How to Smoke Weed: A Guide for Newbies
So you want to smoke weed, but you’ve got a few questions. We understand. We’ve all been there.
Nothing is more intimidating than going up to a group of smokers and not knowing what you’re doing. You don’t want to be that guy who accidentally blows all of the weed out of the pipe or starts coughing all over everyone.
And then what happens when you actually do get high? Are you going to be weird? Will you enjoy it? Will you get high at all? Are you ever going to make friends at parties?
Alright, calm down buddy. You’re going to be alright.
We’ve got all of the answers to the questions you think are “uncool” to ask about smoking weed. Now that Canada has legalized cannabis, a lot more people are smoking for the first time. If you’re one of those people, we’ll teach you how to do it and not look like a total buffoon.
Let’s get to it.
Is Smoking in Public Legal? A Guide to Canada’s Cannabis Laws
In October 2018, cannabis officially became a legal substance throughout Canada. But that doesn’t mean that you can go plant an acre of marijuana and start giving it away in the streets. Each province has different laws concerning the consumption of cannabis, where you can do it, and how much you can have on you at a time.
Let’s quickly go over where it’s legal to publicly smoke cannabis and where you have to keep your smoking to your house.
Provinces Where Public Consumption of Marijuana Is Legal (You Can Smoke Anywhere You Can Smoke Tobacco)
- British Columbia
- Quebec (but you’re not allowed to smoke on schools and university campuses)
Provinces Where Public Consumption of Marijuana Is Limited
- Nova Scotia
Provinces Where Public Consumption of Marijuana Is Prohibited (You Can Still Smoke In Private Residences)
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Prince Edward Island
In every province except Quebec and Alberta, you need to be 19 to legally smoke weed. (Quebec and Alberta have lowered the age to 18.)
Be careful and review the laws of your individual province before you start smoking. As Canada adapts to the legalization of cannabis, these laws may change.
Can You Smoke Weed Without Getting High?
Not everyone wants to get high. (We know, shocker, right?) A lot of new smokers aren’t consuming cannabis for the psychoactive side effects – they may want to treat a variety of mental and physical health conditions. CBD, one of the main chemical compounds in cannabis, can help to treat anxiety, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy.
If you want to smoke weed for the medical benefits, you can find strains that won’t get you high. Harlequin, ACDC, and Ringo’s Gift are three examples of strains that are high in CBD and low in THC (which is the chemical compound that gets you high.) Patients can also acquire CBD edibles, CBD oil for vaporizers, and other forms of CBD that administer the benefits of CBD without any THC involved.
Talk to a medical professional before you start using CBD to treat specific conditions. They may be able to recommend the best methods for consuming CBD and different products that work best for your concerns.
Six Ways to Smoke Weed
Okay, ready to smoke? You have to round up the necessary materials.
Unless you’re next in line to puff-puff-pass, it’s time to do some shopping for pieces, papers, or wraps – aka the “devices” that help you smoke weed.
There are many different ways to smoke weed, and although each smoker has their preference, there isn’t one supreme way to inhale. They all require a bit of cash and a bit of work. Let’s explore the different ways you can smoke.
If you’ve enjoyed a rolled cigarette before, all you need to do is replace tobacco with weed and you’ve got a joint. (Some people add a little bit of tobacco to their joint to satisfy their nicotine cravings and get high at the same time.) They’re a good way to enjoy a little bit of weed discreetly. Carrying a bong around is not so subtle, especially if you’re trying to sneak into a festival or a place where drugs aren’t so welcome. Plus, you can buy papers for $2 a pop.
The downside of joints is that they’re not easy to roll. Unless you’ve been rolling cigarettes for a hot minute, you’ll probably fumble over your first joint or two. If you’re smoking weed for the first time at a party, bring some pre-rolled joints along so you’re not trying and failing in front of that party guest that you’re trying to impress.
(New smokers have it so easy these days…you can buy pre-rolled joints online!)
Blunts are like big-boy joints. Instead of cigarette papers, you use blunt wraps traditionally reserved for cigars. This allows you to fit a lot more bud into one wrap. Blunt wraps are also thicker than cigarette papers, so they’re generally easier to roll.
Not ready to roll? Pipes are a great alternative to papers. They are made with three different “holes,” and you need to use each of them to smoke. The first hole is the mouthpiece at the end of the pipe. You put your mouth on it. Easy.
The second hole is a teeny tiny one in the bottom of the bowl. The bowl is where you put your weed; once you light up, the smoke travels from the hole under the bowl to the mouthpiece.
Pretty easy to follow so far, right? The last hole is the most confusing. It’s called “the carb,” and it helps to move the smoke along. When you first grab your bowl and start to light up your weed, you should cover the carb with your finger. As you smoke, you’ll release your finger and you’ll be able to get more smoke in your lungs
We’ll go over all of this later when we explain how to actually smoke weed. But for now, just know that pipes are one of the easiest ways to smoke weed. All you need to do is put your weed in the bowl of the pipe and you’re ready to go!
Bongs are a big-boy pipe. They are the massive tubular instruments that you might see super stoners using in their basement. These smoking devices are only slightly more confusing than pipes, but they surely are worth the extra work.
Bongs typically have a bit of water in them; the smoke goes through the water and gives the user a smoother inhale. (If you do decide to run the route of the bong, remember to replace your water frequently. It gets gross.) Like pipes, they also have a bowl where you pack your weed. The bowl sits in a “stem” and is removable. Once you’ve lit your bowl and generated a bit of smoke from your bong, you’ll remove the bowl and inhale the rest of the smoke from the bong.
If you’ve never smoked weed before, don’t start with a bong rip. Consumers get a lot of smoke from a bong, and this can be too much for a lot of newbies, even if you’re using a tiny bong. Don’t worry. You’ll get there.
Bubblers are a happy medium between bongs and pipes. They have all of the same parts as a bong (bowl, stem, etc.) and use water to transport smoke. But bubblers are a lot more portable than pipes and put less smoke into your lungs. If you’re not ready for big bong rips, but you still like the idea of your smoke going through water before it hits your lips, try a bubbler.
Stoners have gotten pretty creative over the years when it comes to making pipes.
If you have access to none of the above smoking instruments, you can still craft a piece for yourself and start smoking. However, we definitely recommend that you get the hang of a pipe before you start smoking out of apples and beer cans. (Oh yeah. We said apples.)
Gathering The Supplies
Once you’ve chosen your weapon of choice, it’s time to gather your supplies. Now that weed is legal in Canada, you can grab most of this stuff in one order. Isn’t legalization wonderful?
Obviously. If you want to smoke weed, you’ll need some weed.
But what kind of weed do you want to smoke?
Now that weed is legal in Canada, you can choose from a wide variety of different strains. Think of these strains like flavours. Some will make you feel nice and perky, others will help you sleep at night. Some will smell sweet and sticky, others will smell like you’ve been dropped in the middle of a forest.
If you’re not as concerned with the specific compounds that make up your weed (aka terpenes,) at least know whether you want a sativa or an indica.
Sativas give you a more cerebral high and keep you energized throughout the day. Indicas hit you throughout the body, calming your system down. Hybrids may do one or the other depending on the strain.
Not sure what strain to buy? We recommend mixing and matching a few different strains to see which ones you like the best.
Now that you’ve chosen a type of weed, you’ll need to choose how much you need. If this is your first purchase and you’re still not sure about smoking, feel free to grab 3.5 grams at a time. (Have you ever heard the term “an eighth” before? This is an eighth. It’s an eighth of an ounce, which is way more weed than you need right now.)
You won’t smoke all of this weed at once. A gram will pack a few joints or a few bowls. The first time you smoke, you shouldn’t consume an entire gram.
Smoking Instrument and Lighter
If you want to roll a joint, you’ll need rolling papers. If you want to smoke from a bong, you’ll need a bong. Pretty simple stuff here.
You can buy all of the smoking paraphernalia you need online now that weed is legal, but you’ll also be able to find great glassware at local markets or small shops.
Also, you’ll need a lighter. Without that, you’re out of luck.
When you buy flower online, you’ll get a nice hunk of the stuff. It looks beautiful, but it’s not ready for smoking quite yet. In order to prepare your weed for your pipe or your bong, you’ll need to put it through a grinder.
Grinders are pretty simple to use. They look like a little box of candy, but once you unscrew the top lid, you’ll find a bunch of spikes and holes. Pop your flower throughout these spikes and reseal the lid. Give your grinder a few twists – the grinder will literally grind up your weed and create smaller pieces that you can put in your bowl or throughout a joint.
There are ways to grind your weed without one of these guys, but if you’re buying some weed and a bong online, we recommend slipping a grinder into your order. Trust us. Grinders are a handy little tool to have if you’re buying a hunk of flower at a time.
Okay, you don’t need snacks. But if you get the munchies and don’t want to leave your house, it’s good to have something nearby. Snacks are great. Just don’t confuse your munchies snacks with edibles that contain THC.
Do You Inhale?
Okay, so here’s the section where we answer all of the questions you’re too nervous to ask your friends. Here’s how you actually smoke the weed.
Once you’ve rolled up your joint or your blunt, or you’ve grinded up your weed and placed it in your bong, it’s time to actually consume your cannabis. So how do you do it? Like a cigarette? Cigar? Like something entirely different?
Don’t worry guys. We got you. Here’s how you actually smoke your weed:
- Pack your bowl, roll your joint, do what you need to do to prepare your materials. If you are smoking with a pipe/bubbler/bong, know that you don’t have to pack it too tight. You also don’t have to pack it all the way to the top of the bowl, unless you’re smoking with a group of friends. A little pinch of weed will be enough for your first few hits.
- Bring that sucker up to your lips and flick your lighter on. Place the fire at the end of your joint/blunt or directly to the weed in your bowl.
- (If you’re taking a hit from a pipe, put your finger directly over the little “extra” hole. This is called the carb.)
- Take in a deep, smooth inhale that goes right to your lungs. You don’t have to go overboard. Stay calm as you breathe in; if you inhale too much too fast, you’ll just end up coughing it out.
- Remove your lips from your piece (or your finger from the carb) and inhale just a little more clean air. If you’re taking a bong rip, remove the bowl from the “stem” where the bowl is sitting.
- Hold it for no more than two seconds. You heard us. More than two seconds is pretty unnecessary.
- Slowly exhale through the mouth. Try not to cough and spread your germs everywhere, alright?
And that’s it! You’ve taken a hit! Congratulations. Are you feeling it yet?
Will I Get High The First Time?
This is another big question that newbie pot smokers may be afraid to ask their friends. Here’s our take (or rather, our “toke”) on it:
You’ll probably get high the first time. After all, we just gave you nice, detailed instructions on how to inhale weed. If you purchase great bud from a licensed retailer and inhaled properly, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get high. Of course, it’s not going to kick in automatically. It might take a few minutes for you to start feeling a little fuzzy.
Don’t get all worked up the first time you smoke. It’s just weed, man. Chill out and wait for the good feelings to come in.
Am I Going To Feel Paranoid?
How do you expect to feel when you’re high? Chilled out? Spacey?
That’s the stereotypical reaction to weed; you smoke up and all your worries disappear. Unfortunately, some people have the opposite reaction when they smoke. They feel especially anxious, or even paranoid, when they smoke.
When the THC hits your brain, it will start to encourage the release of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. These chemicals are your “happy chemicals.” But when the brain recognizes an increase in serotonin in GABA, it slows the release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is a type of stress hormone. When you experience a limited amount of norepinephrine, you may start to sink into your couch a little deeper.
You may feel this way.
For some people, a reduced amount of norepinephrine reduces anxiety and feelings of alertness. Without this anxiety, you feel chilled out. For other people, a reduced amount of norepinephrine will encourage the release of cortisol, which is a serious stress hormone. When cortisol is released, you’ll start to question whether your good stoner buddies actually like you or whether smoking was a good idea in the first place.
How will you know if you’re someone who feels anxious or chilled out after smoking weed? You’ll just have to try it out for yourself. Cannabis consumption often requires a lot of experimentation. If smoking an indica doesn’t feel great, try smoking a sativa. Or eating an edible instead. Or smoking a bit less the next time.
We recommend starting slow the first time you smoke. Don’t chainsmoke one joint after the other without giving yourself time to see how you feel. A few puffs may get you where you want to go, and once you’ve taken a giant bong rip, you can’t go back.
Risks of Smoking Weed
While marijuana was demonized for decades in Canada and throughout the world, weed advocates have argued time and time again that it’s significantly safer and healthier than alcohol or tobacco.
But is it?
Unfortunately, due to restrictions related to its legal status, scientists have not been able to do a whole lot of research on the effects of smoking marijuana. There are still a lot of questions about the long-term effects of marijuana on the brain and the body. What we do know is that smoking does have some negative effects on the lungs.
And we’re not just talking about smoking marijuana. We mean smoking any substance.
Marijuana and tobacco are significantly different substances, but the actual act of smoking creates similar risks, no matter what you’re actually smoking. Inhaling any type of smoke, even if it’s from a campfire, exposes you to a number of carcinogens and toxins. The deep inhales that marijuana smokers take create a higher risk of exposure to tar and other toxins.
Habitual smoking can cause damage to the lungs and the entire immune system. When you inhale smoke, you risk killing cells in the lungs that eliminate harmful mucus and dust. With these cells gone, you face a higher risk of blocked lungs. That doesn’t sound too fun.
Learn the risks of smoking weed before you start to develop a new habit and inhale responsibly.
Alternatives to Smoking Weed
Did our little disclaimer bum you out? Don’t throw all of your weed in the trash just yet. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of smoking weed, or you want to experiment with different ways of consuming cannabis, you have options. Other ways to consume cannabis include:
- Eating edibles
- Ingesting THC/CBD capsules
- Topical products
One of the fun things about marijuana is that there is lots of room for experimentation. Sativas, indicas, bongs, vapes – there are always new things to try and new ways to consume cannabis. Keep an open mind, but always use caution when trying out new methods of smoking weed or experimenting with cannabis. Happy smoking!