Hemp wick is a length of twine constructed from hemp fibers that have been coated in a layer of beeswax. When lit, hemp wick acts like a slow-burning candlestick, making it a popular choice for lighting bongs, pipes, and joints. Marketed as a natural, old school alternative to lighters or matches, hemp wicks dipped in beeswax are a popular choice among cannabis consumers who want to be more environmentally friendly and health-conscious when they spark up.
Hemp wick has been around for millennia, spanning back to the first recorded use of cannabis nearly 10,000 years ago. Balls of hemp wick are created using hemp's long and durable fibers, which could be made into the cord and rope used on ships and in other industries. The plant's strong fibers are why hemp was one of the main cash crops grown by the United States as recently as the early 20th century and why hemp has made an agricultural comeback today via the Farm Bill of 2018.
Why should you use hemp wick?
When you use a butane lighter to light up your cannabis, butane gas causes the flame to burn at a very high temperature. When you inhale, the smoke is much hotter, burns off more cannabinoids and terpenes, and carries the butane with it into your lungs. When you use matches, too, you inhale a mixture of glue, wood, and combustible chemicals that's much more than a clean flame. While butane lighters and matches are more convenient ways to light your bong, some would rather keep their lungs clear of harmful materials.
Raw hemp wick coated in beeswax offers a slow burn from all-natural materials, which many users say produces a cleaner cannabis flavor than a lighter or match. Some tokers also prefer using hemp wicks to light up their weed because it makes the process more straightforward. The flame on a strand of raw hemp wick won't go out, the point is more precise, and it's easy to hold your bud up to a slow-burning piece of twine.
Using hemp wick produces a more flavorful hit. It may even maximize your bud's potency because the low-temperature flame doesn't burn off the same amount of terpenes and cannabinoids as non-natural fire sources. This is one of the same reasons many joint tokers like using hemp paper as their rolling paper of choice. Hemp rolling papers produce a cleaner, more even smoking experience that doesn't carry the same carcinogens or chemicals as other rolling papers.
How to use hemp wick
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Using a hemp wick takes a few extra steps but is well worth the effort to enjoy a smooth, flavorful cannabis smoke. Learn how to effectively light a pipe, joint, or bong with a hemp wick.
- Unfurl the hemp wick
First, unfurl your roll of hemp wick and peel away the tape that keeps it together so that one end of the twine is sticking out and ready to use. Some hemp rolls come in lengths up to 800 feet, so make sure not to unravel it entirely, or you'll have a mess on your hands. Hemp wick is also a bit sticky due to the beeswax, so try to store it in a clean space where it won't accumulate too much dust or debris. Many tokers will keep a long piece of raw hemp wick around their lighter or bowl for easy access.
- Light the tip of the wick
Hold the freed strand away from any wind or fabrics, and light the tip of your hemp wick using a lighter or a match. Yes, we did explain why it's not ideal to use butane lighters, but don't worry. The first light of the butane-gas fire is to get the burn started, and the portion of hemp wick that touches the butane will burn away immediately, leaving your raw hemp wick chemical-free.
- Wait for an even flame
Allow the flame to burn for a little bit to keep it going correctly and remove any trace of chemicals. Once you have a gentle, even flame, use it as you would any source to spark up your cannabis.
- Light your weed with the wick
For a joint, use the raw hemp wick to light the twisted end of the rolling paper and inhale, the same way you would use a lighter or match. Hemp wicks maintain their shape when you hold them up, rather than flop down like other twines or string.
To light a pipe or bong, place the tip of the hemp wick into the bowl and inhale. If desired, you can leave the hemp wick lighter in the bowl while inhaling to maintain a smooth, even burn.
- Extinguish the wick
When you're done using your hemp wick, extinguish it by dipping the tip in water or pressing the fire out with wetted fingertips. Let it cool down, and then wrap it back up for safe, effective storage. Make sure that the tip is extinguished before wrapping it into the hemp bundle. Otherwise, you risk burning your entire supply.
What is the best hemp wick?
It's hard to go wrong when choosing a hemp wick product, but many cannabis dispensaries will have various hemp wick and hemp paper brands available for the health-conscious consumer. Some are simply industrial hemp fibers dipped in beeswax, while others use hemp grown explicitly to make hemp lighters. These specialty varieties often feature intricate weaving and high-grade beeswax, usually with a subtle floral aroma.
What else is hemp wick used for?
Hemp wick's usefulness extends far beyond cannabis smoking. Thanks to its beeswax layer, hemp wick can be used in candle-making as well as for lighting candles, stoves, and campfires.
It's also a popular choice in the crafts world, where individuals prize its organic look, vibrant brown coloring, and long-lasting durability. Crafters use hemp to string jewelry, bind scrapbooks, make macrame crafts, and in packaging or gift-wrapping. Gardeners also use hemp wick to tie plants to support stakes.