10.26.2020 | The Hemp Wick Smoke-Off
Welcome back to the Red Bench – let’s start this week off by talking about how to have a healthier smoke… by that, I mean, what are your alternatives to using a butane lighter to light your bowl or joint?
I’ll start off with a shout-out for the butane lighter – the BIC brand in particular. How many seshes worldwide over the years have been fired up by the BIC lighter? Millions? Billions? It’s the go-to for countless numbers of herb smokers all around the world. How many BICs have I bought in my life?! Probably hundreds…
But, in spite of my love for the easy convenience the BIC provides, there is a downside. First and foremost – butane is actually a poison. Butane inhalation can cause a number of neurological and health problems. A BIC isn’t so bad lighting a cigarette or a joint – the amount of inhalation is minimal, but it will affect the flavor.
This leads to the next point. Butane lighters burn very hot, much hotter than necessary to burn the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis. The lighter torches much of the flavors before you get to inhale them.
Fortunately, there is a great alternative to lighting up with butane, and you still get to keep the convenience of the BIC. This is a product called hemp wick and it’s made by a number of different manufacturers. We’re going to look at four different brands today, but first – why use hemp wick?
Hemp wick is a thin string of hemp coated in beeswax. You can get it in both organic and non-organic versions, depending on the brand. This is a relatively non-toxic way to light your bowl, using essentially the same product that is in your bowl.
Using hemp wick you can easily direct the lower temperature flame, making cornering the bowl a breeze, leaving lots of greens for that second or third hit. This works very well when you’re in a sesh with friends and want everyone to get a taste of the greens – and not end up with a blackened lump of butane-infused ash in the bottom of the bowl.
My preferred brand of hemp wick is the original – Bee Line. This was the most expensive of all the hemp wicks I tried, but still, that’s nearly $14 for 200 feet of hemp wick – such a deal!
I started using this one over ten years ago and have used it off and on over the years. Even I get lazy and find myself just using my BIC when I run out of Bee Line, so I haven’t always used hemp wick like I should have… but that aside, I now have a big, 200 foot spool of Bee Line – so I won’t be running out anytime soon.
I find that of all the hemp wicks I’ve tried, Bee Line has the least after-smell. After-smell was the biggest factor in reviewing all these hemp wicks, and Bee Line was a winner here.
Important note: like all hemp wick, you have to make sure that the string is extinguished after taking a hit. I just squeeze it off with my fingers. It’s a little hot, and you have to be quick. Licking your fingers first helps.
Bee Line is an organic, 100% hemp cord. I got the thick gauge which helps a bit when a breeze is blowing. All brands are basically useless when a good wind is blowing… best for indoor use.
Here’s their online shop so you can check out Bee Line in a variety of thicknesses and lengths: https://www.hempwickbeeline.com/shop
This was my second favorite– a 100% organic hemp string that is a thin gauge and burns very nicely and has very little after-smell. I have a preference for the thick gauge, but that aside, this would be tied for first place. This one was the top pick on Amazon when I bought it, and was the lowest priced – 200 feet of hemp wick for just $7.
This 100% organic hemp wick was my third favorite. It burned nicely, but it had a little after-smell. This hemp wick uses pharmaceutical-grade beeswax, so that’s a plus. It comes in a 50 foot, loose spool, packaged in a clear plastic bag and is about the same price as the Beneroots.
Bee Wick website: https://www.beewickhemp.com/
Coming in fourth in our review was this 50 foot spool of 100% organic hemp wick from Humboldt Organic Hemp Wick. This only got last place because the organic beeswax had the strongest after-smell. That was the only strike against this one. This spool of hemp wick was priced under $7.
Humboldt Organic Hemp Wick website: https://humboldthempwick.com/
Wrap Up + Pro Tip
The hemp wick which I was using before this review was a small spool by Raw that I picked up at a local smoke shop. Raw had the worst after-smell and any one of these four would be better than what I was using.
Here’s a pro tip – cut about a yard of hemp wick off of your spool. Hold one end of the wick to the side of your BIC with your thumb and wrap the rest of the hemp wick around the lighter – leave a four to five inch piece hanging loose. When you’re ready to smoke, light the loose end of the hemp wick with your lighter – easy as can be. BIC convenience and hemp wick benefits!
One Last Warning
It should go without saying that you should extinguish your hemp wick after lighting your bowl, but here I am, saying it for a second time. Why? Because I’ve had a few mishaps… especially when I’ve been deep in a sesh and not paying attention to my just-used hemp wick.
Also… one bonus tip. For a really butane-free experience – light a candle and use that to light your hemp wick for the purest flavor possible!
Have a clean and happy smoke, and until tomorrow – best of health!
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Until later, best of health ??