How to Smoke Weed Like You Know What You’re Doing 2023

How to smoke weed like you know what you're doing

It’s 2023 and you’ve decided this will be the year you learn how to smoke weed – #lifegoals.

Whether you are smoking from a bong, blunt, or pipe the underlying rules for smoking weed is essentially the same.

Once you learn the fundamentals, smoking weed on any device will be easy for you.

In this guide, we break down the absolute basics of smoking cannabis and go over the many different devices to smoke from, which ones are the best for you, and how to smoke each.

If this is your first time smoking weed, we got you covered!

Why Smoke?

Brand new?
Definitely start here ...

THC icon
Step 1: Grinding

How to grind your
cannabis correctly ...

marijuana icon
Step 2: Lighting

How to achieve
an ember cherry ...

lighter icon
Step 3: Inhaling

How to inhale
and exhale correctly ...

inhale icon
Bong or pipe?

Choose the best
device to smoke from ...

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Why is cannabis smoked?

What is really happening when you smoke your weed?

When you light your cannabis, the goal is to combust all the cannabinoids and terpenes so you can inhale them to receive the numerous mind and body benefits.

first time smoking weed
Why is weed smoked

For example, THC evaporates at 315 °F and the Linalool terpene evaporates at 388 °F.

When you light your cannabis with a lighter, the flame hits your cannabis plant at temperatures of 300-600 °F. This will evaporate the THC and Linaool compounds, allowing you to inhale these compounds to receive their full benefits.

The cannabis strains available at your dispensary contain cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG, which provide you with the psychoactive and physiological benefits that make cannabis so popular.

Additionally, terpenes coexist with cannabinoids, and the combined interaction of terpenes and cannabinoids dubbed the “Entourage Effect” delivers you the strain’s unique signature high.

Summary: The purpose of lighting your cannabis is to combust the marijuana to extract the beneficial cannabinoids (THC) and terpenes through the inhaling process.

Steps on smoking weed

how to smoke weed
Steps for smoking cannabis

If this is your first time smoking cannabis here are the steps with a detailed guide on each step below:

  1. Prepare (Grind your weed to an even consistency)
  2. Load Device (place the grounded weed into the device you want to smoke with)
  3. Light (combust the grounded cannabis to form a cherry)
  4. Inhale (inhale the smoke into your diaphragm and exhale fully)

Or learn what device is best to smoke cannabis with.


Cannabis usually comes in nugs or colas. These are the fox tail shape buds you see when you buy an eighth of weed at the dispensary.

Grind your nugs

In order to smoke the cannabis, you first need to break it down to a consistency that will allow for a smooth and even burn.

This can be done most easily with a weed grinder but if you don’t have one you can also grind your weed by hand. I get the best results with an electric weed grinder

A grinder uses metal teeth that shred the dry cannabis herbs. The more you twist the grinder the finer the cannabis particles will be. 

How you grind matters

When breaking your cannabis down, make sure you do not grind too finely or too coarse. You want it right in the middle.

  • If cannabis is ground too finely it will burn too quickly and sometimes small particles will fly into your mouth or the water chamber wasting buds
  • If cannabis is ground too coarsely or unevenly there will be large chunks of weed that will be impossible to fully burn the center, which is a waste of cannabis.

This is achieved by spinning your grinder until you don’t feel any more resistance from the cannabis. In other words, twist your grinder until the twisting becomes frictionless and seamless. 

Make sure to check out our full guide on how to grind weed with a grinder, scissors, or by hand, where we share the exact steps for achieving the fluffiest grinds.

Summary: Use a grinder and grind your cannabis down to a nice fluffy consistency (not too fine and not too coarse). Make sure to remove any stems as well as it’s unnecessary to smoke stems, and the stems can also rip your joint and blunt papers when rolling.

Loading your device

Learning how to smoke weed actually depends on what device you use.  I have a quick way to simplify all the cannabis products for you when it comes to loading your cannabis for smoking.

Generally speaking, you are either smoking from a glass bowl or paper no matter what device you use – let me explain.

loading cannabis
Loading cannabis

Whether you use a bong, chillum, gas mask bong, pipe, or steamroller all of these devices load the cannabis the same way and that’s into a glass bowl.

So when you preparing to smoke your weed, you take the cannabis that you grounded down to an even consistency, and you put that cannabis into the glass bowl.

If you do not use a physical smoking product like a bong or a pipe, you can use rolling papers or blunt papers to roll your weed in. 

When loading a glass bowl, the more grounded cannabis you place into the bowl the bigger the hit will be.

A bigger hit also means more cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavor. Additionally, a larger hit also produces more smoke, is hotter, and takes much more lung capacity to smoke in one pass. 

Rolling papers allow you to smoke much more weed but in partial hits. This means you aren’t forced to intake all of the THC in one massive hit. So rolling papers are easier to smoke, but can be overkill for one person especially if it’s your first time. Smoking joints and blunts are amazing for social smoking.

If it’s your first time smoking cannabis, I suggest you start by loading your bowl with less than half the capacity so the smoke is not too hot and you also don’t intake too much THC.

Summary: You need to load your grounded cannabis into your glass bowl in order to smoke it. If you are not using a physical product and are rolling joints or blunts instead, then you need to roll the joint or blunt in order to smoke it.

Lighting your cannabis

Whether you smoke from a bong, pipe, or blunt, much of your success in smoking marijuana is going to come from how you light your cannabis.

Lighting your cannabis may seem like a no-brainer, but a common mistake most beginners make is over-lighting their cannabis.

how to light cannabis

If you overheat your cannabis buds three things can happen:

  1. You will overburn your cannabinoids drastically reducing the psychoactive components
  2. You will overburn your terpenes reducing the flavor and bodily benefits
  3. The marijuana smoke will become very hot resulting in stress to the lungs and coughing

When lighting your cannabis no matter what device you use, always remember to never press the whole of the flame into your buds for an extended period of time – you will burn away all the precious compounds before you even get a chance to inhale them.

You want to gently graze the surface of your cannabis with your lighter while also softly inhaling. I like to whip the flame in a circular motion on the surface of the grounded cannabis. As you inhale and graze the flame, the cannabis buds will naturally catch fire and create an ember known as a “cherry”.

how to light weed
Always achieve a cherry

This is that tiny little orange ember and once this orange ember is achieved you no longer need your lighter. As you inhale the ember spreads through your grounded plant matter and this is the correct way to evaporate all the essential cannabinoids and terpenes for you to inhale.

Summary: Do not engulf your cannabis strain in fire, instead gently graze the plant with your lighter flame while softly inhaling. By doing this your weed will naturally ignite on its own creating a cherry. As you inhale the cherry will continue to do the lighting for you. If the cherry goes out, just graze your flame on the grounded cannabis again and inhale again until the cherry returns.

Inhaling your cannabis

Another area that many beginners struggle with is the inhalation process.

A common mistake first-time smokers make is they inhale the smoke into the mouth and the back of the throat, but they never bring all of the smoke deep into their lungs where it needs to go to absorb the cannabinoids.

how to inhale weed
Inhaling cannabis

We wrote a comprehensive guide on how to inhale weed properly that will truly teach you how to inhale correctly but here is a quick breakdown:

  1. Draw the smoke into your mouth
  2. Pull the smoke into your lungs
  3. Hold for one second
  4. Exhale until no more smoke is coming out of your mouth

An easy way to know that you are bringing the smoke into your lungs is your diaphragm should be lifting. The physical signs to look for when you are inhaling the smoke into your lungs are your rib cage and stomach expanding slightly. Your upper chest and shoulders should remain still.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to hold the smoke for longer durations. You can absorb up to 95% of the THC that you combusted by simply holding the smoke in your lungs for about one second.

exhaling cannabis
Prevent coughing

Once that second is over, make sure to exhale your smoke completely. What I like to do is watch the smoke come out of my mouth.

I keep exhaling until there is no smoke left. You do not want to stop exhaling and leave smoke in your lungs because this leads to some very
uncomfortable coughing.

It took me years to learn this, but your exhale should be just as powerful as your inhale.

How should I smoke my weed?

Now it’s time for the fun part – deciding how you are going to smoke your weed.

Due to the rapid legalization of cannabis nationwide, there is a plethora of options to choose from when smoking cannabis.

You may have your own unique set of needs and wants when it comes to the smoking experience, and each device has its ways to deliver these results.

Below I’ll go over the pros and cons of each smoking device or method.

Here is some general rule of thumb for helping you to decide between devices:

Device cheat sheet

Big or small: The smaller a cannabis smoking device the hotter the smoke and the larger the device the smoother the smoke. When you combust your marijuana the smoke is hot. The longer your smoke has to travel, the more time it has to cool down. Tall bongs forces the smoke to travel much further delivering you a much smoother smoking experience, whereas a pipe has less travel distance giving you a hotter smoking experience which can lead to coughing.

Water filtration: You may see bongs advertised with “water filtration” but essentially what that means is cooling. Water chambers produce bubbles and your hot smoke must travel across the surface of these water bubbles cooling the smoke tremendously. The result is much smoother hits. The downside to water filtration is that it is proven to reduce THC.

Intake amount: Larger devices like bongs allow for you to take much larger hits. This is why bongs are popular because they can give very strong hits (known as bong rips) that deliver a powerful high compared to smaller devices. The downside to taking larger hits is that the chances to cough are much higher and you raise your tolerance level much faster, which forces you to get high off more each time.

Smoking with a pipe

Profile: a weed pipe is amazing if you are an occasional smoker or you want a daily evening driver. You can easily hide it in a cabinet and there is no bong water odor. They are travel-friendly, affordable, keep your tolerance low, and are much more discreet.

Pros: A pipe does not use water filtration so you get more THC per hit. Pipes deliver manageable hits with the option of the carburetor to increase the intensity of the hit when needed.

Cons: Since a pipe is smaller, the smoke has less travel distance to cool it down, so the result is much hotter and harsher hits which can lead to coughing.

Check out the best weed pipes of 2023 tested by our staff.

How to smoke with a pipe:

how to smoke a pipe

Check out our full guide on how to smoke a bowl.

  1. Grind your cannabis to a fluffy consistency.
  2. Place the ground cannabis into the pipe’s glass bowl.
  3. Graze the dry herb with your lighter while softly inhaling to achieve an ember “cherry”.
  4. Once the cherry is achieved, place your thumb over the carb hole (usually on the side of the bowl area).
  5. Begin inhaling deeply into your lungs (you should see the cherry glowing and hear it crackling as you inhale)
  6. Remove your thumb from the carb hole and this will clear the entire bowl chamber of all the smoke, delivering a “burst” of smoke at the tail end.
  7. Make sure to exhale the smoke entirely from your lungs until no more smoke comes out of your mouth. 

Smoking with a bong

Profile: a bong is amazing for smoking at home and sharing with roommates or your spouse. They are great for delivering larger hits known as “bong rips”.

Pros: A bong allows you to intake much larger amounts of THC while cooling the smoke with extended travel time and water filtration through bubble surface cooling.

Cons: Bongs are usually big and cumbersome, and are really meant for at-home use. They can get dirty rather quickly.

Check out the best bongs of 2023 tested by our staff.

How to smoke with a bong:

how to smoke a bong
  1. Grind your cannabis
  2. Place the ground cannabis into the glass bowl.
  3. Notice that the glass bowl can be removed from the downstem.
  4. Graze the dry herb with your lighter while softly inhaling to achieve an ember “cherry”.
  5. Once the cherry is achieved, draw the smoke into the bong’s water chamber.
  6. Once the cherry goes out, remove the glass bowl from the downstem.
  7. Begin inhaling the smoke from the water chamber into your lungs.
  8. Make sure to exhale the smoke entirely from your lungs until no more smoke comes out of your mouth. 

Smoking with papers

Profile: smoking with joint papers or blunt papers is perfect if you want to manage and control your hits. It’s amazing for social settings when sharing with a group. The popular phrase “puff, puff, pass” was coined for the rotation of smoking with joints and blunts.

Pros: Smoking weed with blunts and joints allows you to smoke as much cannabis as you want, but without having to take it all in at once like a bong rip. This makes the process a bit more comfortable.

Cons: Rolling a joint or blunt can be a burdensome process. If you don’t know how to do it correctly you could get bleeds and cracks in the paper, effectively ruining the entire smoking experience.

Check out the official Whiz Khalifa’s guide to rolling a joint, it’s by far one of my favorite rolling methods for paper.

How to smoke with a joint/blunt:

how to smoke a joint
  1. First roll your blunt or joint: full video here.
  2. Place the thick end of the joint or blunt into the flame of your lighter, while softly puffing.
  3. Once you achieve an ember cherry on this end the blunt/joint is activated and you can now smoke it as you would a cigar or cigarette.
  4. To smoke it simply draw the smoke into your mouth, and move the smoke into your lungs.
  5. You should feel your diaphragm lift and your rib cage expand slightly as the smoke fills your lungs.
  6. Remember to not ash and let the ash build up as much as possible. The white ash works as a cooling system for your weed.
  7. The bottom of your joint or blunt will be filled with much more resin, making the hits harsher. As you get closer to the tail end of the blunt/joint, the hits will be much hotter.
  8. You can use a roach clip or a blunt holder as it may be very hot to hold a tiny blunt when the cherry gets very close to your fingers.

Smoking with a steamroller

Profile: a steamroller is a pipe that delivers a much stronger hit than a standard spoon pipe. This makes it perfect if you want a handheld device that is waterless (stronger THC intake) but delivers a very strong rip.

Pros: A steamroller delivers hits as strong as bongs but for a fraction of the size. They are also more affordable than bongs and take up less space.

Cons: The downside to steamrollers is the hits are very harsh and you will probably cough. It’s meant for the stoner who wants the strongest hits to get super baked.

Check out the best steamroller pipes of 2023 tested by our staff.

How to smoke with a steamroller:

how to smoke a steamroller pipe
  1. Grind your cannabis.
  2. Place the ground cannabis into the steamroller’s glass bowl.
  3. Place your entire hand over the giant carb hole at the end of the pipe – opposite to where you inhale.
  4. Graze the dry herb with your lighter while softly inhaling to achieve an ember “cherry”.
  5. Begin drawing smoke into the pipe’s glass body. Let the smoke fill until the ember cherry goes away.
  6. Remove your hand from the carb hole and inhale deeply to shoot all of the smoke into your lungs.
  7. Exhale deeply and fully. Steamrollers are known to push plenty of smoke into your lungs, so you want to make sure you evacuate all the smoke to avoid coughing.

Smoking weed with a bubbler

Profile: a bubbler delivers an experience similar to a pipe but with water-cooling features like a bong’s percolator. They are handheld and make a perfect device if you want to smoke weed with a smaller device, but need some cooling to avoid coughing.

Pros: A bubbler can essentially deliver hits as strong as a bong, with some water cooling, but saves you a ton of space and is much cheaper than a bong.

Cons: Since a bubbler is smaller, the water chamber gets dirtier faster and it also doesn’t have as much water filtration as a bong so the smoke isn’t as smooth.

Check out the best bubblers of 2023 or another bubbler variation known as the hammer bubbler.

How to smoke a bubbler:

how to smoke a bubbler
  1. Grind your cannabis
  2. Place the ground cannabis into the bubbler’s glass bowl.
  3. Graze the dry herb with your lighter while softly inhaling to achieve an ember “cherry”.
  4. Once the cherry is achieved, begin drawing smoke into the water chamber. You should hear the water bubbling and filtering but no smoke should be going to your mouth yet.
  5. Once the ember cherry dissolves you can remove the bowl and then inhale the smoke deeply into your lungs.
  6. Make sure to exhale the smoke entirely from your lungs until no more smoke comes out of your mouth. 
  7. Bubblers should change their water every other day, as the resin cakes up the down stems slits and this can lead to clogging.

Smoking with a chillum

Profile: a chillum is one of the smallest smoking devices perfect if you want some stealth hits or just want to manage and keep your tolerance low.

Pros: A chillum is probably one of the best devices for learning how to smoke cannabis. Mainly because it gives first-time smokers much less THC intake so they don’t get too high. The hits don’t make you cough, and it’s super easy to smoke.

Cons: After about a month your tolerance will raise and the chillum pipe won’t really get you high anymore. You will have to take back-to-back hits, which effectively get a ton of resin in the chillum’s pipe chamber and this leads to clogging.

Check out the best chillums of 2023 tested by our staff.

How to smoke with a chillum:

how to smoke a chillum
  1. Grind your cannabis
  2. Leave the ground cannabis in your grinder, and take the chillum’s bowl end and stick it down into the ground cannabis.
  3. Push and twist over and over until the ground cannabis is loaded into the chillum’s glass bowl end.
  4. Graze the dry herb with your lighter while softly inhaling to achieve an ember “cherry”.
  5. Once the cherry is achieved, pull very gently and inhale the smoke into your lungs.
  6. If you pull too hard you can get some Scooby snacks (which are ash and plant particles) in your mouth. This is very common with chillums.
  7. Make sure to exhale the smoke entirely from your lungs until no more smoke comes out of your mouth. 

Final thoughts

Jake Dela Cruz

Jake Dela Cruz

Organic cultivator

In this guide, we discussed all the fundamentals of smoking cannabis. Whether it’s your first time smoking weed or you want to improve on your current experience this guide covers all the fundamentals with expert tips you won’t find anywhere else. 

My name is Jake Dela Cruz and I’m an organic cannabis cultivator and have been smoking weed for well over 20 years now. All the input and advice in this article are from my past experience with smoking marijuana. My goal each time when I smoke is to get the most out of my marijuana strain, by promoting the highest cannabinoid and terpene pull possible, and the advice in this article teaches you expert tips and tricks for smoking pot. 

Jake De La Cruz
I've been smoking weed for over 20 years

Preparing your cannabis: make sure your buds are grounded to a medium-fluffy consistency. This ensures you get an even and smooth burn when smoking your marijuana.

Loading cannabis: Understand how to load your ground herbs correctly. Loading a large bowl will mean much stronger and hotter hits. 

Lighting your weed: The lighter must be used sparingly when smoking cannabis. Overburning your buds will reduce trichomes, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Always graze the surface of the herbs to try to achieve a cherry first. The cherry is the optimal way to light your marijuana for combustion smoking.

Inhaling your THC smoke: inhaling is the most crucial step. If done correctly you will get the maximum THC benefits. Make sure to perform a complete inhale by moving the smoke from your mouth into your lungs by lifting your diaphragm and extending your rib cage. Also most importantly exhale as strongly and as deeply as you inhaled.

I hope this guide helped you truly understand how to smoke weed in the most efficient manner possible. We want you to get the most out of your buds with little to no waste of THC. After all, cannabis is an expensive plant so it’s worth protecting your investment by learning how to smoke in the most optimized way in all areas from lighting to inhaling.

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