The do's and don'ts of smoking concentrates using hookah charcoal

Published Jun 13, 2021 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Trexdigital

If you are an old school stoner, then you’ve probably used or at least witnessed hot knives in action, and this is a very similar idea. For those who haven't, it is comparable to what happens when you drop a dab of cannabis concentrate onto the nail of a dab rig, with the only real difference being that there is no fancy device required to get the job done.

Using hookah charcoal to smoke cannabis concentrates isn’t a very common practice in this day and age, though it has been done for a number of years, as the majority of cannabis consumers have access to more finely tuned and aesthetically pleasing devices to perform the same task, but if for some reason or another you don’t, be it that it was left at home, or you just haven't found one that seems to be worth the investment, hookah charcoal will work in a pinch.

What cannabis concentrates will this work with?

A regular old hookah isn’t going to accommodate cannabis concentrates very well, as they stick to everything, and the bowls are rarely heated enough to effectively cause combustion. Luckily, with just a single piece of hookah charcoal, you can smoke any kind of cannabis concentrate, from shatter or BHO to wax or budder. These concentrates are all compatible with this method.


If you’re still looking at a hunk of hookah charcoal and wondering how in the world this is supposed to work, don’t worry because we’re going to help by showing you the way. Though we did say that you could do it with just a bit of hookah charcoal, there are still a few things that you’ll need to have on hand. Luckily, all of them are easy to find or make from things that you have lying around the house or sitting in your pocket already.

  • Something to inhale the smoke through (this is not necessary, but without it, you’ll waste a lot)

  • Dab tool or something similar to handle and place the cannabis concentrate

  • Cannabis concentrate

  • Metal rolling tray or another heat resistant surface that can handle extreme temperatures

  • Lighter or torch

To start, you’ll need something to inhale through

When selecting the best tool for this job, there are a few things that you'll want to keep in mind. Like, will it melt if it gets too hot? Will it keep your face far enough away from the coal that you won’t risk getting burned? Basically, you will need something that is in a tube shape that won’t release toxic elements when it’s placed close to a bit of heat. Metal pen casings and paper towel rolls are two of the most popular DIY options.

Next, we need to make sure that you aren’t inhaling any carcinogens

So, we’ve touched for a moment on the risk associated with heating up some materials, but the tray or other surfaces that will be used should be able to withstand incredible temperatures so that you can burn off any carcinogens on the hookah charcoal, and leave it to smolder long enough to use. To do this, simply place the hookah charcoal in the middle of the plate, and then light it with a lighter or torch. This will start a sparking effect, and the burn off is not complete until those hot little pieces stop flying.

Final actions

  1. Now your hookah coal is hot and ready to rumble, which means that it’s time to get out some cannabis concentrates, and a tool that will allow you to drip small amounts of the liquid on top of the burning hot chunk. At the same time, you’ll need to ready whatever you choose as a device for inhaling, because the moment that the cannabis concentrate hits the hookah charcoal, it will essentially vaporize.

  2. Put the tube to your lips and drop a small amount of the cannabis concentrate onto the coal.

  3. Inhale deeply, while ensuring that the end of the tube is directly over the top of where the concentrate is burning up.
    That’s it! It’s really that easy. However, chances are pretty good that the hookah coal will continue to burn for longer than you need, and at that point, it’s safest to extinguish the heat with a bucket of water.


Using a hookah charcoal piece is not recommended by the experts because there is always a potential risk. If the outer coating is not burned sufficiently, or the heat gets so hot that it reacts poorly to whatever it’s placed on, it could be dangerous, which is why it is so important to know exactly what you’re doing when you experiment with it for the first time. With the help of the steps that are listed above, you should be able to successfully navigate the process while taking the least risk possible and having a blast while doing so.

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