How to properly smoke weed: 4 different methods

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  • If this is your first time smoking weed, it can be difficult to decide which method is best for you.
  • Common ways to smoke marijuana include joints, blunts, bongs, and pipes.
  • Healthier alternatives to smoking include vaping, edibles, and tinctures.
  • Visit Insider’s Health Reference Library for more tips.

From joints and pipes to blunts and bongs, smoking is the most common way people use marijuana.

While getting high can be a therapeutic and fun recreational experience, you should be aware that, like cigarette smoke, marijuana smoke contains irritating chemicals and tar. associated with respiratory problems.

If you are new to the world of cannabis smoke, you might feel a little overwhelmed with the options and curious about the pros and cons of each method. Here’s what you need to know.

1. Joints

A person holding a smoking marijuana joint in their hand.

The joints are made with rolling paper and smoked like a cigarette.

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images


Sometimes referred to as marijuana cigarettes, joints are one of the the most popular ways to smoke weed.

They are made from wrapping marijuana in rolling paper “usually made from hemp, rice or paper,” explains Woodcock Stacia, PharmD, clinical cannabis pharmacist and dispensary manager for Curaleaf. You can also choose to add a filter to avoid burning your fingers while smoking.

To ride and smoke a joint:

  1. Break up the marijuana using an herb grinder or your fingers. Remove any seeds or stems.
  2. If you want to use a filter, cut a small piece of thin cardboard (you need it to fit in your paper when rolled up) and fold it “accordion style” in a tip.
  3. While holding the rolling paper lengthwise, “hot dog style”, fill it with the crushed grass, placing your filter at each end.
  4. Pinch the filled paper between your fingers and roll it into a cone or tube shape.
  5. Light the end of the gasket and inhale from the filter.

Keep in mind that many commercially available rolling papers – especially those labeled as fast-burning, bleached, or flavored – contain pollutants and harmful chemicals, which could damage your lungs. Therefore, opt for unbleached, unflavored and unrefined rolling papers may decrease your chances of exposure. And if you’re really worried about chemical exposure, consider using a paperless smoking method, like a bong or pipe.

2. Blunts

A person rolls a blunt on a wooden cutting board.

The blunts are rolled in the same way as the joints.

secret agent mike / Getty Images


Blunts are generally bigger and last longer than a joint, but they’re made the same way. The difference is that blunts are made from blunt or cigar wrap as opposed to rolling paper.

Blunt wraps are made from tobacco leaves, which means they contain nicotine. According to a 2010 study, the nicotine in the blunts caused a greater build-up of carbon monoxide, a toxic chemical, in the blood of the study subjects, leading to side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

TO roll and smoke a blunt:

  1. Break up the marijuana using an herb grinder or your fingers. Remove any seeds or stems.
  2. Use a blade to cut open the cigar or blunt it lengthwise. Or if you are using a dull film, unroll the film with your fingers.
  3. If necessary, empty the tobacco from the middle of the cigar or blunt.
  4. Moisten the wrap by dipping your fingers in a little water.
  5. Fill the wrap with marijuana.
  6. Pinch the film between your fingers, rolling it and folding it back into a tube.
  7. Use a lighter or match to light up one end.

3. Pipe

Someone is holding a marijuana pipe.

Make sure to wrap the bowls lightly so that there are still air pockets in the grass.

Stefan Malloch / Getty Images


Cannabis pipes, also called spoons or bowls, are one of the easiest ways to smoke.

Pipes consist of a hollow bowl, a “stem” and a mouthpiece through which you inhale. Some pipes also have a hole for the carburetor – a small hole next to the bowl that you cover and uncover with your finger while inhaling in order to remove the smoke from the pipe.

TO smoke from a pipe:

  1. Break up the marijuana using an herb grinder or your fingers. Remove any seeds or stems.
  2. Loosely fill the bowl halfway with crushed marijuana. Make sure you don’t overwrap the bowl or it might be hard to take a hit.
  3. Light the bowl with a lighter or match and inhale through the mouthpiece.
  4. If the bowl has carbohydrate in it, cover it with your finger as you turn it on and inhale first. This will cause smoke to build up in the pipe. After that, take your finger off the carburetor to “clean” the pipe and inhale the smoke into your lungs.

4. Bang

Dozens of neatly organized marijuana bongs on a red checkered fabric.

Bongs come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Christine Nanji / Getty Images


Bongs, also called water pipes, are smoking devices that use water to cool and filter the smoke. Because the smoke is cooled, people tend to take bigger blows and produce more smoke than when using joints, blunts or bowls.

Bongs consist of a bowl as well as a cylindrical piece of glass called a “descending stem”. When you strike a bong, the smoke travels down the stem and is filtered through the water before it travels up the neck of the bong to the mouthpiece.

While some users believe that bongs are the healthiest method of smoking, they may not be very effective at reducing toxins, ”says Nicolas schlienz, PhD, research director at the Cannabis Education organization Kingdom of care.

TO smoke from a bong:

  1. Pour water into the water chamber to submerge the bottom of the descending rod.
  2. Break up the marijuana using an herb grinder or your fingers. Remove any seeds or stems.
  3. Lightly fill the bowl halfway with marijuana.
  4. Put your mouth on the mouthpiece, then use a lighter or match to light the bowl as you breathe in with your lungs.
  5. When the chamber is filled with smoke, slide the bowl off the rod and inhale to remove the smoke.

Insider takeaways

While the herb has many benefits to offer, doctors agree that any form of smoking can irritate your throat and lungs.

“People with respiratory or cardiovascular problems may consider consuming cannabis orally (via edibles or tinctures) to reduce the risk of having adverse health effects,” Schlienz said.


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