Hookah vs Weed: A Complete Guide


In recent years, both hookah use and marijuana use have been on the rise.

Nearly double the number of American adults smoked hookah in 2017 as had several years before, and so far eleven U.S. states have legalized recreational cannabis.

So with both of these smoking phenomena on the rise, you might be wondering what you should know about hookah vs weed.

Well, you’re in luck! Come with me and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the differences between hookah and cannabis.

Hookah vs Weed: What’s the Difference?

The short answer is: they’re completely different. The battle between hookah vs cannabis is not a question of which is better, it’s more like comparing apples and orangutans. Depending on what you’re looking for, there’s a time and a place for both.

What is Hookah?

A hookah is not the name of a substance, but rather the name of the instrument used to vaporize and smoke flavored tobacco. If you go to a hookah lounge, the substance smoked through a hookah will definitely be tobacco, though historically hookahs have sometimes been used for smoking other drugs like cannabis and opium.

The History of Hookah

There are a couple of different stories about the origin of the hookah. One claims that the hookah was invented in India after tobacco was introduced to the emperor of the Mughal Empire, Akbar the Great, by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century. The second believes that the inventor was a Persian physicist named Abu’l-Fath Gilani. It’s also possible that the water pipe wasn’t invented in India at all, but actually in Persia and its use eventually spread east.

Whatever it’s origins, smoking a hookah has become a popular group activity in the United States, Europe, and Russia. You can buy hookahs all over the United States in gas stations and head shops, and hookah lounges are a growing trend in cities.

Do You Get High From Hookah?

Okay, okay. We all know you didn’t come here for a history lesson. What you really want to know is: does hookah get you high?

No, no it doesn’t. There is no hookah high, but hookah does definitely give you a buzz.

What Else You Should Know About Hookah

Tobacco for hookah, also known as shisha, comes in countless flavors that make it a completely different experience than smoking cigarettes. Another difference is that a hookah is a water pipe, so the experience of smoking feels much smoother.

The number of U.S. adults who have smoked hookah is growing steadily, even as the number of people smoking cigarettes is going down. Gone are the anti-social days of smoking a cigarette standing outside alone at midnight on your fire escape in the freezing rain. Now you can lounge in a cozy, dimly lit, chic establishment, partaking in a group bonding experience with other beautiful people.

For what it’s worth, it’s important to mention that there are growing concerns over the health risks of hookah as it’s been gaining in popularity. I don’t want to be a buzzkill, but it had to be said.

What is Weed?

Ah yes, our good friend weed, also known as cannabis, marijuana, mary jane, ganja, the devil’s lettuce… okay, you get it. Maybe you’re all too familiar with it or considering giving it a first go ’round. Let’s dive into the wild world of wacky tobaccy.

The History of Weed

The cannabis plant has been used by humans since the Neolithic age (which was about 12,000 years ago!) The earliest uses of the plant are believed to be for the purposes of making rope and fabric in Japan and China. The plant is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Like many things that happened thousands and thousands of years ago, the details about when cannabis was first used for its psychoactive properties are pretty fuzzy. What we do know is that for thousands of years, humans have been using weed for spiritual, ritualistic, and medicinal purposes.

Sadly, marijuana has endured a long history of criminalization in the last couple hundred years, but in the United States, things seem to be on the upswing. With medicinal and recreational marijuana becoming decriminalized and even legal in many U.S. states, more and more people are partaking in this legal high.

Do You Get High From Weed?

Yes, yes you do. Cannabis is psychoactive, meaning that it changes your brain function and can alter your consciousness, mood, perception, cognition, or behavior.

For what it’s worth, though, people use cannabis for a number of different purposes, and people who use it medicinally are not necessarily seeking or experiencing the same high you might if you’re using it recreationally. Some people might even seek out strains with a high CBD content and a lower THC content, to gain medicinal benefits without as much psychoactive activity.

What Else You Should Know About Weed

Even though it’s great news that the United States (or at least parts of it) seems to have gotten over its reefer madness phase, that doesn’t mean that it should be used carelessly. Cannabis is a powerful drug, especially these days. You should never drive while under the influence and you should always be sure to store it safely and securely out of reach of curious children and pets.

Hookah vs Marijuana: A Battle Where Everyone Wins

If you find yourself torn between hookah vs weed, don’t fret! These two very different practices both have their merits, and there’s no reason to choose one over the other. While both hookah and marijuana can be social activities and involve smoking a plant grown in the ground, that’s about where their similarities end. So go forth and enjoy these rising smoking trends!

Did you love this article about the difference between hookah and cannabis? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our awesome blog for more content about legal highs!