How To Properly Inhale Weed
5 min

How To Properly Inhale Weed

5 min

While it looks incredibly cool and easy when seasoned smokers puff about, inhaling cannabis can actually be quite difficult when you first come to try it. We'll show you how to do it properly, whether you're trying to handle a spliff, joint, blunt, vape, pipe, or bong. Trust us, you'll be familiar with the practice way too soon!

If you want to smoke or vape weed, you have to somehow get it into your lungs. No matter how many times you’ve seen others do it, you’ll likely be surprised by the conscious effort it requires when you first come to try it yourself.

Though inhaling cannabis only involves a couple of steps, it is something that has to be learned. In place of a friend who can advise you, we’re here to show you how to inhale cannabis.

What happens when you inhale weed incorrectly?

What Happens When You Inhale Weed Incorrectly?

If weed isn’t properly inhaled, be it from a spliff, blunt, bong, pipe, vape, or some other device, it can hurt and/or make you cough, and also, you might not get high.

You can inhale too hard or too gently. Or, you can just swallow smoke or vapor down into your stomach, where it will make you burp and feel sick, but won’t find its way into your brain.

Inhaling cannabis properly helps you to get the most from your herb, and it reduces the risk of having an unpleasant experience.

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The difference between smoking a joint and a cigarette

The main difference is quite obvious: smoking a joint gets you high, while smoking a cigarette doesn't (or, not to the same degree). In terms of inhaling, the smoke of a joint may feel more intense and dense, but the process is basically the same.

This means, if you smoke cigarettes but have not yet tried to inhale weed, the latter may immediately feel more intuitive to you—but don't start smoking cigarettes to prepare for becoming a stoner, that'd be a really bad idea!

Is inhaling the same as ingesting?

Is Inhaling The Same As Ingesting?

This diagram demonstrates the paths of the different methods of consumption.

Nay—inhaling is not the same as ingesting. When we inhale, we pull vaporized or combusted substances into our lungs, where they pass through the alveoli and into our bloodstream. In this way, compounds such as THC can directly enter our blood without being metabolised. This is why the effects of inhaled cannabis smoke/vapor take effect relatively quickly.

When we ingest something, it passes down the oesophagus and into the stomach, where it is digested. As it becomes digested, certain compounds (such as THC) pass into the liver, where they are metabolised—and only then do they enter our bloodstream. This is why ingested drugs take longer to take effect compared to inhaled ones.

How to inhale and exhale weed

If you’re new to smoking or vaping, then chances are you don’t quite know how to inhale cannabis. Maybe you’ve seen others do it, and thought it looked easy. However, when you try it for yourself, it can actually prove to be slightly difficult.

But don't worry, we’ll guide you through it!

Joints and blunts

In all likelihood, your first-ever experience with cannabis will probably involve a joint, spliff, or blunt. These are the most common methods of consumption, and they work well in social settings. Compared to other methods, they’re good for first-timers as they are not as potent as bongs, pipes, and vaporizers.

Inhaling a joint is a two-part operation. First, you need to get the smoke into your mouth, and second you need to get it into your lungs. Over time, this will become one seamless act, but for now, you’ll need to be conscious of the two steps.

To draw the smoke into your mouth, gently suck on it, much like you would a straw in a soft drink. This doesn't need to be some grand inhale—in fact, it’s better if it’s very small.

After this, your mouth will be full of smoke. Take the joint away from your mouth and breathe in a second time. This second breath will pull the smoke down into your lungs. Again, there doesn’t need to be anything heroic about this. A normal breath will do just fine.

If you’ve never smoked before, expect this to hurt a little. But the smaller the initial toke, and the gentler the second breath, the easier it will be.

Exhale almost immediately. Many people hold smoke in their lungs. However, it’s unclear if this even increases the absorption of THC, and it’s clear that it greatly increases damage to your lungs.

Note: When inhaling the second breath, ensure you breathe in, instead of swallowing. It’s possible to swallow smoke, which will make you feel quite sick.

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Bongs and pipes

Bongs And Pipes

Bongs and pipes are a totally different art, and require much more practice. If you can find someone who knows what they’re doing and is willing to teach you, we’d recommend that! But if you can’t, we’re here to help.

Pipes, and especially bongs, are very strong in terms of effects. So if you’ve never used cannabis before, be careful before having your first smoke with one of these.

Though pipes and bongs are quite different, the general principles around inhaling from them are quite similar. So we’ll give one set of instructions, and you can develop these to fit your utensils.

  1. Cover the carb hole (or rush hole) with a thumb or finger.

  2. Light the herb in the bowl and gently inhale. This inhale should be steady. Breathe only into your mouth, not your lungs. Once again, imagine a straw in a drink.

  3. Fill the chamber with smoke.

  4. Take your finger off the carb hole and inhale sharply (but not too hard). This will pull the air in the chamber into your lungs.

  5. Exhale.

A hit from a bong or pipe can get even experienced stoners incredibly high, so sit back and relax!



Vaporizers lie somewhere in between joints and bongs. And things will work slightly differently depending on what vape you've got.

To inhale using a vape, you need to first inhale into your mouth, and then again into your lungs. The length of the initial inhale tends to be slightly longer than it would be with a joint—especially with devices that have a more resistant draw—but it doesn't need to be.

Also, be aware that hitting a vape can sometimes feel like you're not inhaling much of anything, as not all devices produce huge clouds of vapor. That said, start by taking small inhales and gauging how you feel before proceeding.


Shop for the best portable and desktop vaporizers from the world's top manufacturers here!

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Tips for inhaling weed and things to avoid

Now that we've covered the basics for each device, here are some top tips for inhaling weed, and some things you should avoid:

  • Start small: Smaller hits will hurt less, are easier to manage, and will get you less high.

  • Take breaks: Smoke irritates your throat and lungs. If you feel pain or soreness, take a break.

  • Avoid tobacco: Tobacco is commonly used in joints (and sometimes in bongs and pipes), but it is much harsher than cannabis, and as such hurts more, especially for first-time smokers. Plus, avoiding a nicotine addiction is a good idea!

  • Don’t breathe too hard: Sharp, hard breaths will hurt your throat and lungs, and they’re unnecessary. Try to breathe normally.

  • Roll well! This might be impossible if nobody knows what they’re doing, but it’ll go a long way to improve your hits. A joint that’s too tight is very difficult to draw through, and a joint that’s too loose burns fast and hot, and hurts a lot! A well-rolled joint, on the other hand, burns evenly and draws smoothly. If there's nobody to help, try YouTube for some rolling advice.

  • Don’t be self-conscious: Everyone looks silly when they first begin learning to smoke, so don’t feel bad when you do too.

  • Don’t forget that smoking is bad for you: Smoking will get easier over time, and will stop hurting, which by the way doesn't mean it ceases to be harmful. Never forget that smoking, even without tobacco, is damaging.

How to minimise tar and resin buildup when inhaling

How To Minimise Tar And Resin Buildup When Inhaling

Some strains of weed, and some types of tobacco, create a lot of tar and resin. Sometimes, this can come running out of the filter and onto your tongue. It tastes disgusting!

A well-rolled spliff with no tobacco helps to avoid or reduce this occurrence. But if you want to remove it entirely, use charcoal filters. These remove many of the toxic materials from smoke, providing a smoother, cleaner experience. Note that they don’t make smoking safe or healthy, though.

Inhaling cannabis: Surprisingly difficult

Inhaling Cannabis: Surprisingly Difficult

If you’ve never done it before, then you will probably struggle when you first try to inhale from a spliff, joint, bong, or vape. You’ll cough, your eyes will stream, and you might feel a bit ridiculous. Then, just a moment after, you’ll most likely get high. From here, you’ll improve your smoking skills until you become a master of the craft!

Zamnesia is an otherworldly expert in all things cannabis and psychedelic. Combining that specialist knowledge with hours of scrupulous research, Zamnesia creates outstanding content around the clock. Thanks to their divine personality, we're proud to say Zamnesia has become our ear-to-the-ground for everything to do with mind-altering substances.
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