop can help you get the most out of your smoking experience!