If you have ever smoked a hookah, then chances are, you have considered adding weed to your shisha bowl.
I say this because I too have considered, and attempted, to add weed to my own shisha bowl – with, I might add, varying degrees of success.
It is for this reason that I resolved to make my own homemade weed shisha, and given that Ontario has banned shisha bars, the timing of my efforts couldn’t be more poignant.
What is Shisha?
Shisha is a simple product, comprised of tobacco, molasses, glycerol or glycerin, and flavouring – either artificial or natural.
Despite its humble beginnings, shisha has evolved into a niche market replete with dozens, if not hundreds, of unique flavours.
The product itself, and the act of hookah smoking more generally, has steadily increased in popularity over the years.
Unfortunately, both shisha and hookah water pipe’s have come under fire, at least in Ontario, for conflicting with the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
This has made it difficult to source popular shisha brands like Al-Fakher or Starbuzz.
Very few businesses carried these products to begin with, and their scarcity will only increase now that legislation governing their use has become more prohibitive.
For an avid shisha lover like myself, this trend forced me to scour the web for the best homemade weed shisha recipe I could find.
How to Make Weed Shisha
Making weed shisha is not much different than making regular shisha tobacco.
The difficulty is achieving the right balance between all of the ingredients.
In order to achieve the perfect balance between ingredients, you need to determine what is most important during your hookah smoking session.
Vegetable Glycerin (VG) is a sweet-tasting, non-toxic, and viscous liquid. In weed shisha, it is used as a protectant for the mixture by slowing the rate of burning, and to create the characteristic clouds we often associate with hookah pipe’s. Due to its intrinsic sweetness, it also imparts some of its flavour to the shisha mixture.
However, if there is too much glycerin in the shisha mixture it can actually detract from the overall flavour, as well as leave your lungs feeling heavy and uncomfortable.
Glycerin is non-toxic, but when aspirated into the lungs it can cause discomfort, and potentially, lipid pneumonia. Some people argue that glycerin is an alcohol, not a lipid, so it cannot cause lipid pneumonia, but it is perhaps wise to assume there is some risk involved.
It is for these reasons, that striking the right balance between glycerin and the other ingredients in your weed shisha is vital, not only for the enjoyment of the hookah session, but also to preserve the integrity of your lungs.
You should be looking for 99.99% food-grade USP glycerin.
As is the case with glycerin, determining the right amount of flavouring for your shisha mixture can make or break your hookah session.
In my own homemade weed shisha, I used fresh apples for flavouring. I began by slicing the apples and then heating them slowly in a non-stick pan. My goal was to remove as much moisture from the apples as I could without browning them.
After cooking, I then mashed the apples and set them aside to cool.
If the apples are not dry enough, your coconut coals or quick-light coals will not be able to burn your weed shisha, and if they are too dry the mixture could burn too quickly – like I said, balance is critical.
As far as how many apples, or any fruit of your choosing, to use – that is a matter of preference. When using natural sweeteners, it is advisable to use more rather than less because the tobacco and molasses will tend to overpower the flavour of the fruit.
Much like glycerin, molasses is used for a more efficient distribution of heat, and to impart some of its flavour to your homemade shisha.
I personally use dark molasses, which is more bitter than sweet, and pairs better with the flavour of tobacco.
The flavour profile of my homemade weed shisha tends to reflect more of the tobacco and weed than fruit, but if sweetness is more palatable to you then use a light molasses and lots of fruit.
In my weed shisha, I use a shag tobacco. Sometimes it is flavoured and other times not. Loose tobacco, although already shredded, should be even finer when used in your shisha mix. So depending on which brand you buy, you may need to use a food processor or scissors to achieve the right consistency.
As said previously, the flavour of tobacco can be too much for some and can overtake any other flavours you have added to the mixture. If this is of concern to you, consider soaking your shag tobacco in water for a few hours and then setting aside to dry. The water will leech some of the flavour and nicotine out of the loose leaf which will make your homemade weed shisha milder.
Like fruit, the tobacco must be fairly dry. So, let it sit for a while before adding it to your mix – especially if your soaking it in water.
When it comes to adding weed to your shisha, there are many options to consider.
Obviously, fresh or dried cannabis can be added to the shisha mix, but for an even distribution of marijuana, an extract such as butters or oils may be preferable. They’re typically viscous and will fuse with the glycerin and molasses.
The use of extracts has several benefits including, but not limited to, less potential for burning and much less wasted product. Every bit counts.
Finding the Right Proportions
Tobacco is clearly the base of your homemade shisha, and a typical shisha bowl holds around 20 grams.
If you are making 100 grams of shisha, then you can expect to have 5 smoke sessions.
This is significant insofar as it can guide how much glycerin, cannabis, and molasses to add.
The prevailing rule when determining how much cannabis to use is to start low and increase slowly. I would say that this extends to your homemade weed shisha as well.
If you typically ingest a gram of cannabis at a time, then 5 grams of marijuana, or equivalent volume of extract, in 100 grams of shisha is probably adequate. Remember that if you are using dried or fresh marijuana versus an extract, these figures can fluctuate.
As for the glycerin and molasses, you should make sure that your tobacco is thoroughly coated, but not so much that there is residue pooling at the bottom of the container or bowl you are using.
I would keep the glycerin around 30ml per 100gram of shisha, and add more if needed or according to your preference.