Dear Stoner: What is Thai stick? Is it just an old strain of chronic from the ’70s?
Dear Berg: Be ready to take notes if an old-timer ever tells you about the time he smoked a Thai stick, because it was probably crazier than any blunt you’ve ever had. Not to be confused with Thai or other mind-bending sativa strains that come from Southeast Asia, Thai sticks were like an early version of the caviar joints you find in dispensaries today. By taking some premium, seedless buds (which were virtually unheard of in North America in the ’60s and ’70s), skewering them on stems and tightly wrapping the natural doob with fibers from the marijuana plant — and then apparently dipping the sticks in opium — the Thai people created one trippy invention.
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Like a few other fads from that time, America’s love for Thai sticks started after U.S. troops in Thailand and Vietnam got a taste of that premium herb (and opium, of course) and brought their findings back home. Because of the influx of potent flower and concentrates and new, more convenient ways to consume pot in the U.S., Thai sticks lost their luster sometime in the ’80s. Although they’re becoming endangered with time, you can still find online videos and tutorials on how to make your own, but if you’re going to dip that stick in anything, please use hash oil instead of opium. Nobody wants to experience a sequel to The Deer Hunter.
Dear Stoner: Seems like smoke shops have 100 options for joint papers nowadays. Got any recommendations, or should I stick with Zig-Zags?
Dear Ivan: I feel your frustration. Choosing rolling papers has become almost as hard for us potheads as choosing which box of cereal to buy during a 10 p.m. run to the grocery store — and no purchase under $2 should make us think that hard. One easy tip: Always stay away from the gimmick papers — anything flavored, covered in colorful art or “invisible.” There’s no need to glitter up California's premium pot.
It’s tough for some people to stray from Tops or Zig-Zag because they grew up on those brands — but if you’re presented with options at a smoke shop or dispensary, always go the unbleached route. There’s a reason that brands like Element and Raw are sponsoring so many weed events: Stoners love them. Made with rice, Element papers are the traditional white without bleach; Raw’s papers are composed of hemp, leaving them an au naturel brown. Unless you’re at a gas station and desperate, pay the extra 75 cents for papers that are pure.