How to Smoke Weed: 4 Different Ways to Smoke Weed for Beginners
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It can always be a little embarrassing to not know how to do something, after all, you may be too shy to ask how to smoke weed. With cannabis use on the rise, you may want to take the plunge and try medical marijuana or join the throngs of people enjoying legalized recreational cannabis but not know where to start. It’s not rocket science but there is a slight learning curve.
There are multiple ways to smoke weed and this guide will give you a full rundown to help you negotiate your first smoking session: from how to smoke a joint, the difference between a blunt and joint, the different paraphernalia, terminology, and tips so you can have the best experience.
Why Use a Grinder When Smoking Weed?
When smoking cannabis, an herbal grinder is your best friend. The first step, regardless of the way you choose to smoke weed, is to finely grind up your cannabis flower. Grinding helps your cannabis burn evenly, better generate smoke, and allows for more circulation.
Grinding marijuana creates a larger surface area to create smoke and ensures it burns evenly. Cannabis requires heat to convert THC, CBD, and other key cannabinoids from acids your body can’t process into the cannabinoids you want for the high and your health.
This heating process is called decarboxylation and is vital for cannabis consumption. The value of medical marijuana is the cannabinoids and terpenes and even heat ensures you get the most decarbed THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in the smoke. If not you run the risk of more toxic chemicals and not enough THC.
You can smoke a bowl or roll a joint with unground cannabis but run the risk of stems, seeds, and overly burning your flower. Uneven burning can mean you end up with less decarbed cannabinoids because some of your weed will be burned and some unheated. This will essentially waste cannabis because you don’t want to consume too much overly burned cannabis.
General Tips When Learning How to Smoke Weed
- Start off slow. Cannabis interacts with an entire system of our body and can affect everyone differently. When smoking, you’ll know the full experience within 30 minutes.
- Pace yourself. With smoking you can stop and start at any time so familiarize yourself with how you feel before smoking too much too fast.
- Don’t freak out, THC absorbed from smoking is fairly fast-acting and metabolizes in the body in a few hours.
What is a Joint?
A joint is like a rolled cigarette only filled with cannabis flower rather than tobacco. You use a small piece of rolling paper and roll it with ground up marijuana. You’ll want to keep the paper slightly folded like a taco and keep a finger inside as you fill it.
Then you roll into a tube or cone. Joints can have a small filter to allow you to more easily inhale the smoke. The paper can sometimes become wet with your saliva so a filter ensures you maintain the proper airflow to inhale. Filterless joints with a wet tip can become somewhat impossible to smoke. Moist paper will prevent airflow.
Filters can be made with cardboard or thick paper folded accordion style. There are also pre-made filters and reusable glass mouth pieces that can be used for making joints.
Popular pre-made joints, or pre-rolls, are also available to spare you the hassle of having to roll your own joints. These can sometimes include other cannabis products like kief, resin, or concentrates.
How to Smoke a Joint
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Smoking a joint is fairly straightforward: you light it and smoke it. There are still subtle nuances to keep you from erupting into a coughing fit or damaging the joint. When new to smoking, it’s best to pace yourself. Be sure to inhale slowly and pace yourself.
When inhaling, you’ll want to inhale slowly and not too deeply at first as you’re likely to cough. Cannabis is green plant matter and has a fair amount of moisture so it is likely to create more smoke than burn. If you’ve ever lit a fire before you know brown plant matter burns and green plant matter creates smoke.
When inhaling, you’ll want to hold in the smoke for a second or two to allow the cannabinoids to absorb in your lungs. Smoking cigars or cigarettes is different in that you’ll gently inhale and exhale.
With smoking cannabis you will want to take a beat or two after inhaling to allow for THC absorption. Cannabis culture often dictates, “puff, puff, pass” so when sharing a joint or blunt with friends or new acquaintances you customarily take two hits then pass it on.
How to Light a Joint
When lighting a joint you will want to be sure to have it in your mouth and inhale a small bit as you light it. Joints tend to be rolled off at the end to facilitate lighting it. By inhaling you give some oxygen to the lit end to help bring the burning embers to the cannabis and ensure it lights up.
You can also light the tip of the joint and as it’s burning inhale to draw the burning end into the cannabis. Be careful as cannabis will smoke and inhaling too much too fast can cause coughing.
How to Put Out a Joint
Many pre-rolled joints available at your local dispensary come with a convenient canister. To extinguish the joint you can simply put it back in the glass or plastic container it came in. When closed, it eliminates the available oxygen and the joint will simply snuff out on its own.
These tubes are super effective as the lack of oxygen will extinguish the joint while conserving more of the cannabis. By extinguishing it like a cigarette you run the risk of losing the whole lit end and any of the cannabis that can sometimes remain attached.
One strategy to reduce your chances of losing cannabis is to pinch your joint in a piece of paper or extinguish it with a drop of water. Sometimes depending on how tightly they’re packed, joints will automatically extinguish when you stop inhaling.
What is a Blunt?
If a joint is like a cigarette, a blunt is the cannabis equivalent of a cigarillo or thin cigar. It tends to be larger and a little thicker than a joint and it also uses a different type of paper. Blunts use cigar or blunt wraps which are made from tobacco.
These tobacco-based wraps can often offer a smoother experience as tobacco burns more than cannabis, again green plant matter creates more smoke. This tobacco also means there is nicotine in the smoke and can also increase the carbon monoxide content and exposure to carcinogens.
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How to Smoke a Blunt
When smoking a blunt you may break up a small cigar or cigarillo, or simply use a blunt wrap. If using a cigar, you will have to cut it up and remove all of the tobacco from the center.
What Is A Spliff?
If you’re interested in creating a spliff you can mix some tobacco with your cannabis. Spliffs are joints that use tobacco and cannabis and traditional rolling papers but can also be made with blunt wraps.
Spliffs are common in Europe as the tobacco can temper some of the smoke created by cannabis. It can also be an enjoyable alternative for smokers. That being said, be mindful, whether you’re a smoker or not, there’s tobacco in the entire wrap of the blunt.
Also, the nicotine in the tobacco adds a different experience. Nicotine can give you a buzz or high so whether you’re smoking a spliff or a blunt be prepared for a slightly different experience that’s similar to smoking a cigarette.
How To Roll a Blunt
When rolling a blunt you’ll want to start with a cigarillo or a blunt wrap. You’ll want to use a blade to slice open the cigar or cigarillo lengthwise and remove the tobacco.
If using a blunt wrap, simply unroll the wrap with your fingers. The next step is to moisten the wrap paper by dipping your fingers in a bit of water or using saliva.
Fill the wrap with weed and pinch the wrap between your fingers, roll it into a tube shape and tuck it together and moisten it with your tongue to make it sticky and seal the wrap. Use a lighter or match to light one end and enjoy.
Difference Between a Blunt and Joint
The main differences between a joint and a blunt are the size and the paper. Blunts tend to be slightly larger and use blunt wraps which are made of tobacco leaves. Joints are made using super thin wraps made of hemp, rice, or really thin paper.
The tobacco content in blunts will alternate how you feel. Nicotine can make you feel buzzed and depending on how you interact or how much you smoke can make you feel a bit jittery. If you get nervous or paranoid when smoking weed, the addition of nicotine may exacerbate anxiety.
Blunt wraps can also come in different flavors and regular rolling papers are often flavorless and the tobacco content of blunts can potentially alternate the flavor profile.
Tips For Smoking Blunts, Joints, and Spliffs
- Be careful with flavored and chemically treated or fast-burning rolling papers. Some of the harmful chemicals and toxins from smoking are from the paper.
- Rolling papers made of cellulose can offer a healthier alternative as some have been found to have heavy metals.
- If you struggle with rolling joints try a cigarette roller or cigarette rolling machine as these can help you when manually making joints.
What is a Bowl?
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Smoking a bowl is shorthand for using a pipe in cannabis terminology. They are popularly a glass apparatus and can come in various shapes and sizes. It’s essentially a pipe with the “bowl” part to fill with cannabis a “stem” that leads to a mouthpiece.
Bowls feature a small air hole or “carb hole” on the side. This aids in decarboxylation, again, cannabis needs heat to convert the unusable acids to the cannabinoids. This carb hole helps you hold some of the smoke so it can decarboxylate before you inhale ensuring there’s more THC and cannabinoids up for grabs.
How to Smoke a Bowl
To smoke a bowl, you will want to start with ground up cannabis flower and loosely load it into the bowl. You don’t want to overpack the bowl as it will make it more challenging to inhale. Be sure to cover the small air hole on the side of the bowl while you light the cannabis flower.
While lighting, be sure to inhale slowly to help build up smoke in the pipe. When fully lit, take your finger off of the carb hole and inhale a little more deeply. Be prepared as there may be a rush of smoke.
Covering the carb hole doesn’t just increase the amount of THC and other cannabinoids it increases the amount of smoke that builds up in the stem. When you release it you get a rush of smoke you can more deeply inhale.
What is a Bong?
A bong is a water pipe that offers a different experience for smoking weed. The water cools the smoke allowing you to smoke more deeply as the cooler temperature softens the experience of the smoke. The water in a bong also helps cleanse some of the impurities from the smoke.
Somewhat similar to a pipe, bongs have a bowl for weed, then there’s a downstem area that holds the water which leads up to a mouthpiece. The bowl is removable which is an important part of the smoking process.
How to Hit a Bong
When it comes to learning how to smoke weed, learning how to hit a bong can be a bit challenging. It requires some familiarity, hand eye coordination and is the most complex way to smoke weed. Not to worry, it’s still straightforward and can be an enjoyable process.
To use a bong, you’ll want to ensure you loosely fill the bowl about half way with ground cannabis and fill your bong with fresh water. Like with lighting a bowl, you put your mouth on the mouthpiece, then use a lighter to light the bowl as you gently inhale.
When the chamber is filled with smoke you will pull the removable bowl out of the downstem and inhale the cooled and “purified” smoke. As you fully inhale, you’ll find the cooler smoke offers a different experience. You also may find you can inhale more and more deeply.
Tips For Smoking Bowls and Bongs
- Bowls and bongs have a lot more THC up for grabs as a lot of the THC in a blunt or joint can get lost in the air. Bongs and pipes can offer 45% available THC compared to the 20% available in joints in this study.
- Be sure to clean your bowl and bong. Alcohol can be used to any build of burned resin or build-up that forms.
- Bowls and bongs can create a rush of smoke when you take a hit so it is best to prepare for the sudden rush of smoke.
- If you’re concerned with smoke, you can also try a vaporizer which cooks and decarbs the cannabis rather than burning it and can decrease your exposure to harmful chemicals. Vaporizers, while also called vapes, will cook cannabis flower, unlike vapes that use oil can expose you to different lung issues like popular nicotine vapes.
Does Coughing Get You Higher?
There’s a common rumor that coughing while you smoke weed will get you higher. While it can often seem true the reason you are feeling higher is more the fact you are coughing. Coughing can decrease the amount of oxygen you are consuming while also increasing your heart rate. These factors can contribute to feeling high.
95% of the THC you absorb is in the first 5 seconds of the hit. A bigger hit may cause you to cough more and offer you more of a high but there is no direct correlation between coughing and THC absorption.
Edibles vs Smoking: Pros and Cons
You may not want to smoke for concerns about the smell, your lung health, or you simply don’t like the idea of smoking. Edibles offer an alternative for consuming cannabis but it can also offer a different high.
Edibles allow you to circumvent smoking altogether. This can be great especially for people who might be trying to treat lung issues, cancer, or something that could be exacerbated by coughing. For example, coughing can cause headaches so smoking may not be the best option if you’re trying to use medical marijuana to treat migraines.
Smoking weed contains 110 compounds known to cause illness when compared to the 173 when smoking cigarettes. That’s still a high number and a large exposure risk for your lung health.
Edibles also give you access to more THC and cannabinoids. You absorb THC throughout the entire digestive process so from the start of chewing until it reaches your lower intestines your body is processing the various cannabinoids and terpenes. This can cause a challenge with regards to dosing and knowing how you feel.
The high from THC lasts longer with edibles and can feel different. Your body creates 11-hydroxy-THC in the liver which can offer a different experience and affect you differently. This can be why some people can enjoy smoking cannabis but have paranoia with edibles.
If you enjoy being high and have the time, an edible can give you more bang for your buck.
Smoking offers a more concentrated “hit” of cannabis. It allows you to better pace yourself for how you want to feel. Smoking lets you know how high you are and you can more readily feel it plus it goes away in a few hours. With edibles you do run the risk of your high increasing slowly over time.
Smoking is also easier. Sure, you can go out and buy edibles but edibles can vary from product to product and batch to batch so unless you made it yourself and know your exact dose you won’t know how much it will affect you. This can mean that you end up having to dose and then wait and then dose again. You can’t plan as easily for the experience.
When smoking, you have a fairly clear picture of how you’ll feel and can more readily manage how high you want to be. Ultimately, only you can decide if edibles or smoking are right for you.
People have been smoking cannabis for centuries. Now, with this guide you’re one step closer to safely smoking while avoiding simple mistakes or seeming like a noob.
Before you figure out how to smoke weed, you’ll want to apply online for a medical marijuana card today to ensure you can legally consume cannabis.