Last updated: May 23, 2022
What do feathers, stones, braided cords, and small trinkets, such as glow in the dark smiley faces, dice, or virtually any small decorative object have in common? Give up? They can be used to make a roach clip.
In today’s world, most people are familiar with the term “roach clip.” As a matter of fact, an image may have sprung to mind for many of you when you read the words. If you aren’t included in that group and, in fact, have no idea what the words refer to, we’ll explain.
A “roach” is the term used to describe the end of a marijuana cigarette, otherwise known as a joint.
History is a little hazy
A roach clip is a form of drug paraphernalia used for gripping a marijuana cigarette. They’re often constructed using an alligator clip. Its main function is to keep the person holding it from burning their fingers. Roach clips also make it easier to pass the reefer to a friend when sharing.
They’ve been around as long as people have been smoking marijuana. That makes sense, of course, because as the joint is consumed, it gets shorter… and shorter. Rather than putting it out though, finding something to hold it with other than your fingers naturally made sense.
In fact, if you play the “which came first” game between the words “roach” and “clip,” the winner is the person who says “clip.”
Some say that using the word “roach” to describe the part of the cigarette left after smoking came into being like this. Years ago, people would tear a paper match from the book and split the end into a “v” shape. They placed the joint in the center of the “v” then pinched the end back together to hold it in place.
When finished, the remaining portion was usually stashed behind the rest of the matches in the book. From time to time, someone would get caught off guard when discovering—or rediscovering, marijuana smokers are known to be a bit forgetful from time to time—the small, smashed end tucked behind the matches.
It was sometimes mistaken for a smashed roach—eek! As women were drawn into the weed culture, the match evolved into using a bent bobby pin as a holder. Office paper clips worked in a pinch but didn’t maintain their grip as well.
Although one isn’t apt to discover roaches in their hair—and hopefully not in their desk drawer at work—the name stuck and is still used today.
A hot commodity
Cannabis is widely used by both Baby Boomers and Millenials creating a unique bonding agent between the two. However, Millenials enjoy using the newer cannabis technology. It includes products such as vape pens, dabs, or blunts. The boomers, however, are apt to continue their “old school” method of smoking to the end of the joint—the roach clip.
It equates to using anything that allows them to get a good grip. As mentioned above, alligator clips have always been a popular choice and the decorative aspect is a perk. Hemostats are popular too. They’re larger and easier to keep track of—pot smokers are known to be a little scatterbrained, as a rule. But, hey, tweezers work just fine too—especially if you’ve rigged them with a slidable band so you don’t have to continually squeeze them to keep the joint in place.
As you can imagine, roach clips come in a wide variety of designs.
At one time, they could only be purchased at head shops or perhaps locally from someone whose entrepreneurial call included making the decorative clips. Even if the product was marketed as jewelry or hair clips, a trendy clip is a hot commodity! Sales on the item could skyrocket.
People create necklaces, hair clips, and bracelets to offer “stoners” a discreet option. They’re attractive and readily available if an opportunity to “burn one” arises. However, to the general public, it appears that you’re rocking your look with some radical accessories.
There’s no doubt that the legalization of marijuana coupled with online shopping is causing the paraphernalia market to boom.
Legal marijuana vs the employer
Even though it’s legal to use some form of marijuana for medicinal purposes in forty-eight states and recreationally as well, in eighteen of them, employers can still drug test for marijuana. Some employers—in the hotel industry, for instance—are quietly dropping it from their employee drug tests though. They say they’re having trouble staffing the third shift. No one applying for the job can pass the test because they get busted for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the element in marijuana that gets people high. Unlike other drugs that remain in the system from a matter of hours to a few days, someone who occasionally smokes marijuana can test positive for the drug weeks later. Chronic smokers may test positive for up to three months or longer.
Marijuana advocates claim that continued testing for the drug infringes on an employee’s right to privacy. They feel it’s not fair for someone to use marijuana legally in the privacy of their home yet still risk failing a drug test and losing their job. However, as long as marijuana is classified as an illegal drug at the federal level, employers have every right to keep it on the test.
Know the signs
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. It’s important to recognize the signs of use because someone impaired by the drug may be less attentive to what’s going on around them. That increases the risk of them causing or being involved in an accident.
Common symptoms include:
- Sensations of heightened awareness
- Elevated heart rate
- Increased appetite
- Mood changes
- Decreased coordination
- Decreased concentration
- Loss of energy
- Difficulty solving problems
- Memory issues
- Trouble sleeping
Studies have shown possible links to long term use and the following:
- Lung damage
- Heart problems
- Weaker immune system
- Learning problems
There may be long-term mental complications too.
- Suicidal thoughts
What good is a roach clip?
You be the judge of that.
Roach clips enable someone to smoke a marijuana cigarette—or cigar in the case of a blunt—until it is nearly nonexistent if they wish. If they’re taking a break at work and whip out the clips, they may have a pretty good buzz kicking in by the time they get back to their spot.
People tend to think of marijuana as a “harmless” drug—until facing the reality that it isn’t.
Employers who continue to test for marijuana are doing it because they want to provide the safest environment possible for their employees. After all, their workers are their most valuable asset. Drug testing, in general, acts as a great deterrent for people not to use drugs on the job.
Even though THC is detected in the system long past the point of impairment, detection can point to a habitual pot smoker. That’s information that some employers want to know.
We don’t blame them.