What is a Headshop? | Headshops and Smokeshops Explained


A headshop is a store that sells tobacco (and non-tobacco) smoking accessories among other things. Are headshops legal? Why is a headshop called a headshop? What is the difference between a headshop and a smokeshop? Here we break down the most commonly asked questions about headshops and smokeshops.

The History of Headshops

In the United States, headshops first started appearing in the 60’s in trendy urban settings like San Francisco and New York City. Here, headshops served as a center for counterculture, attracting visitors looking to get some products “for the head”.

Common references to this slang include Jefferson Airplane’s popular song “White Rabbit” which tells listeners to “feed your head”. A nod at the use of marijuana to expand one’s mind.

What is sold at a smoke shop?

How do headshops openly sell items that police classify as drug paraphernalia? Technically, a pipe or bong becomes paraphernalia when the cops arrest you when using it to consume illegal substances.  

In states where recreational marijuana use is illegal, driving around with a bong can give police the right to search your vehicle. So, it’s best to keep your weed and smoking accessories separate at all times.

1. Rolling papers

Smokeshops sell a variety of rolling paper brands. Some have direct affiliations with manufactures to ensure you get a consistent supply of original papers. In addition, you can also get filter tips under one roof.

2. Glass pipes

Glass pipes enable you to enjoy weed when you don’t feel like rolling up. They also serve different functions. For instance, a one hitter pipe comes in handy when you want a quick puff during lunch breaks. 

3. Grinders

Looking at grinders displayed on shelves is similar to a kid walking into a toy store. You’ll come across grinders that can pack half an ounce. Headshops also sell electric grinders and you can actually ask the seller unlimited questions compared to doing it online. 

4. Vaporizers

There two types of vaporizers or vapes. A dry herb vape is used to smoke crushed material such as tobacco leaves. The most common vapes are e-Cigs that run on liquid nicotine. Headshops also sell related accessories such as batteries, coils, tanks, and tips.

5. Rolling trays

A rolling tray is an essential item when you’re a daily smoker. It helps keep your living spaces tidy compared to littering your coffee table with weed crumbs. It also doubles up as a storage accessory for your rolling papers and filter tips.

6. Blunt wraps

Purchasing blunt wraps from a headshop comes with a few benefits. It’s easier to get all the brands you want stacked in one shop. Also, there’s the benefit of store discounts which increases your value for money.

If you’re on the road to quitting tobacco blunt wraps, you’ll find a variety of alternative nicotine free brands. 

7. Ash trays

Does your couch have burn holes? If yes, then it’s time you bought an ashtray.  Smokeshops are the best place to shop for ashtrays because you get to inspect items thoroughly. You can also order for special engravings to personalize your ashtray collection. 

 8. Bongs

Buying a bong is like purchasing a car. It’s always best to have an expert walk you through it to get the best product for your needs. Purchasing a bong in a physical headshop gives you the opportunity to ask important questions and receive maintenance tips. 

9. Dab rigs

Concentrates enhance the best parts of cannabis when it comes to THC and flavors. Smokeshops sell a variety of dab rigs based on brands. Customers can also purchase accessories like heating nails, dabbing tools, and glass parts. 

What is the difference between headshops and smokeshops?

While headshops and smokeshops originally meant different things, the phrases are now largely interchangeable. Historically, a smokeshop sold products intended for use with tobacco (things like pipes) while a headshop sold products related to marijuana.

As marijuana became more widely accepted, the two types of stores began to merge and now headshop and smokeshop can refer to the same thing. This is especially true in the U.S.

How to find the best headshop 

These tips will equip you with confidence when going to a smokeshop to buy accessories.  

1. Get referrals from your friends

When you’ve relocated to a new city, you’ll need someone to help you settle. Your friends can introduce you to their smokeshops. Doing this enables you to get accessories more conveniently than going online.

2. Use weed apps to reach out

Cannabis social networks like Duby and Massroots are free to use and available on all mobile platforms. You can connect with cannabis lovers near you by activating GPS. You’ll then get credible information on the best smokeshops locally.

3. Visit headshops appearing on Google Maps

When you visit Google and type ‘headshop near me’, a list of results will appear under the maps section. You can note down the physical addresses then spend an afternoon visiting each one in your search results. 

Touring smokeshops in your locality can help you compare the level of customer service. You’ll also spot where to get the best products in town at fair prices. 

4. Get help at the weed dispensary

In the weed industry, almost everybody knows each other. When you can’t find a good headshop, just visit the nearest marijuana dispensary. Ask the budtenders to recommend a good spot and they’ll be happy to help. 

How to start an online headshop 

1. Find out what laws you need to comply with

In some states, it’s illegal to purchase smoking accessories when you’re below 21 years of age. You might also need a license to perform customer deliveries in compliance with local drug enforcement policies. 

2. Create a cool business name

A cool business name makes your shop stand out favorably. Use Google Adsense to spot some relevant keywords that you can incorporate into your brand. Remember to use a free online business name generator to come up with catchy slogans. 

3. Get an inventory management software

Nobody likes driving or walking to a store only to find empty shelves. How can you prevent this in your business? By keeping track of your shelves everyday using inventory management software. 

An inventory management software alerts you when your stock drops to a defined critical level. This ensures that you restock on time and maintain a consistent supply of smoking accessories. 

Now you know all about headshops

Headshops are the best place to purchase original smoking accessories because they have direct affiliations with manufacturers. In addition, you can purchase all your smoking accessories under one roof. 

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