There are several ways to smoke marijuana buds. You could go the traditional route and use rolling papers and water pipes. Or, you could take things to another level and opt for a hookah instead. Here’s everything you need to know about how to smoke weed out of a hookah, as well as other useful tips and information.

What Is a Hookah?

A hookah is a water pipe used for smoking tobacco, particularly sweetened and flavored tobacco. It’s also referred to as a shisha (or sheesha), hubble-bubble, narghile, and goza. The pipe is rather large and generally consists of a rubber hose, pipe, bowl, and smoke chamber. Hookahs, however, come in a wide range of sizes, designs, and accessories. Some, for instance, only have a single stem, while others are multi-stemmed, making them ideal for use with a smoking circle.

Hookah Set
Hookah Set

The act of smoking a hookah has been done traditionally for centuries, especially in the Middle East and some parts of the Indian subcontinent. But, it infiltrated the Western World sometime in the 19th century. Then, it took off in North America during the 1960s and 1970s, what with the rise of hookah bars.

Today, hookah smoking remains popular to a certain extent. It’s especially prevalent among high school students and young adults. Not to mention, hookahs are also readily available for sale online and at some smoke shops across the United States. On top of that, hookah lounges have also popped up in major cities across the country.

How Does a Hookah Work?

At first glance, a hookah appears to be an extremely complicated contraption. After all, it’s known to have intricate designs, which may include one or more hoses and an ornate-looking water reservoir. But, hookahs should contain the same basic components.

  • Bowl. A basin or deep dish where you pack the plant matter. It’s usually made out of clay, marble, or glass.
  • Windscreen. Also called a “wind guard”, a windscreen is designed to hold and suspend the smoldering coals above the shisha and the herbs. It’s typically made of perforated tin foil, although some hookahs come with integrated windscreens.
  • Plate. Also referred to as an “ashtray”, a plate can be found just below the bowl and the windscreen. It’s meant to catch any falling ash or cinder from the coals.
  • Stem. The main body of the hookah and connects all of the pieces, keeping the whole thing together.
  • Water Base. A vase-shaped glass structure that acts as the water reservoir of the hookah. It’s filled with water before the session, and it’s where the smoke passes through for cooling and filtration.
  • Hose. A flexible hollow tube that connects to the stem and ends on the mouthpiece. As you might have guessed, this is where you inhale the smoke. As mentioned, a hookah may include just one or multiple hoses.
  • Purge Valve. An opening that enables you to remove the stale smoke out of the water reservoir.

So, how does a hookah work?

First, lit charcoals are placed above the shisha on the bowl, with the perforated aluminum foil separating the two. As the coal warms up the herbs below, smoke is produced. When users take a drag from the mouthpiece, the smoke passes through the water chamber first, cooling and filtering it before being inhaled into the lungs.

Can You Smoke Weed Out of a Hookah?

Yes, you can certainly smoke your cannabis out of a hookah. The two, in fact, share some striking similarities, making them well-suited for each other. For instance, they’re both strongly associated with smoking, socializing, and counterculture. So, it should not come as a surprise that smoking weed out of a hookah has become a favorite pastime among several smoke circles.

Using a hookah comes with several advantages, too. For one, when combined with shisha (the stuff that you smoke out of a hookah), marijuana flowers take more time to heat up and get spent. This, in turn, enables you to smoke for longer periods even with the same amount of weed, making it cost-effective.

As a bonus, the blend of the two herbs will also give rise to more complex flavors, which helps elevate the consumption experience. Finally, some hookahs come with multiple hoses, making them an excellent option for sharing with friends.

What Are the Risks and Considerations When Smoking Weed Out of a Hookah?

Many people believe that using a hookah is much safer than smoking cigarettes. Some, in fact, are even under the impression that it’s relatively harmless. However, this is not the case. Like any other consumption method, it has some drawbacks as well.

Shisha, for instance, is traditionally made from tobacco – the very same tobacco found in cigarettes. So, if you smoke it, you will be exposed to nicotine, tar, heavy metals, as well as other toxic and cancer-causing compounds. And as you may already know, nicotine is associated with several health hazards and can also damage multiple organ systems. For this reason, it’s best to stick with tobacco-free varieties, which typically consist of herbs or chopped-up fruits.

A man smoking on a hookah
A man sitting and smoking on a hookah

Unfortunately, even if you use a hookah for weed and tobacco-free shisha, there are still some health dangers. For instance, if you’re sharing one hookah with a group, there’s the risk of spreading infectious diseases to everyone else in the circle. Furthermore, if the hookah has not been cleaned properly, you may end up consuming some of the bacteria or the viruses that are lingering behind. To reduce the risk, go for multi-stemmed hookahs and do not share the mouthpiece with someone else. Also, make sure to clean and sterilize your device after every use.

Finally, the coals used to blaze up a hookah can also be a concern. Coal fumes are known to make some people feel nauseous and sick. Not to mention, they may also emit harmful chemicals and other substances. So, if you’re extra-sensitive to coal smoke, using a hookah might not be the best option for you.

How Do You Smoke Weed Out of a Hookah?

Now that you’re acquainted with the nitty-gritty of hookahs, it’s time to dive into the heart of this article. In this section, we will take a closer look at how you can use a hookah to consume cannabis buds.

As early as now, you should know that using a hookah has a steep learning curve. For instance, you will need to keep the coals well-lit while maintaining the right temperatures. So, if you’re unfamiliar with the whole process, it’s easy to get bummed out during your first try. Not to mention, you might end up wasting precious weed, too.

If you’ve never used a hookah before, don’t worry. We’re here to help you make the most out of your first time. Below is a detailed step-by-step explanation of how to smoke weed out of a hookah.

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Before getting started, ready the supplies first. Here’s what you will need to smoke weed using a hookah:

  • Cannabis buds
  • Hookah
  • Shisha
  • Windscreen
  • Dab torch
  • Coals
  • Heat-resistant tongs

Step 2: Clean the Hookah

You want to make sure that the hookah is clean before every toking sesh. Remember, any leftover residue and gunk will affect the taste and overall quality of your smoke. Aside from being unpalatable, polluted smoke can irritate your throat and airways, too. If your hookah is brand new, give it a thorough rinsing anyway to remove the dust and other unwanted particulates. Allow the hookah to fully dry before use.

Step 3: Add Some Water

Carefully detach the stem – the centerpiece of your hookah – from the base. Fill the tank or the reservoir with water about one-third of the way. Be careful not to pour in too much water. Otherwise, you will have a harder time pulling the smoke from your hose.

Some users like to toss in some ice as well for a nice cooling effect. Cold water, though, often suffices. But if you do add some ice, ensure that the water level inside the pipe doesn’t go beyond halfway full. Again, this will make it difficult to draw from.

Step 4: Return the Hookah Lid

Once the interior of the pipe is ready, put the stem and the upper piece back to the hookah vase. Some devices easily click into place, while others need to be screwed on. To know if it’s the latter, scan for the presence of screw threads. In any case, make sure that everything is nice and secure.

Step 5: Inspect the Hose Connections

Slide the hoses into their respective slots. Examine all the connections, ensuring that they’re tight and secure. Double-check, if possible. The last thing you want is a leaky hose, which could ruin an otherwise smooth and satisfying toking experience.

Step 6: Test the Airflow

Place your lips against the mouthpiece and inhale deeply. Did you struggle drawing in some air? If so, consider removing some of the water from the tank. Otherwise, you can proceed to the next step.

Step 7: Pack the Bowl

After setting up your hookah, it’s time to finally load it with shisha and weed. It’s not recommended to fill the bowl with cannabis alone. That’s because you want to take advantage of the glycerin and molasses in the shisha, both of which help slow down the rate at which the flowers burn.

Add a layer of shisha at the bottom of the bowl. Sprinkle your desired amount of ground-up weed. Fill the rest of the basin with another layer of loosely-packed shisha. Take care not to overpack or press down too hard. This could limit airflow and mess up the burn rate. And when this happens, you will probably end up torching the whole thing, leaving you with nothing to blaze up.

Remember, an optimal bowl is well-packed, even, and full to the brim – but not overflowing.

Step 8: Cover the Bowl

Use a manufactured windscreen to cover the hookah bowl. Alternatively, you can also create a makeshift wind guard using aluminum foil. Simply wrap a small piece of tin foil over the entire opening of the bowl, keeping tight and secure. Afterward, use a toothpick or a pen to jab some holes into the top of the foil. This will encourage airflow.

Once done, place the setup above the tray or plate on the hookah.

Step 9: Ignite the Coals        

Place the coals on a heat-resistant surface. Ready your heating element – preferably a dab torch or other strong flame. Set fire to the coals and wait for them to finish smoldering. When they’re ready, they will glow bright red-orange and stop emitting sparks.

Use your metal tongs to transfer the coals on top of the tin foil or windscreen. Place as many coals as the bowl will hold. But, make sure not to cover all the holes. The last thing you want is to block the airflow.

Step 10: Let the Coals Warm up the Bowl

Give the red-hot coals a few minutes to bake the bowl. After waiting, place the mouthpiece between your lips and take a slow, measured drag of the shisha smoke. If the cloud is still somewhat bland, then wait a bit more. If the smoke tastes roasted, on the other hand, use the tongs to remove a few of the coals.

Step 11: Smoke Away and Enjoy

Keep on inhaling the rich, aromatic, and full-bodied fumes. You can take your sweet time since the herbal concoction should last for quite a while. Keep at it until the flavor starts to weaken. If you’re smoking with a group of friends, don’t forget to use your own mouthpiece to avoid the spread of harmful diseases.

Hookah Session
A group of men having a hookah session

Spice up the Weed-Smoking Experience with a Hookah

Hookahs are, without a doubt, some of the most iconic smoking devices. While more commonly associated with tobacco, they can be used with marijuana, too. Fortunately, you don’t have to do any adjustments or modifications to be able to use a hookah with your stash. Really, all you need to do is set up the pipe as usual, pack the bowl with shisha, and sandwich the ground-up nugs in between. After that, it’s just a matter of heating the coals and warming up the herbal concoction. For first-time users, smoking with a hookah can be challenging. But don’t fret. With patience and lots of practice, you should be able to master the art of smoking a hookah eventually. And if you follow our detailed guide letter for letter, it won’t be long before you’re inhaling the nuanced, flavorful cloud and toking away with leisure.