Smoking isn’t as easy as the movies make it look, and there’s a lot that goes into smoking. Between the kind of bud to smoke, how to grind, how to stifle a cough, and more, smoking is a serious pastime. Okay okay, maybe we’re being a bit dramatic here, but there is a lot to know about how to smoke cannabis correctly.
To help you along, we’ve compiled a short but detailed list of things we consider to be important to know before lighting up your first bowl (or joint or blunt or whatever). Let’s Start.
When it comes to mode of transportation, there’s a dozen ways it could go for your first time. We’re sure you’ve heard some of the buzzwords like joints and bowls, but there are so many more options than that.
First up is pipes. Generally made of ceramic, glass, or other easy-to-clean material, smoking pipes have been used for herb consumption for centuries. Pipe smoking normally includes packing the herb into a dedicated burning bowl, setting the flower on fire, and drawing air through the connected mouthpiece. This ignites the bud without setting fire to it, producing a thick smoke that can then be inhaled and exhaled to reap the benefits.
Bongs are a great alternative to pipe smoking and are often referred to as water pipes. Bongs come in a bunch of different materials, including glass, acrylic, ceramic, silicone, and more.
The basic premise is the same, with a bowl dedicated to the burning herbs, a mouthpiece for drawing and inhalation, and a tube that connects everything together. A significant difference however is the addition of the water.
The addition of water in the smoking experience adds a certain level of smoothness and coolness to the smoke, making for an easier smoking routine.
Joints, blunts, and spliffs are other means of smoking cannabis. They are all generally similar, but with key differences. The term joint is specific to a roller paper with only marijuana in it. A blunt is a joint but instead of a roller paper, the wrap is a cigar wrap which adds tobacco to the mix. Tobacco offers an energizing effect that your bud might not have. And finally, a spliff is an even mix between a joint and a blunt. It doesn’t have to have a specific wrapper, but marijuana and tobacco are mixed into the smoking blend.
With so many strains and so many flavors of marijuana to choose from, perhaps the very first thing to consider is the desired effect. Hollywood and movies tend to present marijuana as an herb that makes someone giggly and kind of out of it, but that’s not the case with all strains of marijuana. Most strains have specified names to indicate their flavor and be easily identified in the dispensary, but the barest bone classification is Sativa and Indica strains.
Sativa marijuana strains tend to have a head high, meaning the experience is more so felt in the brain and head. These strains promote creativity, laughing, an increase in energy, and can be great for social smokers.
Indica marijuana strains are much more body-based. Great for body aches, muscle pain, lack of appetite, and trouble sleeping, Indica cannabis strains are centered around the experience of a body high.
Hybrid marijuana strains can be a healthy mix of both Sativa and Indica strains, with the attributes and side effects of both. Most commonly consumed strains are some kind of hybrid since they can cater to all smoking needs.
Depending on the consumption method you choose, dose tracking can look very different. Generally, when smoking cannabis correctly, the main method of dose tracking is via bowls, completed rolls, or hits. These all can technically have different compositions so really it’s less of technical measurement and more of a way for you to understand what quantity you’re taking.
In contrast, things like edibles and THC beverages have specific ingredients which can help identify dosage early on. Most ingestible marijuana is measured in milligrams. The lowest dose is 1mg and can go all the way up to 3000mg. The smaller doses are for microdosing purposes, whereas the higher the dose equates to a much more intense effect.
No matter how you smoke, you don’t want to ever be “that guy”. “That guy” hogs the joint to himself. “That guy” uses the pipe as a sort of talking stick to hold while he goes through the latest topic of conversation. “That guy” doesn’t contribute any times he smokes with you, but is always happy to toke up. No one likes “that guy”. Don’t be “that guy”.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to smoking cannabis correctly, especially in a social setting, is to never assume anyone is going to do things for you. If it’s your first time then exceptions might be made, but frequent casual smokers don’t like to dote on each other. Get in the habit of bringing your own product, be willing to share if the group has shared it with you in the past. Learn how to grind your own bowls; pack them yourself. If there’s a lit bowl or joint being passed around, take a few puffs and pass it on. There’s no reason to hold it if you’re not smoking it, and at that point, you’re just burning through product faster. Clean up after yourself when you’re done, and put your marijuana in a cool, dry area out of reach of prying eyes and grabby hands. You got this.
Marijuana and You
Marijuana affects everyone differently and for different reasons. While some may become super laid back and chill, others might experience slight paranoia or nausea. These are totally common reactions to the pot, but being prepared for the worst can help you to enjoy the best that marijuana has to offer.
It’s also important to take tabs on what you hope for out of your smoking experience. Are you trying to relax and chill out? Are you trying to feel elevated and energized? Maybe a mix of both? Knowing what you want and having folks around you to help guide you through the process can really make the cannabis smoking experience that much better.
What to Expect
In general, there are two kinds of highs. The first is what’s referred to as the body high. The body high is felt mostly below the neck, hence the name. This kind of high focuses on muscle pain, relaxation, maybe sleep aid. This kind of high can come with a feeling of heaviness and extreme comfort. Effectively, this is the kind of high to go for if you’re looking for a couch potato experience. 10/10 would recommend.
On the flip side, you’ve got your head highs. Head highs are any high experience that is felt from the top of your head and trickles down. You might feel energized, elevated, giggly, and hyper. This is where you can also get some of those hyperfocused effects, some paranoia, and anxiety which can turn newbies off from the experience altogether.
How to Help with Coughing
A big obstacle for a lot of new smokers is the prevalence of a hearty coughing session after a thick hit. While you might just want to get all up in there from the start, these kinds of big puffs can leave you gasping for breath for a few minutes.
If you find yourself in this situation, a good place to start is with a deep breath. It might sting the first couple of times, you’ll feel the fire in your chest and a tickle in the back of your throat, but that’s okay. Take a few deep breaths and a sip or two of water. You’ll be back to puffing in no time.
Proper Storage and Maintenance
Marijuana is a plant, a dried and cured processed plant. With that said, it can mold, dry out and crumble easily. You need to make sure that if you’re investing in the smoking process and buying your own weed, you need to make sure you know how to store and maintain your setup and product.
Depending on the consumption method of choice, you might have a pipe or bong to clean regularly. Since marijuana contains terpenes that leave a sticky and musky smelling residue, cleaning out your pipe or bong regularly can help to prevent build-up of gunk, bacteria, and carbon that leave a sour flavor in your mouth. These things are cleaned easily with a bit of rubbing alcohol and elbow grease. You want to soak the pipe in the alcohol and then flush it with water to remove debris.
Alternatively, you might smoke exclusively joints and blunts. If that’s the case, clean-up is kind of inherent at the end of every session, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Storing your weed correctly should be done with care. The best means of stashing your hash is to find a sealable glass jar and put it in a dry and moderately tempered place. If you feel like your product is dry and crumbly, we recommend adding a bit of orange peel to the jar to spruce up your pot.
Hide the Smell
If you’re smoking cannabis in an area that’s less than 420 friendly, you might have the need to hide your activities. There are a few ways of doing this, but the most pervasive property of weed being its smell, that’s where we recommend you start. Things like airing out the room, covering the smoke alarm, putting a wet towel against the bottom of a door to trap odors are great ways to do this. Perhaps the most effective though, are sploofs.
Sploofs are an incredible makeshift filter made with a paper towel or toilet paper roll stuffed with dryer sheets. The whole point is to take a drag on whatever you’re smoking and breathe out through the sploof. The dryer sheets prove themselves helpful at filtering odors and making it harder to determine what the smell actually is. It’s not foolproof, but definitely makes a difference when combined with other tips on this list.
Alternatives to Smoking
Smoking isn’t for everyone, and we didn’t want to leave anyone out. Great options for alternative consumption are things like vaping, topical treatments, and edibles. Edibles are by far one of the most effective ways to consume cannabis besides regular smoking.
Edibles are some of the most self-explanatory but lesser-used means of consumption. Most edible snack items are made with an infused material like butter or margarine, with another option being a manufactured THC extract.
A lot of edible snacks are things like gummy and harder candies, pastries and confections, infused beverages, and other snacks. The possibilities for edibles are only limited by the infusion method used, so anything that uses butter can be made with infused butter and be marijuana edible with the same effects.
A drawback of edibles is that they can be difficult to dose and keep track of. Some folks might not feel effects for up to 15-30 minutes after eating, leading them to eat more and get way too high. After a while, a frequent consumer will start to learn the signs, but the learning curve can be a bit of a challenge.
Smoking is and can be an incredible way of passing the time and socializing with the right mindset. By doing your research before you smoke for the first time, you can help yourself to avoid any negative effects that might occur and to work through any rough patches you might encounter.
There’s a lot to remember and a lot to go through when trying to smoke cannabis correctly. The biggest thing we can recommend is to not think too much about it. Marijuana should be a fun, safe, and manageable way to relax on your time. Don’t be “that guy”, buy your own stuff, and contribute when you can. Stay hydrated, and happy smoking!