The Lowdown on the Thai Stick

thai strain on white background

Once upon a time, the cannabis Thai stick was a known and well-used product in the marijuana world.



There are many ways to get high, between joints and pipes and edibles and concentrates of all kinds. One method that hasn't yet found its way into the mainstream after a rich history overseas is the Thai stick – named for its shape, origin, and main ingredient.

What's a Thai Stick?

hands holding two thai sticks
Photo courtesy of internationalhighlife.com
The design and method of consumption of a Thai stick makes it unique within the realm of cannabis. It's made from a pure sativa landrace that originated in Thailand, and came with its own set of smoking traditions.

The Thai stick was originally smoked by threading cannabis buds onto long and thin bamboo sticks. While a joint involves grinding the weed into small, fine pieces, the Thai stick uses whole chunks of marijuana.

Like a skewer, the flower is impaled, which keeps everything nice and secure, while also keeping all marijuana stickiness away from the hands. From there, the bud is then dipped into both plant matter and hash oil, sourced from the stalk of the cannabis plant, further enhancing the potency. The result is cannabis on a stick, wrapped in a different part of the plant.

Then, the Thai stick is burned – over a low fire, to avoid too much moisture – and smoked.

While its transition to the United States was short-lived and didn't last long in the limelight, these weed shish kabobs can still be found in Thailand.

History of the Thai Stick

nice big purpley nug

The Thai stick is considered one of the oldest smoking methods of weed in the world. It was born in Thailand, dating back thousands of years ago, to when cannabis was first domesticated.

The special ingredient in the Thai stick is the sativa strain that is literally called "Thai." That particular variety of marijuana is a landrace that has cultural origins as one of the very first strains grown in Thailand.

Thai grew widely popular very quickly because of its psychoactive properties. It would also later be known as a parent strain for several other beloved flowers, such as Haze, Voodoo, and Juicy Fruit.

After serving Thailand fruitfully, Thai – rolled into smokable sticks, taking advantage of locally sourced bamboo sticks – found its way back to the United States. During the Vietnam War, soldiers were introduced to Thai, as the culture surrounding consumption was quite liberal and open-minded, and they were welcome to embrace it.

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Thanks to American soldiers, Thai sticks were smuggled into their home country in the 1970s and 80s post-war. Additionally, international travel was also starting to pick up speed in the states, and the younger generation started going abroad, traveling to Thailand and bringing some samples back in their suitcases.

The shape of the Thai stick remained intact. Though Thailand consumers were smoking and rolling the sticks for the same reason Americans rolled joints – it was just what they did and knew – consumers in the States both appreciated and appropriated the method, enticed by the foreign air of it all.

Why Didn't It Stick?

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Like many fads, Thai sticks did not manage to stay afloat in the U.S. long term. There might be some use here and there by hipster smokers, but they have mostly stayed put in Thailand.

There are many reasons for their disappearance in America. First of all, there are much stricter policies and customs regarding drugs traveling across borders. Even in the most innocent of exchanges, bringing weed over from Thailand is considered narcotic smuggling. There are rules and government agencies designed to make it nearly impossible to bring over Thai sticks, and they do their jobs well. It also didn't help that Thai sticks were on the larger side, and a little harder to conceal.

This crackdown continued as American opinion on marijuana continued to sour and become associated with hard-hitting classifications and no-good morals. Illegal importation, consequently, was less common as well.

Another major factor was a boom in homegrown varieties of weed. Lots of consumers were starting to grow their own crops, and relying less on imports of foreign strains. Craft strains, grown in America, were becoming a new and robust norm, involving local growers, cultivators, and dealers. Thai sticks – along with their bamboo furnishings – were a casualty of the movement.

Your Options

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Keep in mind: you use up a lot of marijuana at once with a Thai stick. It isn't exactly efficient, and can seem a little wasteful. You'll also likely get really high if you are smoking an entire stick on your own.

However, if you desire to try your hand at smoking a Thai stick, you have a few options. You could travel to Thailand and consume authentic sticks. But Thailand’s not easy on marijuana use, punishments can be severe, so it’s probably not worth the big risk.

Or, if Thai sticks sound that irresistible, you could try to make your own appropriated version at home.

Whether you make your own Thai sticks with local weed near you, or you go on an international trip, enjoy and consume responsibly – recognizing a historic consumption method.

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