The weed gas mask is a fairly divisive example of smoking paraphernalia. On the one hand, many medical marijuana patients and casual tokers see it as a token of the distasteful and tacky depravity that could potentially taint the public’s opinion of the miracle plant. On the other, adventurous stoners on the party circuit are thrilled by the gluttonous novelty of a well-timed gas mask pipe rip at a particularly crazy rager.
The Thrill of it All
The moment the mask is tightened around your face can be likened to the point when the bar drops on Space Mountain; you wound up here by your own will but you’re not quite sure you can handle what comes next. Though the prospect of a gas mask forcibly tying you to a rip from the pipe may seem daunting to casual smokers, the effects don’t even near the intensity of a dab hit. That being said, light smokers should be advised that, depending on the model and quality of the pipe used, smoking from a gas mask can have some harsh results. Even seasoned veterans can be reduced to one hit wonders by the right weed gas mask.
Hotboxing Its Way Into Your Heart (and Lungs)
Gas mask pipes rely on the principles of hotboxing; basically sealing the user’s face into the area with any escaping secondhand smoke to double-up on the high. While hotboxing has been the subject of skeptical speculation over the years, Johns Hopkins confirmed in 2015 that secondhand cannabis smoke
can result in intoxication. A gas mask seals in that secondhand smoke instead of allowing it to be lost in exhalation, often to smokers that cough it too quickly. While models vary, a good ganja gas mask can get you pretty well lit on a miniscule amount of weed.
The Mechanics of a Weed Gas Mask
The mechanics of a gas mask fashioned for smoking weed can be difficult for some users to wrap their heads around…or should I say difficult for some users to wrap around their heads. The mask portion is strapped firmly to the face which can be a nightmare for anyone suffering from claustrophobia. However, most people can handle a gas mask pipe for short periods of time. Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to create an airtight space so that the smoke stays locked in with your face. Most gas masks are built around a filter that protects the wearer from atmospheric chemicals but a weed gas mask swaps the filter for a smoking pipe, often made of durable plastic as opposed to glass. This pipe is specifically designed to fit the mask.
Lungs Open, Eyes Closed
Fun is the primary focus of a gas mask repurposed for cannabis smoking but, for the uninitiated, it can have its drawbacks. Probably the biggest strike against the gas mask is the tendency for the weed smoke to get into the wearer’s eyes. This can range anywhere from “this is a bit uncomfortable” to “I’m about to gouge my eyes out because I think that might hurt less.” So the golden rule of gas mask smoking 101 states: always keep your eyes closed. This can add another hurdle to an already challenging obstacle course if you’re actually planning to use a smoking gas mask on your own. Finding and accurately lighting the bowl protruding from your masked face is enough of a formidable task without a blindfold. For this reason, the gas mask is best reserved for social smoking. Many users also point out that extended use of the gas mask can result in funky weed residue coating your face and hair so keep in mind this is a tool best reserved for debaucherous good times, not classy dinner parties.
We’ve covered the basics of the weed gas mask but still haven’t been able to quite capture the reason it’s such a popular tool for getting lifted. Part of it is no doubt rooted in the human drive for excess; the same thing that makes us engage in “can you eat the whole thing?” challenges or that prompted Seinfeld
’s George Costanzo to attempt the “trifecta” of food, television, and sex simultaneously. This is the aspect of the gas mask that sees people braving burning eyes and sticky skin for the sheer indulgence. But underneath it all, there’s an odd fusion of security and excitement that comes with strapping the mask to your face; a snug anonymity combined with the radioactive butterflies-in-the-stomach of open possibilities. Maybe it’s some good old fashioned Halloween brainwashing: put on your mask and get your treat. But with the mask on, it’s hard not to feel like Darth Vader about to take an intergalactic hit of intergalactic indica or space age sativa. Who among us can resist that hazy frontier?