In today’s cannabis industry, new and innovative ideas are what most consumers seek. It is true especially for the younger generation of users. However, not many people today are aware of an old form of smoke called Thai Stick. Although mostly forgotten, it is never nor will it ever be gone. Not when the psychedelic effects it provides is unlike the usual joints or blunts.
All About Thai Sticks
A Thai Stick is, as what its name suggests, an extra-large stick of cannabis buds fastened to a stem. It is then wrapped using fibers from the plant itself. Apart from securing it to the stick, this process itself also ‘cure’ or remove moisture.
Over the years, Thai Sticks also took on a transformation. For instance, instead of stems, makers now also use bamboos instead of stems. Even the wrapping material has changed, too. Once it was fibers, nowadays, hemp strains (also called rasta hair) are frequently used. And, for more potency, some add cannabis oil on the body.
A Brief History
Thai Sticks originated from tribes in the mountains of Northern Thailand. However, even before its discovery, the country already has a long and vibrant culture of using cannabis.
Contrary to the perception of many people, ‘ganja’ as cannabis plants are called locally, is not only used for fun and pleasure. Due to its excellent analgesic properties, Thais use it for therapeutic purposes. Cannabis oils, meanwhile, are used as a topical ointment and for body massage.
In the early days, the use of cannabis is so widespread that it is found in virtually every household and, in particular, the kitchen. For example, it is one of the main ingredients of the traditional boat noodle soup.
Furthermore, Thais also found other ways to use cannabis. Using its fibers to make clothes, it was at some point the most popular material in the fashion industry.
Thai Sticks Reach The West
As Thai Sticks went mainstream in Thailand, its discovery by people from the west became imminent. And, it occurred around the 60s to 70s during the Vietnam War. That was when American soldiers came to know about it and enjoyed its use.
Once the war ended, many American soldiers took home Thai Sticks to the United States. And, with rising popularity, Thai Sticks became one of the top exports of Thailand.
From Fame To The Brink Of Extinction
Despite its widespread use, though, Thai Sticks eventually faded. Some of the reasons include the end Vietnam War, restrictive policies emerged and the appearance of alternatives that deliver just as enjoyable and beneficial experience.
The Narcotics Law
In 1979, Thailand passed the Narcotics Act which prohibited the production, importation, sales, and use of cannabis. Anyone caught violating this law is subject to no less than 2 to 15 years of imprisonment, and a fine of up to 1.5m Thai baht (roughly $45,000).
The suppression of cannabis plant did not stop in Thailand. In the United States, the government adopted the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and enacted narcotics law as well. The CSA is part of a general control policy and drug abuse prevention law. It is a comprehensive act that categorizes marijuana plant as a Schedule 1 substance together with LSD, heroin, and methaqualone.
As a consequence of the narcotics law in these two countries, the production and consumption of Thai Sticks decreased.
Emergence Of New Breeds
Even though there were prohibitions, Thai Sticks did not quickly vanish from the market. But it was the beginning of the end that further accelerated when its production moved to the neighboring countries Cambodia and Laos.
It is not because Cambodians and Laotians do not have the know-how nor the skills. However, partly because of unavailability of the premium strains from Thailand, as well as using others, contributed to less-than-stellar experience than the original Thai Sticks. Consequently, its reputation suffered.
Meanwhile, new hybrids emerged that are more flavorful. More importantly, many of these newcomers also boast of incredible potency. As a result, there was a shift in preferences that caused demand for Thai Sticks to plummet.
Decades after the enactment of strict policies suppressing the production of Thai Sticks, regulations have changed as the use of cannabis is becoming more accepted. Nowadays, makers have replaced the old and original strains with modern hybrids. Still, there remains a few who still uses the classic pure breeds, but its cost does come at a premium.
Among the several hybrids of Thai descent used today is Chocolope – an award-winning offspring of Cannalope and Chocolate Thai. And, of numerous landrace strains found in the country, another popular variety is Wild Thailand from the island of Ko Chong.
The Effects Of Thai Stick
Head to head, the effects of a particular strain used in the form of Thai Sticks and the traditional method of smoking joints or blunts are the same. Where one differs from the other is in intensity.
Because it is pure or mostly Sativa, the psychedelic high in centered on the brain. These effects usually include light and nice numb feeling in the head with a relaxed and cheerful mood. Apart from a sense of happiness and being bubbly and cheerful, its users often would have heightened sensitivity and keen focus.
Thai Sticks, being more potent, have the potential of delivering a highly intense high. And, if it becomes overbearing, some people might feel anxious or paranoid. At any rate, regardless of the variety used, it does not differ from other methods of consumption in that its use also leads to cottonmouth and dry eyes.
If there is one thing that limits the use of Thai Sticks for medical purposes, it is because of unremarkable CBD content. Quite simply, it cannot compare to modern medical strain. However, that is not to say that it has no pharmacological value at all.
Even if minimal, its CBD compound still has enough anti-inflammatory properties. And, together with the muscles relaxing traits of THC, it can still significantly help reduce pains and various body aches. Not to mention, its ability to promote happiness and uplift the mood allows people to ward off stress or even depression.
How To Make Thai Sticks?
Looking at Thai Sticks, its appearance suggests that making it is not only a meticulous task but also time-consuming. In reality, though, it is not at all that difficult and anyone can do it at home.
Prepare the following:
- Marijuana buds (any strain)
- Hemp string
- Plant stem or a bamboo stick (a chopstick or a barbecue stick will do too)
- Hash oil (or sugar water)
- Parchment paper
- Washed cannabis leaves
- To start, collect all the softest cannabis buds in the stash, and then segregate. Also, make sure to pick the fluffier, if not the fluffiest, ones. That is to make the next step more convenient.
- Begin coating bamboo sticks with sugar water or hash oil until it turns a little bit sticky. As for the stick itself, one can even use a chopstick as an alternative if hemp stems or bamboo sticks are not available. Although it might look odd, the overall result is far more significant than mere appearance alone. Bamboo sticks, though, is preferable due to the choices of size. And, it has a sharp point that is quite handy for the next step as well as towards the end of the process. Once the coating is done, tie and securely fasten the buds onto the stick using hemp string. Make sure to bind it all over the body of the buds.
- Patience is needed for this step. In preparation for the fourth step, wrap the buds first using parchment paper. Then, refrigerate it for a few days or until the buds are frozen into one piece. Making these extra-large smoke takes quite a bit of time. Patience, though, is rewarded after a few days.
- After two or three days, or the buds have already solidified, carefully unwrap the parchment paper and the hemp string. However, if it turns out that the buds fall off, then, clearly, it is not ready. Simply store in the refrigerator for a day or two.
- After removing the hemp string from the buds, start coating the whole thing using hash oil or sugar water. Once done, wrap it again. But, this time, use three washed marijuana leaves to cover it. Wrap it three times and store it in the refrigerator for three more days. Evidently, making Thai Sticks is a time-consuming task. However, there is a way to make it a little bit quick. After wrapping it with the first layer of cannabis leaf, glaze a small amount of sugar water or hash oil all over the leaf. Do it before covering the buds with another layer.
- After wrapping the Thai Sticks with cannabis leaves, cover it again using parchment paper, and then warm it up on a pan for a few seconds. It will allow hash oil to permeate through the sheets and into the bud. Additionally, it will help make an excellent seal for the leaves.
- Next, rewrap the Thai Stick with hemp string and parchment paper before storing it again in the refrigerator to let it cure.
- After several days of waiting, it is now time to light it up.
Note: Thai Sticks take a long time to make. Hence, preservation is a must to keep it from rotting. And, to preserve, it needs to be ‘cured’ – a process of maintaining perishable goods from decaying. What it does, in this instance, is not merely to remove moisture but to also solidify the three layers of cannabis leaves. Curing, in essence, helps in smoothing out and enhancing the flavor to make it less harsh to smoke.
Thai Sticks Remains A Better Smoke
For people who want to make Thai Sticks at home, the process itself is not complicated. But, the time it takes can be painful. In the end, though, the fact that it brings out the best of a strain far outweighs the effort. Not only is it more flavorful, but it is also so much more potent than virtually any means of its use.
Somehow, someway, the long tradition of Thai Sticks has persisted. Even after coming under fire from restrictions, it has persevered. From the brink of disappearing, it has once again emerged as a likable means of cannabis consumption.