Table of Contents
With the increasing legalization of cannabis across the United States, more and more people are looking to get into cannabis culture. This newfound interest has caused head shops to spike in popularity; brick-and-mortar shops and online stores alike.
Although head shops are growing in popularity, many people are unaware of what they have to offer. Fortunately for pot-lovers, there's something for everyone at a head shop—no matter how you like to smoke.
What is a Head Shop?
A head shop is a store that sells products related to cannabis culture and consumption. They do not actually sell cannabis but rather accessories and paraphernalia—think nectar collectors, bongs, dab rigs, reclaim catchers, and herb grinders and more.
Head shops are a great place to get specialty products in a wide range of colors and styles. While other stores may sell the same type of cannabis-related products, head shops are more likely to carry a larger selection. This means you have a better chance of finding the perfect item for your unique style at a head shop rather than a smoke shop or other cannabis-centric stores.
In addition to selling products that relate to the consumption of cannabis, head shops may also sell things like home decor, clothing, or even music—anything affiliated with cannabis or its various subcultures.
Why is it Called Head Shop?
The origins of the term "head shop" are somewhat unclear today, likely due to the previous necessity of keeping a low profile when dealing with cannabis. While the definite history of the name is unknown, there are several plausible theories as to how the moniker was born.
The established popularity of head shops in the 1960s leads some to attribute the name to the iconic rock band the Grateful Dead, whose fans are known collectively as "deadheads." Others suggest the name is an acronym for "He Eats Acid Daily."
It's possible that the name was born even earlier, potentially as early as the 1910s. During this time, it became common to attach the word "head" to anyone who was perceived to have an addiction of some sort; "pothead" and "acid head," for example. Long-term use of this slang leads some to believe it was the inspiration behind the naming of head shops.
Head Shop History
Head shops rose in prominence during the counterculture movement of the 1960s. They often grew organically out of poster or candle stores and became safe havens for members of many underground or anti-war movements. They also served as hubs where underground newspapers or comics were distributed.
Head shops were most popular in cities with large numbers of college students, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. It is generally thought that the first known head shop in the United States was located on San Francisco's Haight Street. The popularity of these head shops waned as the generation grew, and the sale of drug paraphernalia was largely outlawed in the 1970s. Another popular shop we have discussed the wild side smoke shop gained some popularity in recent years.
What Makes a Head Shop Different?
As head shops continue to rise in popularity, they are frequently confused with smoke shops and dispensaries. However, head shops differ from these other stores in terms of the products that they sell.
A smoke shop is a store that generally sells various forms of tobacco and corresponding products such as pipes, lighters, and ashtrays. Dispensaries are essentially storefronts that sell cannabis to the public for either medical or recreational use. Both of these types of stores sell products to be used for consumption, which is how they differ from head shops.
Head shops exclusively sell paraphernalia related to cannabis culture. While you may be able to find some paraphernalia in smoke shops or dispensaries, head shops provide a wider and more unique product selection. This makes head shops perfect for those who want to enhance their smoking experience with specialty accessories.
Are Head Shops or Online Head Shops Legal?
Although each state has its own restrictions to be followed, head shops are legal in the United States. Since they do not sell actual cannabis or products containing THC, head shops never offer any illegal substances. Depending on the area, head shop owners may openly discourage the implication that their products may be used for substance consumption of any kind.
Without the sale of any substances, paraphernalia sold at head shops is legal virtually anywhere. Plus, the increasing legalization of cannabis use across the country means that head shops are facing less criticism and challenges to their legality.
The Benefits of Online Head Shops
In the age of online shopping, it's no surprise that brick-and-mortar head shops are struggling to compete against online stores. However, online head shops offer several benefits that give them the edge over retail storefronts.
One of the biggest benefits of shopping from online head shops is the convenience of having products shipped directly to your door. While head shops are growing in popularity, storefronts are not always easy to find, especially in rural areas. Online head shops offers a variety of products that might not be even seen in a brick-and-mortar head shop allowing anyone to shop for cannabis-related products easily even in their pajamas.
While the popularity of head shops has shifted wildly over the years, it appears as though they are here to stay. Best online head shops especially have made their products accessible to smokers all over the country. As cannabis is legalized in a growing number of states, pot-lovers will be turning to head shops once again to find unique products and celebrate cannabis culture.
*This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. All products are intended for legal usage. Before consuming cannabis in any form, please consult with a licensed health care provider, smoke at your own risk.