The History of the Headshop - 420 Science

The History of the Headshop

Head Shops have been around since the '60s in the U.S, but their first forms were much different than the modern online headshop that is 420 Science. Original headshops specialized in just a few niche offerings that most potheads today would scoff at. So, where were the first headshops, and what were they like?

What is a headshop?
A headshop is an establishment that sells cannabis lifestyle accessories but not cannabis itself. The headshop gets its name from the phrase, "Get your head right." Its a shop for your head, and that was very evident in the early headshops.

Early headshops only had a small selection of pipes. Typically they would only have handpipes, papers, and maybe just a few bongs. They also sold many items associated with cannabis cultures like independent zines, psychedelic records, and underground books. But as the culture evolved, so did the headshop and what it offered.

How do you spell it?
How to correctly spell the phrase "Head Shop" has been a topic of some debate over the years. In the early days, when the word was only spoken from pothead to pothead, it was combined into a single word, headshop.

In the decades since the word was first mentioned, people communicating via text has increased. The name which was previously only spoken was converted into two separate words Head and Shop, by people typing the term for the first time. Today, the concept is typically split into two words by people seeking out a head-shop, but for veterans on the industry, we still combine it into a single word.
Early headshop
Where were the first headshops?
The oldest headshop that is still located in the same location it started is said to be Captain Ed's in Los Angeles. It was established in 1967 and is still going strong, although with new owners.

But fairly quickly, other shops on the east and west costs started to spring up in large cities, and they begin to speckle the entire United States anywhere people were trying to "get their head straight."

What is getting your head straight?
The early headshop wasn't a smoke oriented shop at first. Old alternative shops focused on underground magazines, music and comedy records, and far-out art in the form of cheap posters. These products were sought after by youth questioning authority and seeking answers beyond what their upbringing had taught them. Once the hippy movement got underway, these same shops started selling items for smoking weed because they noticed the same customers that wanted scented candles and psychedelic artwork wanted to buy pipes.

A store dedicated to alternative states of mind.
When shops first started selling pipes, bongs, and hookahs, they were considered illegal paraphernalia and had to be kept secret. A customer would have to go into a back room covered with a beaded curtain to take a look at the pipes. Even when shops began to have more smoking products for sale, they were forced into saying that all their pipes were for tobacco.

The owners of headshops found alternative lifestyles and independent thought important enough that they decided to risk the livelihood of their businesses. During the Nixon drug war, shops were faced with the risk of being raided and their inventory confiscated.

What is a modern headshop?
The secret is out in modern headshops. Now that the stigma of enjoying cannabis has mostly been removed, businesses can be more transparent. With the inclusion of dispensaries and legalization in many states, local headshops have been able to create inviting and artistic spaces that can freely show off the appeal and enjoyment of the cannabis community.

Modern commerce has provided a path for the headshop to go online and make what would be a small local business available to customers nationwide. The inclusion of social media has allowed the concept of a headshop to be more than just a company and participate in the community.

420 Science Staff

How is 420 Science different?
We want to be a trusted source for all your cannabis-related needs. We set out to not only provide our customers with the most excellent products for storing and consuming weed, but we also want to be leaders in providing you with useful and fun cannabis lifestyle content.

We're also committed to giving you the most useful information about anything cannabis-related and how to find the right products for you. We're proud to be deeply invested in the cannabis community and want to help you make the best out of your sessions.

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