Essential cannabis products and goods for beginners

Katrina Leibee

grinders and scales sit on display
Scales and grinders of various shapes and sizes sit on display at One Love Aug. 22. (Luke Bourland | The Collegian)

For a first-time cannabis user, all of the products available may seem overwhelming. There seems to be a smoke shop around every corner in Fort Collins, and each one is filled with different pipes, bongs and other tools that you may not even be able to name. Luckily, The Collegian cannabis desk was created to solve this very problem and give you an overview of the essential products and goods a cannabis user might want or need. 

The first thing you want to think about when you enter a smoke shop is whether you are looking for a bong, pipe, vaporizer or even joint rolling paper.


“I would say a good way to start would be from a pipe or vaporizer,” said Brian Braley, employee at The Joint Smoke Shop in Fort Collins. “The vaporizer is a little bit more smooth and less harsh on the throat and lungs.”

Dry herb vaporizers heat up the weed without actually burning it. They can come in larger sizes that you may keep at home as well as in portable form. 

If you aren’t up for a vaporizer, you may also want to try a small percolator bong. A percolator is a device that is in pretty standard use for most bongs. A percolator is basically a water chamber in the bong that makes the hit smoother and allows for the smoke to cool down more. The hit will be less harsh than a pipe or a joint because the smoke is going through that extra layer of water. 

“If somebody is starting off and they don’t want a tiny pipe, I always suggest a little bong, not like anything crazy,” said Stephanie McNabb, manager of One Love in Fort Collins. “Just something you can put water in with one percolator.”

Don’t be afraid to look around and see what fits your vibe.”

women poses with cannabis smoking products
Stephanie McNabb of One Love Fort Collins poses with various smoking products ranging from glass bongs to silicon pipes Aug. 22. (Luke Bourland | The Collegian)

Once you have your tools, it’s important to make sure you have the essential products to care for your pipes and bongs. A lot of smoke and tobacco stores carry different cleaning solutions, and a common one you may have heard of is Formula 420 Glass Metal Ceramic Pipe Cleaner. This can easily be found at a smoke store or even at Walmart or on Amazon. However, for those who would like a DIY cleaning solution, McNabb said that a very basic way to clean your bong or pipe is with an alcohol and salt mixture. She also recommended Resinate, a solution that is good for cleaning glass and Pyrex.

It is recommended that daily or heavy smokers clean their bong every one to two days, and more casual or weekly smokers should just clean after every use. 

Another issue that a cannabis user may be concerned about is the odor. If you have roommates that don’t enjoy the smell or you are just looking to keep a better air quality in the environment you are smoking in, Smokebuddy is the recommended product.

We sell a product called Smokebuddy, which is a carbon filter you blow the smoke through,” Braley said.

Smokebuddy is a device that you exhale the smoke into. It will filter the smoke, making it less visible and strong-smelling. It is a small device that could easily fit in a purse or pocket. Beware: The Smokebuddy can’t guarantee no odor at all.

You’re still going to have the smoke that rises from the pipe or joint,” McNabb said.

Most smoke shops, however, sell candles and other deodorizers that can help with that.

Another important aspect of smoking is making sure that you store your cannabis product properly. You’re going to want to get an airtight container for your cannabis and not leave it sitting out.

In Colorado, because of (the) dry climate, keeping your weed in a bag where it’s not airtight is going to make it dry out quicker,” Braley said. “Dry (product) becomes harsher when it burns and won’t taste as good.”

A plastic container that you might use for storing leftover food would work well.

While these are just a few products and goods that beginners might want to start with, more experienced users will likely collect a lot of different products. There are a number of artistic bongs out there and a lot of different products to choose from. Don’t be afraid to look around and see what fits your vibe. Most importantly, stay safe and have fun!

Katrina Leibee can be reached at  or on Twitter @KatrinaLeibee.