how to smoke weed

How to Smoke Weed: 4 Different Ways to Smoke Weed for Beginners

How to Roll the Perfect Joint or Blunts for Beginners & Tips for Smoking Weed

learn how 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 can be 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 a more pleasurable and less of a coughing experience..

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Why Use a Grinder When Smoking Weed?

When smoking cannabis, an herbal grinder is your best friend. The first step, regardless of whatever 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. With uneven heat, you run the risk of getting more toxic chemicals from burnt plant matter and not enough THC and other compounds.

You can smoke a bowl or roll a joint with unground cannabis but run the risk of stems, seeds, and overly burning your flower.Seeds can pop while burning. Stems can lead to uneven burning and can mean you end up with less decarbed cannabinoids because some of your weed will be burned while some is left under heated.

That will essentially waste cannabis because you don’t want to consume too much overly burned cannabis when the whole reason for smoking is to get access to all those plant chemicals.

What are some other things to consider when smoking weed?

General Tips When Learning How to Smoke Weed

As adults, we can often struggle with being new at something. Here’s a few basic things to consider as you embark on adding weed to your health regimen.

  • Start off slow. Cannabis interacts with an entire system of our body called the endocannabinoid system. The many compounds in cannabis 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 you end up 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 it’s filled with cannabis flower rather than tobacco. You use a small piece of rolling paper and roll it with ground up marijuana.

Joints are the main way many people learn to smoke weed. However, the legalization of cannabis has led to new developments in joint technology.

Pre-rolls, short for pre-rolled joints, are the name for joints that you will likely purchase at a dispensary. Also, in addition to rolling papers you can use cones, tobacco, or even rose petals as joint wraps.

How to Roll The Perfect Joint

Joints are the easiest and convenient smoking system and they can also offer you a portable solution to dosing your medical marijuana. Here’s a few simple steps to get you all set to roll your own joints.

  1. Fold Your Rolling Paper

    You’ll want to start with your rolling paper. When filling it, keep the paper slightly folded like a taco and keep a finger inside as you fill it. You’ll want to fold it lengthwise.

  2. Add Your Filter to One Side

    Joints have a small filter to allow you to more easily inhale the smoke. The paper in wraps 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 almost impossible to smoke. Moist paper will prevent airflow and waste valuable cannabis.

    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.

  3. Sprinkle Ground Flower In The Rolling Paper

    While holding the rolling paper with the filter in one hand, use your other hand to carefully add your grounded cannabis flower into the center of the rolling paper. You can measure out the amount of flower ahead of time with a scale if you are trying to dose.

    Be sure not to overfill the rolling paper more weed does not always mean a stronger high if it burns too quickly or ends up unevenly burning.

    Imagine what happens if you overfill a taco or gyro which is what you’re doing in this step.

  4. Shape The Paper Into A Tube

    Take the end of the rolling paper that does not have a strip of glue on it and tuck it inward toward the cannabis you just added. Take the other end of the rolling paper, and roll it as tightly as possible to form an even tube.

    Moisten the glue on the paper with your tongue, and seal it by folding the sticky end tightly around the remainder of the joint.

  5. Seal Your Joint

    Using a long, thin object like a pen, push the cannabis flower into the joint from the open end of your tube. This helps the joint burn evenly and will keep the flower consistent throughout the whole joint.

    Once your flower is packed into the joint as desired, you can seal the open end by twisting the paper with your fingers. It sometimes helps to moisten the open end a bit before twisting to help it maintain its shape after you seal it.

  6. Light Up

    Light the sealed end of your joint and inhale through the filter to help encourage burning. If your joint is not uniformly rolled or tightly packed it may extinguish in between inhales. With practice you’ll get the hang of rolling joints.

    Using a cigarette roller may help spare you some of the hassle of having to roll your own joints. Also you can invest in pre-rolls at the dispensary which can contain other cannabis products like kief, resin, or concentrates.

How to Smoke a Joint

how to smoke a joint

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Smoking a joint is fairly straightforward and may seem as simple as you light it and smoke it. Sure, but there are still subtle nuances to keep you from erupting into a coughing fit, damaging the joint, or wasting weed.

When new to smoking, it’s best to pace yourself. Be sure to inhale slowly and not too deeply at first since you’re likely to cough.

Cannabis’s green plant matter has a fair amount of moisture so it is likely to create more smoke than burn outright. 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 whereas with cannabis you want to let the smoke linger in your lungs longer.

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 you close it, 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.

Photo by Jalen Terry

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

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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.

Other Ways to Smoke Weed

These four strategies involve smoking cannabis flower. However, you can also smoke other forms of cannabis and cannabis products. The growing world of legalized cannabis is leading to more innovations in cannabis culture. Here’s a few other ways you can smoke weed.

1. Dabbing

This involves smoking a dab of cannabis concentrate, shatter, live resin, or wax. You will often use a dab rig which is a device that superheats it. Dabs and many of the concentrations on this list remove much of the plant matter to allow you to smoke while eliminating carcinogenic burnt plant matter and increase your high.

2. Water Pipes

Similar to a bong, but for concentrates, water pipes allow you to super heat your cannabis concentrate like rosin into a vapor that allows you to softly inhale. Since many of the concentrate cultivation processes try to eliminate much of the plant matter once you’ve spent what you’re smoking you can simply add more to your pipe.

3. Vaping

Vaping allows you to heat cannabis oil or concentrate and simply take in the THC, and in some cases the terpenes and other cannabinoids. While there are some risks of vaping cannabis it eliminates exposure to many of the carcinogens in burning plant matter.

4. Smoke Pure THC

This may be off putting to some but there is a crystalline version of THC that’s just pure THC. While this may be a bit too crack-adjacent for some, it does offer a pure delivery of THC. However, you should be very careful with dosages and how much you consume.

Additionally, this form of THC has eliminated many of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids which allow for a more full-spectrum experience. They can temper and affect how THC affects you and pure THC may not have the same desired affect as you get from smoking standard cannabis or consuming weed products.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.