If you’re smoking marijuana for the first time, then you might be a little daunted by the entire process. After all, there are so many things you need to remember, and it doesn’t help that there are plenty of smoking devices to choose from. Gone are the days when the good old joints were the only option. Now, you also have blunts, pipes, bongs, dab rigs, and vaporizers at your disposal. And to make the most out of the psychoactive high, you’ll need to know how to inhale the right way, too. How do you even make sense of everything?

Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. This comprehensive guide contains everything you need to know about how to properly smoke weed.

A Guide on How to Smoke Weed Correctly

There are several things to keep in mind when learning how to smoke cannabis the right way. But ultimately, it boils down to knowing the different smoking methods and proper inhalation techniques. Both of these factors are the key to making your weed-smoking experience a success.

I. Different Smoking Methods

Marijuana can be smoked in lots of ways. Perhaps the most popular way is to roll the buds into joints or blunts. Alternatively, you can also use smoking paraphernalia such as pipes, bongs, dab rigs, and even vaporizers. Lucky for you, DIY options also exist. While homemade pipes or bongs won’t produce the highest-quality smoke, they’re still handy when you’re craving for some THC but have no weed-toking device on hand.

How to Smoke a Joint

Joints offer a tried-and-tested way of consuming marijuana. Even with the rise of more sophisticated smoking devices, these classic hand-rolled sticks remain as popular as ever. After all, they’re straightforward to use and don’t require any expensive tools. All you need are your dried flowers and rolling papers to get started. An herb grinder, while incredibly useful, is not necessary for beginners.

Smokin Joint of Marijuana
A Man Smoking Marijuana

After rolling a jay or taking out a pre-roll, the first step is to spark up. Don’t inhale right away. You’ll want to “roast” your joint first. Do this by holding the flame at the end of the joint, slowly rotating the stick between your fingers to ensure that it’s evenly burnt. This keeps your joint “cherried” – or actively burning even without the use of a lighter. Once the tip is glowing red, feel free to take a hit.

Tip: Ran out of papers? Consider all-natural alternatives to rolling papers like corn husks and rose petals. They’re easily accessible and provide one of the healthiest ways to toke up.

How to Smoke a Blunt

A blunt (sometimes called a “cannabis cigar”) is another type of marijuana stick. It’s essentially a cigar wrapper that’s been emptied, filled with dried herbs, then resealed. As with a joint, there are also many benefits to rolling a blunt. This time, all you need is your flower and a cigar wrapper (or whole tobacco leaves). Not to mention, nearly all convenience stores and gas stations sell cigars, so you’ll be able to make a fat blunt virtually anytime, anywhere. But, the drawback to smoking a blunt is that you’re also exposing yourself to the tobacco, nicotine, and other toxic chemicals in the cigar wrap.

Smoking a blunt has the same basic principles as a regular joint. After packing, rolling, and sealing the blunt, place the filter end in between your lips. Use a lighter or a match to blaze up the other end. Again, remember to roast your stick. Take slow, steady hits once you’ve formed a cherry. If you’re smoking with a group, then remember the cardinal rule of the smoke circle: “Puff, puff, pass.”

Note: Blunts are bigger and thicker than joints, which means that they contain a lot more weed than usual. Smoking an entire blunt, in fact, is roughly the same as smoking six joints. So, make sure to take it slowly to avoid overwhelming yourself.

How to Smoke from a Pipe

Using a weed pipe is perhaps the fastest, most straightforward way of smoking marijuana. Generally made of glass, a pipe is a compact, handheld device that’s ideal for discreet or on-the-go smoking. Plus, it’s extremely convenient and doesn’t require power or water. All you need is your pipe, flower, and lighter. Again, a cannabis grinder is helpful but optional. If you’re just getting started, breaking the buds apart with your bare hands is more than enough.

Cannabis Pipe
Beautiful pipe used for smoking cannabis

To smoke from a marijuana pipe, the first step is to pack the bowl with ground-up weed. Bring the mouthpiece to your lips and make sure to cover the carb (a hole on the side of the pipe) with your thumb. Use your free hand to light up a corner of the bowl. Turn off the heat once the plant matter begins to smolder and take a slow, measured drag.

Tip: If you forgot your pipe at home and want a good smoke, then consider making an apple pipe. Aside from an apple, you only need a poking device to construct a functional homemade pipe within minutes.

How to Smoke from a Bong

A bong is a water pipe that’s used for smoking cannabis. It’s typically made from borosilicate glass and consists of a water chamber and a downstem (which connects to the chamber and holds the bowl). The water in the base works by cooling and filtering the smoke before it gets into your system, resulting in cleaner, much smoother hits. A bong is also known to provide big, intense rips, which means that it’s not for the faint of heart. The downside is that bongs can be a bit cumbersome to use and require regular cleaning and maintenance to remain in tip-top shape.

Start by filling the chamber with the right amount of water. Next, pack the bowl with ground flowers, ensuring that it’s neither too loosely nor too tightly packed. Hold the bong securely and place your mouth on the mouthpiece. If your device has a carb, then make sure to cover it with your finger. Light up the bowl with your free hand and begin pulling the smoke. Once the chamber fills with enough smoke, remove the heat source, release your finger over the carb (or pull the slider), and inhale deeply so the cloud goes directly to your lungs.

Tip: If you’re in a pinch and find yourself in need of a pipe or a bong, you might want to make a gravity bong out of plastic bottles. Meant for one-time use, this homemade smoking device is simple to create and will deliver ultra-powerful hits.

How to Smoke from a Dab Rig

A dab rig (also referred to as an “oil rig” or “vapor rig”) is a specialized bong that’s used to smoke shatter, wax, rosin, and other weed concentrates. Otherwise known as “dabs,” these cannabis extracts typically contain about 60 to 90 percent THC, which is much higher than the 15 to 30 percent THC content of most dried flowers. Similar to a bong, a dab rig also relies on the water particles at the base to filter the cannabinoid-rich cloud. Aside from the central bong-like piece, it also consists of a nail to hold the dab and a carb cap to regulate airflow and trap in heat. Smoking out of a dab rig (more commonly known as “dabbing”) has quickly soared in popularity because it promises ultra-potent highs and an aromatic, flavorful experience.

Melted cannabis shatter
Melted cannabis oil concentrate aka shatter held on a dabbing tool

Dabbing is fairly straightforward, but it does have a bit of a learning curve. After setting up the dab station, the first step is to heat the nail with a blow torch. Keep at it until the nail glows a bright red. Next, place a small amount of dab directly onto the baked nail, then inhale the resulting vapor. Once you have the basics down, you’ll appreciate how simple and efficient it is to use a dab rig.

Tip: For convenience, consider using an electronic nail (more commonly known as an “e-nail”). It relies on electrical power instead of an open flame, eliminating the risks of fires and other accidents. More importantly, it allows you to regulate the temperature for an even heating and a smooth, consistent smoking experience.

How to Smoke from a Vaporizer

A marijuana vaporizer offers one of the healthiest, easiest, and most convenient ways of consuming weed. It works by heating dried flowers or cannabis concentrates without combustion, which means that it won’t produce any smoke. This makes it ideal for users who prefer a more discreet consumption method, as well as those who want to avoid the respiratory risks associated with smoking. Several types of vaporizers exist, but they’re generally made up of the same basic components, including a chamber (sometimes called a “cartridge” or a “tank”), a heating element (or an “atomizer”), and a mouthpiece. The large tabletop models usually provide temperature control and other more advanced features, while the smaller ones – such as portable vapes and vape pens – come with sensors and rechargeable batteries.

How you vape your weed largely depends on the type of vaporizer you have. But, the basic idea is more or less the same. After preparing your device (which may entail charging or warming it up), the first step is to load the chamber with dried herbs or concentrates. Close the chamber and fire up the device. Inhale the resulting vapor through the mouthpiece.

II. Proper Inhalation Techniques

It’s not enough to know how to smoke weed correctly. You also need to familiarize yourself with the proper inhalation techniques, which may vary slightly depending on whether you’re smoking a joint, using a pipe, dabbing, or vaping. But, the goal is the same. In essence, you want to maximize the cannabinoids you’re breathing in without going overboard – which usually means without choking or coughing.

Don’t Inhale While Lighting up

This is something that many first-time marijuana users are not aware of. Here’s the thing: cannabis sticks are not like cigars or cigarettes. That is, you don’t typically inhale during ignition. Always remember to roast your joint or blunt – as well as to keep it lit and cherried – before drawing in the cloud. Otherwise, your doobie is more likely to canoe or burn unevenly, resulting in the loss of precious weed.

Lighting a joint of marijuana
A man lighting up a joint of marijuana

Take a Slow, Deep Breath

Inhaling weed properly is pretty simple and intuitive. Really, all you have to do is take a slow, deep breath so that the smoke goes straight to your lungs. If you’re hesitating, after all, the smoke may get stuck in your throat, inducing a coughing fit. Likewise, don’t give in to your excitement and inhale a bit too quickly. That’s a recipe for disaster as well.

Ideally, you should also be introducing a bit of fresh air into your system. Doing so can help improve the cannabinoid absorption. Our tip: slowly inhale about two-thirds of the way, then follow it up with a deep gulp of air.

Take Smaller Hits

To reduce or eliminate coughing, it’s important to avoid shocking your system. So, instead of drawing in a massive, too-powerful rip, opt for smaller hits instead.

Smoking weed on balcony
A girl smoking weed on balcony

Don’t Hold the Smoke

Some people suggest holding in your inhale for much longer than usual to intensify the high. This whole idea, though, is largely a myth. It won’t increase the mind-altering effects in any way. Instead, if you hold the smoke, you’ll only expose your lungs to more tar, increasing the pulmonary health risks.

Try Deep Breathing Exercises

Consider performing some deep breathing exercises on a regular basis. These can improve not only the way you inhale but your lung capacity as well.

Blaze up Your Weed the Right Way

While joints are the most popular way to smoke weed, there are plenty of other ways to spark up. The possibilities, in fact, are nearly endless.

If you’re a fan of the iconic cannabis sticks but want something new, blunts might be what you’re looking for. Hand pipes are ideal if you prefer a simpler, more convenient way to toke up, while bongs or water pipes are the way to go if you’re seeking cleaner, harder-hitting rips. As for dab rigs, they’re perfect if purity and potency – the very essence of cannabis concentrates – are your priority. Finally, vaporizers are a great choice if you’re averse to smoke or simply prefer something more discreet. Whatever method you end up choosing, it’s important to do your research beforehand. Make sure you know how to operate your chosen weed-toking device – including how to smoke from it properly. Of course, you also need to know how to inhale properly for a more gratifying toking session. And, don’t forget to go slow and take it slowly. The last thing you want is to consume more than what you can handle and end up with an incapacitating high.