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What Is a Thai Stick? The Legendary Product in Cannabis Culture

Jordan McKenzie

Written by: Jordan McKenzie

Updated on December 14, 2023


Originating in Thailand, the Thai Stick found its way to the United States during the Vietnam War. Soldiers and others visiting Thailand brought these impressive cannabis cigars home with them, creating massive popularity for a couple of decades. What is a Thai Stick, though, and what makes it such a popular legend in cannabis culture?

The exact origin of these sticks is unknown, but they were first seen in the northeastern part of the country. They’re also commonly known as the “first” example of a canna-gar, or cannabis cigar. Read on to learn all about these unique cigars and what they have to offer.

What Is a Thai Stick?

A Thai Stick is a form of cannabis cigar that is hand-rolled by Thai farmers and artisans. It features a bamboo stick, around which they pack cannabis flower. Then, the stick is wrapped in cannabis leaves and bound together using hemp string. The result is a powerful, packed cigar that will deliver some of the best THC highs you can find.

These sticks were made using some of the most potent marijuana plants available in the 1970s, making them highly desired by those who want something top-quality. Some Thai Sticks are wrapped around hemp stalks and in some cases, silk line is used instead of hemp string.

How Does a Thai Stick Differ from Other Cannabis Products?

As mentioned, the Thai Stick was kind of the original cannagar for the U.S. market. It’s likely people were rolling their own cigars and blunts at this time, but the beauty and craftsmanship of the Thai Stick, combined with the powerful marijuana, made it a hot item that was in high demand for about two decades.

Unlike other cannabis products, a Thai Stick puts a core, or a stalk, in the middle. This is designed to make it easier to smoke and hold. There is no paper used in these sticks, either, making them completely plant-based for those who want an organic smoking experience.

The original Thai Sticks were made from landrace strains of cannabis that came from the fertile hills of Thailand. Today, people are making their own canna-gars with all types of marijuana flower that is sourced from all over the country. Today’s cigars are also sealed differently, rather than being wrapped in string or hemp.

How is a Thai Stick Made?

Making a Thai Stick is a simple process, but it does require delicate craftsmanship and attention to detail. The first thing to do is to gather all the supplies:

  • A hemp stalk or bamboo stick (or similar skewer)
  • Cannabis fan leaves
  • Cannabis flower (dried and cured)
  • String

Step 1: Prepare all your items

Prepare all your items. Find a clean space on a table or use a rolling tray. Collect your skewer and pick out the best buds from your stash. Once you have everything gathered, you’re ready to get started.

Step 2: Securing the String to the Skewer

The second step is to tie your string or hemp line to the skewer or stick that you’re using. Tie a small knot and then wrap the hemp around it a few times to secure it. This will become the end that is smoked once the stick is complete.

Step 3: Moistening Stick and Skewering Buds

You will want to moisten the stick with sugar water or hash oil, which makes it easier to smoke and helps hold the cannabis in place. Then, you will take your buds and skewer them onto your stick carefully. Make sure there’s even distribution and that you don’t leave a lot of gaps. Otherwise, it could have issues when you go to smoke it.

Step 4: Wrapping Cannabis with Hemp Line

Now that you have your cannabis on the stick, you’ll want to wrap it with the hemp line. This should be a relatively tight wrap that extends for the entire length of the cigar. Be careful not to wrap too tightly or risk breaking up the buds during this process.
Once you’re done, you can put your cannagar in the fried for 24-48 hours to cure and dry.

Step 5: Curing the Thai Stick

After the 48 hours have passed, you can remove the Thai Stick from the fridge and unravel the string. Be careful doing this, but you’ll notice that as you do, the buds are sticking to the stalk or skewer even once the line comes off.

Step 6: Wrapping with Cannabis Leaves

Take the cannabis leaves that you have acquired (or other leaves or wraps) and lay them out on the table. Put your stick on them, and then roll it up carefully to secure the entire thing. Once the leaves are wrapped, you will need to secure them. Grab your hemp string again and wrap the entire stick. You’ll want to set it aside for three to four days to cure and come together.

Experts suggest that you should do this twice, or perhaps even a third time, depending on how many layers you want. Once you’re done with the layering and curing, your Thai Stick will be ready to smoke.

How to Smoke a Thai Stick?

Smoking a Thai Stick is like smoking any other cannabis cigar, really. Once it has cured, you can take it out and grab your lighter. Put the tip without the hemp wrapped around it in your mouth. Then, light the other end, and enjoy!

Most people will tell you that Thai Sticks are so potent that they’re best enjoyed in groups or in small doses. Some people make these canna-gars last for three or four smoke sessions, while others prefer to do it up and go all-in on the first smoke.

If you overused the cannabis oil or water during the process of making your Thai Stick, you might have to let it dry out a little bit before you smoke it. Too much oil inside will make it hard to burn and could lead to all manner of issues.

The good news is that these cigars are preferred because they burn slower and allow you to get a good amount of hits. As opposed to modern cigar papers, wraps, and joints, these will last for much longer because of the way they’re constructed and the materials that are used.

Why Were Thai Sticks So Popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s?

Thai Sticks became popular in the 1970s and ‘80s because the soldiers were bringing them back from Vietnam during the war. Americans had never seen these cigars before, and as the country was embracing counterculture, the Thai Stick became a symbol of top-quality smoking for those who were able to get their hands on them.

Because of the limited availability of the original Thai cannabis sticks, they quickly fell out of popularity as the ‘80s turned into the ‘90s and the occupation in Vietnam ended. These canna-gars were popular among people from all walks of life because they offer:

  • Premium cannabis imported from high-quality growing regions
  • Handmade craftsmanship that created a high-quality smoke
  • Unique appeal compared to traditional canna-gars and other rolled smoke options

The extremely potent cannabis used in the original Thai Sticks was also one of the biggest selling points.

What Effects Can One Expect from a Thai Stick?

As with all types of THC, Thai Sticks deliver a potent high. The original used a high-potency strain from Thailand, but today, you can use any cannabis that you like. That will impact the exact effects that you get, such as whether it’s energizing or relaxing. However, when smoking a Thai Stick, it’s usually a quick high.

Thai Sticks were originally made with sativa strains, offering a “stimulating and expansive” high for people who smoke them. They set in quickly and the THC flows through the body to create an impressive body high. The effects also tend to last longer because you’re smoking such a high quantity and concentration.

What’s the Place of a Thai Stick in the Modern Cannabis Market?

In the modern cannabis market, the Thai Stick has become somewhat of a legend, a reference point, and a thing of the past. However, many cannabis connoisseurs have heard about these unique cigars and now want to try to make them on their own. Because of this, you’ll find plenty of tutorials and guides on how to make a modern-day Thai Stick.

You are not going to find Thai Sticks from Thailand floating around like they were in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Unless you specifically travel to the country and seek them out, what you’ll find on the market today is all inspired by the original Thai Stick.

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Jordan McKenzie
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