Steamrollers, or steamroller pipes, give some of the most powerful hits of almost any cannabis smoking implements. Certainly not for the faint of heart (or lung), the main draw of steamroller pipes is also the main drawback, as it were, that being they hit hard and strong. The steamroller pipe gets its name because it resembles the piping of the same name running along old-style steam locomotives. The design of the steamroller pipe is said to be modeled after the ancient ceremonial pipes used by Native American tribes.
There are an endless variety of steamroller pipes in a limitless array of colors, sizes, styles, designs as well as pipe materials, including glass, acrylic, metal, clay and bamboo. In spite of these differences, the one criterion they all share is a tubular shape with an opening at both ends. This singular factor distinguishes steamrollers from all other smoking implements. A bowl for the cannabis sits at the top of the pipe, near one of the open ends called the “carburetor”. The other end is where the mouth is placed.
It is also this distinguishing form-factor of the steamroller’s design that gives it its reputation for providing an incomparably powerful smoking experience. By sealing off the carburetor with your finger or the palm of your hand (depending, of course, on the pipe’s size) you can quickly fill the chamber with smoke as you light the bowl and inhale. Then, when you remove your hand from covering that open end while still inhaling, air is drawn through the pipe, pushing all of that smoke into your mouth, throat and lungs. This delivers a large and potent hit.
A steamroller pipe hit can also be hot in temperature and harsh on the throat. It is not uncommon to see a person turn beet red, eyes watering, and start coughing furiously after their steamroller hit takes them by surprise. To put it another way, with steamroller pipe hits, you inhale the maximum amount of cannabinoids you possibly can from igniting that cannabis, but you also inhale the maximum amount of tar and other contaminants. The other precaution when using steamroller pipe hits is that the effects of the cannabis are generally felt immediately and powerfully; this includes psychoactive effects. This means it is very easy to get even higher than you anticipated getting from using a steamroller pipe.
One feature to look for when shopping for steamroller pipes is some type of “feet” for stabilizing the pipe when you set it down. Given these pipes are shaped like open cylinders, without some sort of stabilization attached, they can easily roll off of a smooth, flat surface when set down and potentially fall and break. Once again, steamroller pipes are not for novice smokers or medical cannabis users with a compromised respiratory or cardiovascular system; they are for healthy and experienced cannabis users who wish to get as high as possible as fast as possible. For these seasoned smokers, artisans far and wide have crafted a mind-boggling array of steamroller pipe designs.