You don’t need a time machine to find yourself in a far-out “head shop.” The 1960s may be a decade of the past, but these psychedelic gift shops supplying hippies of past and present with drug related paraphernalia still exist. However, the term head shop has gotten a bit muddled through the generations.
Therefore, since these counter-cultural accessory havens can still be found today on shopping corners throughout the United States, we at Euphoria in Bellmore, NY decided to enlighten today’s heads on common head shop misconceptions.
1. Named after “pot heads”
Many will say the term “head shop” is based off the stereotypical, social label of the “pot head.” While this isn’t flat-out false, it isn’t the whole truth either. See, there’s more to the word “head” than we commonly associate and there are drugs our hippie ancestors got jiggy with other than just pot.
Research suggests the term found its roots in old slang, where the word “head” was used as a synonym for addict. This suggests head shops were titled such because they were a place where customers could go to help feed their drug addictions. However, since “feeding an addiction” is such a Doctor Phil thing to say, and goes against our free spirit, a groovier spin on it is that “feeding your head” is more than satisfying an addiction; it’s opening your mind!
Head is also interchangeable with “mind,” and you will find that much credit to the coined term “head shop” is given to the song “White Rabbit,” by Jefferson Airplane. The famous line, “feed your head” is repeated at the song’s closing, extolling listeners to expand their minds, and see beyond what is plainly in front of them. Essentially, head shops are called such because they provide tools to aid customers in feeding their heads.
As far as other drugs go, LSD also found its way into the 1960s in a major way. Since both pot heads and acid heads became a distinct aspect of American hippie counterculture, head shops therefore also served as something of an historical movement, with many more components than simply catering to addictions.
Other sources suggest that the head shop term is meant to be mysterious, like a code that needed to be cracked in the 60s, rather than blatantly asking for the nearest shop selling bongs.
2. He Eats Acid Daily
There is also the popular myth that “head” is an acronym for “he eats acid daily.” It appears the idea gets a great deal of its weight from the Thelin brothers, who’s famous Psychedelic Shop is noted as being the first American head shop. Inspired by their first encounter with LSD, the brothers created their popular head shop. Their business went on not only to be a store that could provide customers with the materials necessary for a “good, enlightened, and safe trip,” but a massive 60’s political symbol for social change, as well. As the founders of such a prominent establishment in the history of the head shop, their ideology that people could benefit from acid is one that has transcended the appeal and aided the popular myth. However, research suggests that the acronym is more of a happy coincidence than fact surrounding the coining of the term.
3. Grateful Dead Association
While we are huge fans of the Grateful Dead, it is not a proven fact that the term head shop was named after the “Dead Head” label. Though many like to associate the two, there isn’t any sound proof that the Dead sparked the coining of the elusive head shop name.
4. The Legality
There seems to also be some confusion around the legality of today’s head shops. Head shops are perfectly legal. However, they are only legal as long as the items they are selling are for legal substances. In other words, head shops aren’t technically selling drug paraphernalia, they are selling water pipes, glass tobacco novelty pipes and little, plastic jewelry bags. This is why head shops appear to have strict rules banning references to words such as “bong” by employees and customers. Items sold in head shops only become “drug paraphernalia” if after people leave the store they employ their purchases in an illegal manner.
Head shops do not sell drugs. However, since the legality of cannabis still varies within the United States, cannabis dispensaries doubling as head shops still face murky legal regulations, according to different state laws.
5. Expect to find only drug paraphernalia and more drug paraphernalia
With the legality aside, one of the most common misconceptions is that all you will find in a head shop is drug paraphernalia. Ynkets, jewelry, candles, incense, metaphysical items, and more, all at the lowest prices around! We have goodies that will appeal to every audience, not just smokers. Check out our Rabbit Hole for a peek at some of our awesome products. We also provide an excellent selection of vaping accessories and e-liquids.
A head shop is all about the vibe. It’s about keeping the symbolism behind the hippie culture alive for both nostalgic reasons and longevity. In many instances, a customer does not just simply buy a water pipe, but a piece of the past.
Bye-Bye Head Shop Myths
We hope this clears up some of the questions you may have had about head shops. Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments. And feel free to stop by our Long Island head shop, conveniently located in Bellmore, NY. Euphoria Psychedelic Gift Shop is a local, family-owned and operated head shop, serving up friendly assistance and quality products, to help you feed your head!