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Why Is It Called A Headshop?

Why Is It Called A Headshop? + More Questions Answered!

Headshops have always been fun places to visit. They have interesting glassware, colorful tapestries, and smell like incense.

Any fan of smokable glassware has enjoyed popping into a headshop just to look around.

But have you ever wondered how headshops got that name? Of course you have, smokers tend to have a natural curiosity.

Headshops have their own interesting history. Let's take a look at how they got the name.

What Is A Headshop?

Headshops are a place to get everything you need to smoke grass. However, despite having all the things you need to smoke it, they do not sell any herb.

You can purchase smokable flowers at a dispensary if they are legal in your area.

Your standard brick-and-mortar headshop has all the paraphernalia a smoker may need, such as:

Now you might be able to find some of these at a local gas station, but a  headshop will almost always have better quality goods and more variety.

In addition, headshops tend to sell fun items that stoners like. These can include tapestries or blacklights to enhance your smoking session.

It’s also not uncommon for headshops to sell incense, bong cleaners, and other odds and ends you might need.

These days there are also many online headshops. Shipping these items used to be legally questionable. These days it’s easy to get smoking items delivered to your door.

Why Is It Called A Headshop?

A Headshop

Because you couldn't just call it a bong shop! Stoners over 30 may even recount the days where you couldn't even say the word "bong" in a headshop. You used to have to call them "water pipes."

The term headshop comes from some groovy 1960's slang. The headshop was a place to "get your head straight". If something is “heady,” it fits a certain hippie aesthetic.

Back then, headshops typically only had a small selection of pipes and papers. Good ones would also carry a small selection of bongs. Many also carried other countercultural items such as local zines and psychedelic records.

These days, the inventory of headshops has massively expanded. Even if there is no headshop in your city, you can access them online.

Is It Spelled Headshop or Head Shop?

It's debatable. Before the days of texting, it was almost always spoken as one word. So if someone was spelling it out to put in a phonebook, it would be one word.

That said, texting has massively increased our written communication. So from the cell phone era onwards, "head shop" with a space also became commonplace.

Both are correct, but "headshop" is the original term.

What Is Another Name For A Headshop?


You might be tempted to call it a “smoke shop,” but they are not the same! We’ll get to that in a minute.

Other names for a headshop might include “pipe shop,” “bong store,” or “paraphernalia store.”

A “grow store” is not a head shop. A grow store sells items like lights for indoor plant growing. Grow shops typically do not carry pipes or bongs.

Headshop vs Smoke Shop

A headshop is a shop that sells paraphernalia for smoking grass. It will sell glass pipes and bongs. A smoke shop sells tobacco and tobacco smoking products.

In a smoke shop, you can find things like wooden pipes, cigars, and pipe tobacco. They will not have any glass pipes or bongs. Sure, you can smoke grass out of a wooden pipe, but glass is much easier to clean.

Are Headshops Legal?

The short answer is yes, headshops are legal. It is perfectly legal to sell hand pipes and other items for smoking.

In many places it is illegal to buy and sell tree, and it's illegal to sell paraphernalia for smoking it. Headshops get around this legal gray area by insisting they have no control over what their customers do with the items.

If smokable flowers are not legal in your state, there may be signs posted saying the bongs and pipes are “not for use with illicit substances.”

Even though we’ve pointed out the difference between a headshop and a smoke shop, you may see signs in a headshop insisting the pipes are “for tobacco use only.”

In the pre-legalization days, you could get thrown out of a headshop just for saying the word “bong”. Instead, you had to call it a “water pipe”. In those days, if you didn’t know what to say, you could just point.

How Did Headshops Become So Popular?

Headshops became popular

Headshops became very popular in the 1960’s because it was the only place where you could get counter cultural items.

Headshops had zines and posters and psychedelic records, so they became natural hangouts for hippies.

Even today, headshops remain popular places. Some big headshops like Illuzion Glass Galleries in Denver display art glass pieces.

Headshops are also generally the only place where you can get useful things like lighter leashes and bong cleaner. They also carry items such as cool posters and clothing. Some of our favorite Grateful Dead tees have come from headshops!

Though today if you want to buy a bong, you can purchase them online. Today’s headshops have moved to the internet, and they’re more popular than ever.

Headshops are wonderful things. The world would be a much better place if we all learned how to just get a-bong.

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