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Thai sticks and cannagars

During the 1970s, the American cannabis scene discovered a new and revolutionary product originating from an exotic land: the Thai Stick. And while nowadays it might seem impossible, back then cannabis was a taboo subject in American culture, and very few people cultivated their own plants. In contrast, most of the weed they used came from the overseas market, particularly Central America and the Caribbean, but a large share of this marijuana cargo originated in Asia.

The explanation is simple: at the time, many hippies embarked on an adventure – that became known as the Hippie Hashish Trail – to visit some of the world’s biggest cannabis and hashish producers, from Morocco to South East Asia, through countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, among others.

Naturally, drug-trafficking networks were soon established between all of these countries and the US as the cargo destination, mostly created by young American “tourists” with great entrepreneurial talent and very little interest in what could happen to them if they were caught.

The Gulf of Thailand offered much more than beautiful views to travellers

Thailand was no exception. Its potent Sativa weed was already known and cherished by many Americans for its strong cerebral high. The army of tourists and Hashish Trail pilgrims was joined by a parade of dubious characters that had remained in the area after the Vietnam War, ex-soldiers who knew the Gulf of Thailand inside out and how to carry out covert operations of the likes of drug trafficking. Therefore, thousands upon thousands of kilos of hashish and weed were hauled from Asia to the United States during that decade, but one product stood out among the others for its massive potency and became famous throughout the country: the Thai Stick.

What is a Thai Stick?

Broadly speaking, a Thai Stick is a sort of “marijuana kebab” made with a thin bamboo cane of about 25-30cm long (similar to a Chinese chopstick), and covered in high-quality pressed buds. After pressing the weed to make it stay attached to the cane, sometimes it was wrapped with fresh leaves, the same way cigars are made, and other times it got secured by a thin strand of cannabis fibres.

Rumour has it that Thai Sticks were soaked in opium (something that most reliable sources deny), while others claim that cannabis oil was used to increase their potency. What does seem certain, according to the trusted records of the time, is that their potency was unparalleled to any other product.

Modern Cannagars closely resemble the old-fashioned Thai Sticks (Photo: La Plume Rosa)

People who tried the authentic Thai Sticks confirm that the effect was extremely high, what we call a one-hit smoke. However, an interesting fact that makes you think they might have been coated in some other substance, many of these accounts describe the effect as very physical, the type of high that can get you couch-locked after just one puff, which is a little bit odd considering that Thai cannabis was known – and still is – for its intense cerebral high and strong stimulating effect.

Either way, every American stoner from the 70s was aware of the famous Thai Sticks, and not just because of the unusual way in which they were presented. The quality of the buds was excellent, the best Thai weed of that time, and very soon it could be found in every corner of the country where people used to deal in cannabis. While the price was high, the sensations they induced were unique, and as it’s often the case, the product got surrounded by a legendary aura that made it even more tempting to the public.

Nevertheless, and similarly to what went on in other cannabis-producing countries such as Afghanistan, the quality of the product declined during the second half of the 70s, partly due to the high demand and partly to territorial and armed conflicts. The buds used to make Thai Sticks were no longer the best from the harvest, the drying process was poor on many occasions, and their potency had nothing to do with that of the first few years, after their “discovery” by the western world. In addition, when the Vietnam War finished, the number of Americans that returned from these lands dropped considerably, and this also had an impact on the near-disappearance of the product.

Thai cannabis is famous for being highly psychoactive (Photo: The Thaiger)

How do you make a Thai Stick?

We know very little of the traditional way of rolling Thai Sticks. Some theorists speak of decades, while others claim they could be centuries old, something that, bearing in mind the preparation system, it’s very possible. In fact, the only thing you need is a cannabis plant, as the bamboo cane can be replaced by a branch of the very same plant you get the flowers from. Let’s see in detail how to make them:

Materials required for making Thai Sticks:
  • Buds from your favourite strain (preferably not too compact)
  • A few fresh cannabis leaves
  • A thin cannabis stem (or bamboo cane)
  • Cannabis oil or warm sugary water
  • Hemp string
  • Parchment paper

To make a good Thai Stick you need patience and good materials(Photo: Joshuahhh)

1. The first step involves soaking the cannabis or bamboo cane in cannabis oil or sugary water. This way, the action of attaching the buds to the stick will be much easier, as the oil behaves like glue. Needless to say, if you use an oil like BHO or Rosin, the end result will be much more potent. The fluffier the buds, the better they’ll stick to the stem, and the resulting Thai Stick will be even much greater.

2. Start sticking the buds to the cane, leaving a little more than 1cm of free space on each end. The next step consists in tying everything up with the hemp string. Starting on one end, wrap the bud-covered stick tightly with the string from top to bottom. It’s very important that your Thai Stick has the same width along its entire length, to enable air intake when you decide to smoke it.

3. Wrap the whole thing in parchment paper and let it sit for 1-2 days in the refrigerator to get the right consistency.

4. After the recommended time, take the package out of the fridge, remove the parchment paper, and carefully unwrap the string. You should do this with great care to prevent the buds from becoming detached.

5. Now it’s the moment of wrapping your Thai Stick again, but this time with fresh cannabis leaves, which you should have washed well beforehand. Coat the buds with the oil or sugary water and carefully wrap the Thai Stick in the first leaf. Keep coating and repeating the process until you have used 3 leaves, always adding your “glue” between layers.

6. Wrap everything in parchment paper once more and heat it in a pan or a hot plate for a few seconds. This will fuse all the elements, melting the oil and sealing all the layers, so the air intake will be perfect.

7. The next step involves curing your Thai Stick, which can be done in a number of ways. Whatever method you choose, the first thing you should do is remove the parchment paper, wrap the Thai Stick in the string once more, and cover it again with paper. After this, you can place it in a plastic bag and bury it underground for a few weeks or vacuum-seal your Thai Stick for a few days. But in order to avoid mould issues and ensure consistent curing, it’s best to put it back in the fridge for 3-4 days.

8. Once cured, if you decided to do it (those who can’t wait tend to skip step 7), you only have to carefully remove the string and stem, and enjoy your Thai Stick!

The more resin, the stronger the high (Photo: TheDraftDodger)

Cannagars, the revival of a 70’s classic

Thanks to a combination of several factors, such as cannabis legalization in different countries and the emergence of social networks, Thai Sticks have experienced a dramatic revival in recent years, though now they are mostly known as Cannagars, a wordplay with the terms “cannabis” and “cigars”. While they are the same in theory (a cigar made entirely of cannabis), modern techniques are somewhat different from the traditional ones, like using extracts such as Rosin or BHO (Butane Hash Oil or Butane Honey Oil).

Thai Sticks can also be made with cannagar moulds to simplify the process, since you’ll just need to fill the mould with the buds (sometimes after using a grinder), press them, and de-mould the weed cigar, which will then have a perfect shape. From this point on, continue in the traditional way, smearing the cigar with cannabis oil and wrapping it in fresh marijuana leaves.

Awesome curing cellar full of Leira Cannagars (Photo: Leira)

In countries where marijuana is legal, these Cannagars can be purchased without problems, and there are several companies that sell them, such as Leira, La Plume Rose, Golden Bear and Las Vegas Cannagars. Each of them offers several types of cannagars, from small 3g to large 12g cigars, and even special editions made with 24K gold rolling papers. A luxury not suitable for every budget!

After decades of being consigned to oblivion, modern Cannagars are the revival of the Thai Sticks, which were highly popular in USA during the 1970s.

What Are Thai Sticks and How Do You Make Them?

Thai Sticks: arguably the most potent joint in the whole world. Originating in Thailand only the ganja Gods know when, this joint (if you can even still call it that) became famous in the West after American soldiers returned from the Vietnam war. This article goes into the history of Thai Sticks as well as the art of creating your own.

When you think about it, not a lot has changed about marijuana in general for the last – oh, 4,000 years. Sure, we now have technology to extract cannabinoids, turn it into oil, put it in a vape pen and never need rolling paper again. But despite that, most of us still throw some weed in a paper and light it up. We still do pretty much the same thing with weed now as our ancestors in China.

So, what’s all this new stuff about? Bongs, vapes, blunts, edibles! Everybody is really just exploring all of the ways that they can unlock the high that is contained in this deliciously pungent flower. Thai Sticks are just another one of those ways that you can experience marijuana and its magical powers.

We’re probably going to continue finding awesome and intense ways to experience marijuana for – eternity. If 4,000 years after we first spoke about it we’re still finding new ways to use it, it doesn’t seem like it ever runs out. And every cool way to use weed has its story. So, what’s the story behind Thai Sticks?

You guessed right. Thai Sticks come from Thailand

There’s no real surprises here. Thai Sticks do indeed come from Thailand, with something of a rich history. We don’t really know when Thai Sticks were created though. It’s highly likely that they’ve been around much longer than we’ve known about it, since it was American soldiers who discovered them during the Vietnam war. It’s no surprise why a soldier might be excited by something like a Thai Stick, right?

This potent marijuana experience was obviously a protagonist in many stories brought back by American soldiers. And alas, the rest of the world came to know about the potent Thai Stick and its magical powers.

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There is a lot of speculation about what made the Thai Stick so special in those days. Was it dipped in hash oil or even opium? Was it the combination of strains that grew in that part of the world at the time that made it such a powerhouse? We’ll never know really.

There aren’t many people who believe that modern Thai Sticks even compare to the original. But nonetheless, you can try to replicate them – and we’re going to teach you some ways that you can make your own Thai Sticks.

Ok so what is a Thai Stick?

After the history lesson, you’re probably wondering what the Thai Stick is all about! To put it quite simply, a Thai Stick is a ganja kebab. Yes, imagine nuggets of weed skewered onto a stem, a stick, a chopstick – it doesn’t really matter. Once the weed is skewered on, it looks a lot like a joint that hasn’t been wrapped up.

The stick is then wrapped in fibres from the marijuana plant to hold it all together, dried and cured for consumption later. As we talked about, there are rumours that it was dipped in hash oil or even opium to give it an extra kick. But the modern Thai Stick probably ain’t dipped in opium, even if it’s purchased in Thailand, don’t worry!

The final product is a huge cigar-looking piece of smokeable weed. It is usually something designed to get you extremely high. So now you want to learn how to make your own. The instructions are below!

How to make Thai Sticks

To make the best Thai Stick, it’s usually best if you are growing your own marijuana. That means you’ll have everything you need lying around to create the perfect stick. However, if you’re not, that’s okay. You can ask a friend who is growing for some of their plant supplies or you can improvise with the parts that you don’t have (but it won’t be a real Thai Stick).

Also, making Thai Sticks requires some patience. There’s a lot of waiting involved. So, don’t expect to be smoking your Thai Stick by the end of this article!

What you need:

  • A few nugs of good weed, dried. If you want to mix strains, that’s okay!
  • A stem of a cannabis plant. If you don’t have it, you can use a bamboo stick or a chopstick or any other kind of skewer
  • Hemp string
  • Hash oil
  • Some leaves freshly picked from a growing marijuana plant (you will pick them fresh a couple of days into the process)
  • Some parchment paper

How to do it:

  1. Start by choosing the fluffiest buds from your selection of nugs. Denser ones will work ok, but it will make the final smoke a bit harder to pull. The fluffy ones work the best.
  2. Now it’s time to dip your chosen stick or stem in some hash oil. This will make it sticky enough for the buds to easily secure around it.
  3. Now carefully attach your buds to the stick. You can hold them on while you secure them with hemp string. Eventually, the whole stick should be covered in buds that are secured on with all your hemp string.
  4. Wrap the stick in parchment paper and put it in the refrigerator. Within a couple of days, it will have solidified into something a bit more secure.
  5. After a couple of days take the stick out of your fridge, unwrap the parchment and very carefully remove the hemp string. If you used enough oil in the first stage, the buds should stay stuck to the stick or stem. If you didn’t use enough, they might fall off – and you have to start the project again.
  6. Now you should give your stick a light coat of hash oil. Wrap the whole thing in fresh marijuana leaves.
  7. Technically, you should do this three times for a grand total of three layers of marijuana leaves. If you want to dry it then add more leaves you can. If you prefer to do the whole lot in one day, that’s fine too. So for the second and third layers of leaves, add another fine layer of hash oil in-between to encourage everything to stick.
  8. Wrap the whole thing in parchment paper and put it on a hot pan for a minute or so. This heats up the hash oil, lets it permeate the papers and buds and seals everything very nicely.
  9. Now wrap it up in hemp string again and put it back in the fridge for curing. As a side note, there are some expert Thai Stick makers who say that the curing process should take place underground. Yes, that means putting it in a plastic bag and burying it three feet deep for a month. We understand if you just don’t want to wait that long. But cure it in the fridge for at least a few days.
  10. Be sure to unwrap the hemp string before you smoke your Thai Stick. Smoking it should take place from a week to a month from when you start making it, depending on your curing method and process.

Making Thai Sticks really is an art. It’s not something that you necessarily nail the first time. And so much of the work goes into curing it, to make something that smokes smoothly and is delicious. Have fun creating, cannabis connoissuers!

Cannabis enthusiasts are always searching for new and wonderful ways to experience marijuana. Behold – the Thai Stick! Check out this guide on their history and how to make your own.