Head shops are specialty retail stores that have traditionally catered to the counter-culture. They first started springing up back in the 60s and catered to the popular hippie movement. Within that movement, head shops sold all different kinds of glass pipes, bongs, and other paraphernalia related to cannabis. This could be magazines, posters, and more.
Not only could you find those kinds of items in a head shop, but you could also find information or services in regard to tattoos, music from bands associated with counter culture, and even art inspired by psychedelic drugs. Through most of their history, head shops have frequently existed in a gray space of legality, as many products (like bongs), were thought to be exclusively used for cannabis.
However, cultures tend to shift, and head shops have begun to find themselves in a different place. For starters, the legal status of hemp and cannabis has changed. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp has been effectively made legal nationwide, giving a lot of legal breathing room to head shops to sell products that can be used to smoke hemp or its most prominent cannabinoid, CBD.
Consumers also have shifted their preference on where to shop as well. Though brick and mortar head shops exist, the sheer volume and selection that an online head shop (like nyvapeshop.com) is hard to beat. Online head shops also look to educate consumers before purchases are made by offering extensive comparisons and reviews of products, much like what you may have already seen on this site.
Interested in learning more about head shops? Read below!
These were the original head shops, just local brick and mortar stores that prided themselves in a fight against the man. Nowadays, head shops are going to feel like a specialty retail store, almost like a stand-alone Spencer’s Gifts with more to offer. You can expect glass pipes, bongs, vaping accessories, t-shirts and cool posters with various themes, and occasionally even sex toys.
It is common to find local head shops that also cater to the hand-rolling crowd, so various kinds of rolling papers and accessories will not be uncommon either. However, just like other brick and mortar stores, selection may be limited, or the store may dedicate itself to a particular niche. In exchange, your local head shop is an easy way to find like-minded people and to receive personalized assistance or education about the various kinds of products offered.
Of course, with a new age in shopping, so too is there a new age in head shops. It is quite easy to find online head shops that sell a huge variety of items. You may lose the community aspect of a local head shop, but you will certainly find a much broader selection of items from which to choose and likely at better prices. Because of their large inventory, online head shops tend to frequently offer sales and promotions that would rarely be seen in a local store.
Online head shops also serve as a repository for information for potential consumers, frequently much more so than what can be found at a local head shop. For example, at nyvapeshop.com, we offer product reviews, product how-to articles, definitions of common smoking and vaping terms, and more. It is far easier to learn about vaping or smoking from an online headshop than it is at a local headshop.
The convenience of online head shops is hard to beat as well. For example, here at nyvapeshop.com we offer free U.S. shipping, satisfaction guarantee, great customer service and educational articles to make sure you get exactly what you want the first time. Generally, local head shops are unable to offer the swath of informative content.
As we have touched on, head shops tend to specialize in paraphernalia used for smoking tobacco or dry herbs. This includes all kinds of pipes (like bongs, chillums, spoons, etc), vape pens and pre-filled vape cartridges, and a selection of rolling papers.
However, much like with the original head shops, you can still find a variety of other items. Black-light home decor is a common product, as is psychedelic art, t-shirts, and anything else that could be described as counter-culture or hippie.
If you have a chance to visit a local head shop, you definitely should! However, as we have mentioned, if your local head shop cannot quite meet your needs, there are a ton of online head shops to peruse.
Vaping has taken the world by storm and has exploded in popularity in recent years. So much so that not only have head shops started dedicating large amounts of retail space to vape products, but a new kind of store has spun off from the traditional head shop. Known as vape shops, these retail locations specialize almost exclusively in vaping accessories and products. With the rise of CBD, many vape shops, like head shops, have also begun to carry CBD oils, CBD infused edibles, and raw hemp.
Vaping, as mainstream as it is, has done a great of job of driving traffic to head shops that they may not have otherwise had. Expect head shops with vaping products, and vape shops in general, to continue growing in popularity.
Local head shops likely will not have the variety of vape pens or accessories that a dedicated vape shop might, but online head shops (like nyvapeshop.com) usually do not have any problem carrying a vast array of different vaping solutions.
A smoke shop is a retail space that caters specifically to tobacco smoking and related products. It is easy to find pipe tobacco, cigars, specialty cigarettes, tobacco pipes, and more in a smoke shop. They generally carry brands that you do not see in normal retailers or gas stations, and there are generally experts present to help get exactly what you need. Some smoke shops double as a smoking lounge, where you can relax and smoke products you just purchased. Generally, this does not take place in head shops (with possible exceptions for vaping e-juice or CBD). Smoke shops are also more like boutique tobacco stores and do not cater to the hippie fashion or counter-culture feel like a head shop traditionally would.
And finally, most smoke shops are going to cater to specifically tobacco. You may see some e-cigarettes models available, but their emphasis is going to be on real, actual tobacco in the form of cigars, cigarettes, or for pipe smoking.
A hippie shop is going to cater more to hippie fashion and hippie accessories. You can expect lots of tie-dye clothing and apparel, psychedelic looking jewelry, and furnishings with an emphasis on peace, love, and understanding. Incense, candles, and energy crystals are going to be common products as well.
Unlike head shops, hippie shops generally won’t have many pipes, bongs, vaping accessories, tobacco, rolling papers, or anything else associated with smoking or vaping. However, like head shops, the fashion or counter culture (including clothing with marijuana designs) will likely be found.
Hippe shops are a great place for hippie fashion and home decor, but not a great place for smoking accessories.
Vape shops are like a subset of head shops, further dividing into a niche specialty. Vape shops generally cater to vape products, including vape pens, parts, and various oils for vaping. In addition, vape shops very commonly carry CBD products, including pre-filled cartridges, raw hemp, CBD tinctures, and CBD infused edibles.
Generally, a vape shop will not have the assortment of fashion, posters, or music that a head shop might specialize in. Though a vape shop might have more options for vaping than a head shop, they generally will not carry any kind of glass pipe, water pipe, or bongs. These are common products in a head shop, however.
If you are interested in everything a head shop offers, visit a head shop! Vape shops might be more satisfying if you know you are only interested in vaping products and accessories.
There are so many different qualifications for what the best head shop for you might be that it is impossible to single out one best head shop. Your best head shop might be your local head shop, where you appreciate the inviting culture and specific products they carry. It might be your favorite online retailer that always has something new for you to try, or maybe always has free shipping or frequent sales.
You will likely need to search around, both locally and online, to see which head shop does the best job does of making you feel comfortable, giving you the best experience overall, or simply having the best deals available for what you want.
Finding a local head shop is pretty easy. Just googling for a local head shop will lead you in the right direction. An online search like this also generally shows local smoke shops and vape shops as well. If you find that there are several head shops near you, go explore! Go visit and see what they have to offer both in terms of products as well as atmosphere and service.
You may find yourself in a position where there are no local head shops, or you simply do not like what the local head shops offer. Remember, online head shops are just a click away! Of course, this includes nyvapeshop.com, where we offer free U.S. shipping and a guarantee of quality on anything that is bought through our store. Our customer service can make sure you find exactly what you want, and maybe even a few things you did not even know you needed!