So you’re finally ready to try cannabis for the first time, or maybe the last time you smoked was 20 years ago and you’re ready to start back up. Either way, the very idea may seem a bit scary with all the rumors about the strength of weed today and NY Times columnists losing their marbles for hours on end. Where the hell do you start and how do you smoke weed safely? We can help make your first cannabis experience more enjoyable.

Unless you seek specific therapeutic benefits, in which case you should reference our CBD content, you are likely looking to catch a pleasurable buzz. As easy as that may sound, the cannabis market has significantly evolved over the past several years and the options can be daunting to navigate. In this guide we will help you determine the appropriate strain, dosage, and consumption method for a positive first-time experience.

Understanding the Basics

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Although it’s tempting to simply eat a cannabis-infused brownie, we don’t recommend doing so. The effects associated with ingested cannabis have a delayed onset time, last much longer than the other consumption methods (anywhere from 4 to 8+ hours), and can be significantly more intense.

Consumption Method

The recommended consumption method for novice users is either smoking or vaporizing cannabis; the reason being that dosage control is relatively easy compared to other consumption methods. Smoking cannabis is the traditional method and involves inhaling the smoke released by the heated buds.

You can pack a one hitter pipe or roll it into a joint. A bong is another alternative and will result in the smoothest hit as the smoke is filtered through water prior to being inhaled, but the intensity of a bong hit is not recommended for novice users. If you find the effects of smoking cannabis to be too intense, we suggest vaporization as a more mild alternative.

For those looking to avoid the potential respiratory irritation caused by smoking, we recommend vaporizing for the first time. A vaporizer is a device that heats cannabis buds and/or concentrates to a specific (lower) temperature, which causes the cannabinoids (beneficial compounds like THC and CBD) stored in the plant’s trichomes to evaporate into a gas without combusting any plant material. In our experience, vaporization provides a more forgiving, manageable, and mild high than smoking cannabis.

Strain Selection

how to smoke weed choosing strains

If you’re feeling good about the vaporizer route, the photo above may be confusing. Just remember, the golden liquid in your vaporizer cartridge is simply a concentrated, extracted version of the original cannabis buds, and should be labeled indica, sativa, or hybrid at the very least.

Some cartridges may have multiple strains inside them, while others will be strain specific. Weed is like wine – every strain has a history and some dispensaries have garden blends; the same way vineyards blend grapes to make a more unique flavor profile. The key terms to understand are indica and sativa. These terms are used to describe the two major species of the cannabis plant that induce markedly different effects.

Choosing between indica and sativa varieties of cannabis is dependent on your desired effects. Those seeking an upbeat, focused, and creative experience, should select a sativa dominant strain. Alternatively, those looking for relaxing, appetite inducing, and sedative effects should choose an indica dominant strain. Those in search of a great anytime smoke with a more balanced high should try a hybrid strain (one that combines elements of both the indica and sativa species through the breeding process). For more detailed information, reference our strain selection guide.

Dosage

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For first-time smokers, one or two inhalations is all it takes to feel THC’s powerful effects. We recommend first-timers wait 15-20 minutes after smoking before deciding to take additional inhalations, as the effects can become more pronounced over this period. As you get more accustomed to your preferred dosage you can take additional hits for a stronger effect. However, you should never feel pressured to finish a bowl or joint, you can always come back to it. If your only option is to ingest cannabis, we recommend starting with a dose of 5mg of THC. Everyone’s metabolism is different and therefore has a different reaction to edibles. The important part is to WAIT after you ingest as onset can take up to TWO HOURS. As you become more familiar with your edible tolerance, it will be easier to adjust dosage.

How to Light a Joint Properly

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Like so many other parts of the joint rolling process, everyone has their own style of lighting a joint. Not only do you have some options when it comes to the ignition source, but there is also a bit of a technique involved in achieving an even burn with a powerful cherry right from the start.

Some cannabis consumers prefer traditional lighters (hello, classic Bic!), while others favor the more natural hemp wick to eliminate inhaling fuel. Personal preferences aside, we can help you properly ignite the slow-burning joint you worked so hard to roll.

No matter what you ignite with, patience is key!

Do: Create the Cherry Slowly

Even the best-rolled joint can be sabotaged by hasty lighting! To light a joint that smokes slowly and evenly, start by applying flame to only the tip while slowly rotating the joint in your fingers.

The objective is to create a cherry (the portion of the joint that is actively burning) at the tip of the joint that will burn down the length of the joint evenly. Be patient! It’s different from lighting a cigarette: creating a cherry without inhalation typically takes a bit more direct heat and time.

Once the cherry is off to a strong, even start, you can use a combination of inhalation and additional flame application (at separate times — not together!) to round and even it out as needed.

After the first few hits, a correctly lit joint will continue to burn evenly, as illustrated below.

Don’t: Inhale During Ignition

Applying flame to the joint tip while inhaling might seem like the right thing to do because it is similar to how cigars and cigarettes are lit. However, we are dealing with cannabis here, not tobacco, so the technique doesn’t carry over to joints.

As cool as it looks, we don’t recommend lighting while drawing on the joint during ignition, as it often results in an uneven cherry and a higher likelihood of canoeing, the dreaded run of fast-burning herb that can sabotage a good joint.

This can be especially problematic with twax joints and blunts, as you can ignite the BHO to the point that it burns out of control, ruining your hard work. Follow these links to learn more about the different types of cannabis concentrates, and how to safely make your own dabs or hash oil at home.

Whatever you do, just make sure you have a heat source at your disposal! While it may sound obvious, we can almost guarantee that the lack of a lighter has halted more than one of your joint sparking operations.

We will admit that the cigarette method is fair game in outdoor, high-wind scenarios (an uneven cherry is better than no cherry at all), but this is an in-a-pinch solution rather than a go-to. There are some more effective alternatives, like a one-hitter.

Pro Tip: How to Light a One-Hitter

A one-hitter is an elongated pipe with a very small bowl that makes a great alternative when you don’t have a joint handy or smoking one isn’t practical. You should use a grinder card to load it, and then feel free to take the quintessential ciggy-style rip!

With a pipe like this, you do not need to worry about cornering the bowl since the amount of herb is so tiny. It’s easier to light a bowl without burning your fingers when using the one-hitter! We highly recommend the Marley Natural Taster.

Joint Smoking Etiquette

 

No matter your smoking experience level, it’s always important to stay current on your joint etiquette — nobody wants to be “that guy.” By following the code of conduct below, you’ll ensure you don’t embarrass yourself the next time you’re handed a joint. Think of this guide as a sort of cotillion for joint smokers – retain your invite to the smoke circle with these helpful tips.

Respect Rolling Seniority

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You don’t have to be the best joint roller in the world, but you should know how your rolling skills stack up against others. If you can’t roll well and you know someone else can, it’s best to let him or her take the reins. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice though! One day you might find yourself as the most experienced roller available, and we can help you improve your joint rolling skills for when that day comes.

Learn to Use a Crutch

 

A crutch can be made from just about any paper-like material (a paper scrap, a business card, we’ve even seen one MacGyvered from a straw wrapper — anything goes), and you can even buy pre-cut crutches. There is no need to hand someone a sloppy joint that barely rips. Crutches eliminate Scooby snacks, soggy ends, and make the entire social smoking experience more pleasant. Furthermore, you can use the crutch as a handle when you hand the joint to the person next to you. Similarly, if you’re on the receiving end of the hand-off, grab the joint by the crutch instead of crushing the tube of ground cannabis.

Don’t Expect to Hit it without Contributing

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We all know someone who frequently jumps in the joint rotation without contributing – not cool! Don’t be this person. Even if you don’t have bud, it’s appreciated when someone offers cash, food, or something else useful if you want in on the joint. Those who typically smoke out the group will take notice, and you’ll maintain a comfortable, open invite.

He Who Rolled Shall Light

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The person who rolled the joint has the right to light it and hit it first. While this sounds trivial, wouldn’t you be upset if the joint you just spent time rolling was carelessly lit like a cigarette by an amateur? It’s acceptable for the roller to offer this privilege to someone else, but they have full control over the ignition process.

Puff, Puff, Pass

This is the cardinal rule of joint smoking – take two hits and then pass that thing! Don’t hog the joint or it may be the last time you’re welcome in that smoking circle. If you’re smoking with close friends and you have a different rule, that’s okay – house rules are a thing, after all — but in most scenarios, stick to puff, puff, pass unless otherwise instructed.

Ash Before You Pass

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You don’t want to be responsible for ruining your friends favorite piece of clothing or furniture – ash before you pass! It’s very simple. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of an un-ashed joint, so don’t put that on the next person in rotation.  Ash, then pass.

The Joint is Not a Microphone

 

Cannabis has a unique way of bringing people together and part of getting acquainted is telling stories. By all means, keep sharing, but please don’t use the joint as your personal microphone! Remember rule #5? Nobody likes it when you hold the joint and forget to smoke it until the cherry goes out.  The joint is not the Talking Stick, so please don’t treat it as such!

Stick to the Original Rotation

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Regardless of whether you’re actually standing in a circle, everyone should stick to the original joint rotation. Typically, the joint roller lights the joint and passes it to the left. The joint continues to be passed left until everyone hits the joint once and the ‘circle’ is completed. It’s more relaxing when this order is maintained until the joint is finished. Otherwise, no one knows who’s turn it is, making for a confusing time and creating the possibility of skipping someone inadvertently.

Keep Your Exhale to Yourself

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This is a common accident, but be mindful of the direction and force with which you exhale your hit. As pleasant as cannabis smoke is, no one likes to take a cloud to the face. A slight upward or downward tilt of the head when exhaling can alleviate this faux pas. And, if you do accidentally exhale right in someone’s face, own up to it — then, try not to let it happen again.  It’s common to get tripped up by a breeze or fan on occasion, but it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.

Don’t Pass the Roach

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The passing of the joint is a ritualistic process, and being on the receiving end means two more hits…unless, you get passed a roach. Not cool. If the joint is gone, put it out – there’s no need to pass the roach. It’s like getting a gift wrapped box with no present inside.  When it’s time to let it go, let it go.

How to Smoke Weed Without Coughing

Most people were never actually “taught” how to breathe in the traditional sense – it’s one of the first things you do straight out the gate, and it’s generally understood that you’ve got it under control from there. Breathing is an unconscious process that occurs 20,000+ times a day.

It turns out that how you breathe may merit some attention: not only does how you breathe affect how you feel (both physically and emotionally), it also plays a critical role in inhaling smoke properly.

No one likes choking and coughing every time they smoke, that’s why we’re dedicated to spreading the information you need to learn how to inhale properly – using these techniques will help you cough less and get higher on each hit!

We have tried literally dozens of techniques to find out how to best hit a bong or take a pull off a joint without coughing. Regardless of how you prefer to consume, we’ll help you learn to smoke without coughing. Everyone wants to take smooth, potent hits and exhale calmly like you know what you’re doing — learn how here.

Use a Grinder

You may already know this, but how the cannabis is ground is key to the quality of your smoking experience, whether you choose a bong or a blunt or a vape. Using a grinder is imperative because it ensures an even, fine grind, which in turn makes for a smooth-burning bowl with good airflow that avoids “hot spots” or clogs.  Even the most diligent of manual breaker-uppers could benefit from a good quality herb grinder.

Draw Into Your Mouth First

When smoking joints, spliffs, or blunts, it is essential that you draw the smoke into your mouth prior to inhaling into your lungs. Doing so helps the rolled cannabis burn more evenly and provides a smoother, more enjoyable hit. The process is similar to smoking a cigar – use your cheeks to draw the smoke into your mouth first. But before that, the first thing we need to talk about is diaphragmatic breathing. Also known as belly breathing or deep breathing, the technique is intended to help you use the diaphragm correctly when inhaling and exhaling.

Your diaphragm is the often-ignored but ultra-important muscle that sits below your lungs, expanding and contracting them to draw in and expel air. Most people vastly under-use this vital organ! Using diaphragmatic breathing will help you establish a more controlled breathing process and develop muscle memory to maintain it more quickly.

There are several exercises you can perform at home until it becomes second nature, but one of the easiest is to rest your hand on your belly while sitting or lying comfortably.  Breathe in slowly, feeling your belly expand as it fills with air.  Then, when you’re ready, exhale slowly, feeling your diaphragm pushing the air out of your lungs.  Repeat this process for several minutes, focusing only on your breathing and the movement of your belly as you do it.

As you begin practicing your diaphragmatic breathing, using a simple 4-2-4 count. Inhale softly for four seconds, pause briefly for two, and exhale gently for four. Repeat this sequence 10 times, 3 times a day to create a new breathing pattern in your subconscious. You can then call it into use every time you smoke.

When evaluating whether you find it easy or difficult to inhale smoke correctly, consider where the suction is coming from – are you drawing the smoke into your mouth (like you would with a cigar) or inhaling the smoke directly into your lungs? Both techniques are technically correct, but they are typically applied to different consumption methods. Regardless of how you like to consume, we’ll help you learn how to smoke effectively.

Slow and Steady, like Yoga

You do not need to inhale with any amount of force, pace, or aggression. The gentlest inhalation will draw the smoke into your lungs. Think of the breaths you’ve experienced in yoga class, meditation, or prayer. Let the smoke fill your lungs slowly and gently, milking the bong until you’re ready to clear it.

Add Fresh Oxygen

It is crucial to inject fresh oxygen into your lungs along with the smoke. If you’re smoking out of a naturally smooth vape pen like the Pax 3, you inhale the smoke directly into your lungs. If you’re smoking a joint, spliff, blunt or glass that does not have a carb, be sure to draw the smoke into your mouth first and then take it into your lungs along with a breath of fresh air. Alternatively, if smoking a bong or pipe (or anything else with a carb), be sure to leave some lung capacity before pulling the bowl or releasing the carb, which introduces fresh air into the hit. This fresh oxygen will cool your lungs down and re-oxygenate your body in conjunction with the delivery of cannabinoids. If you’re in need of a new smoking device, we highly recommend checking out Bloomgroove. They stock everything!

Don’t Hold it

Many people try to hold the smoke in their lungs, thinking they need to “give it time to work.” While holding it is a deeply held belief by some people, this idea is completely false. You don’t need to hold the smoke in. The second you inhale, the cannabinoids are absorbed by your body. That increased “rush” felt by people who hold their hits is due to oxygen deprivation, not improved absorption of THC. Breathe it in, and breathe it out.

Release at the Same Pace

Allow your exhale to occur as softly and gently as your inhale. Without the added pressure of holding the smoke down, you should find that you have more control over your exhale. You can practice this calm breathing sequence before your next smoke, and let us know how it worked for you!

In our experience, the people that struggle especially with coughing are doing one of two things:  they’re either holding the smoke in too long, or they’re failing to introduce fresh oxygen with each smoke-filled hit. Keep in mind, the above tips also apply to smoking CBD-rich strains. While they won’t get you “high” like cannabis flower, raw organic hemp flower can provide potent, fast-acting relief from a variety of symptoms in a full-spectrum, whole-plant format that’s familiar to cannabis consumers.

CBD Joints: Relief Without the High

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Everyone loves the classic cannabis joint, but did you know you can also roll a doobie of organic hemp flower?

There’s been a lot of press about CBD concentrates and isolates, but did you know there are high-CBD strains available as well?  In addition to the CBD-heavy indica cannabis strains available at dispensaries in states with legal medical cannabis programs, organic hemp flower is federally legal in all 50 states (yes, you can buy online and have it mailed to you) and looks, feels, smells, and smokes just like its THC-heavy cousin, but without the high.

It won’t give you the psychoactive effects of THC, but you will receive a fast-acting dose of CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids to target pain, inflammation, and anxiety, among other symptoms.

We like the organic, non-GMO, sustainably-grown hemp flower from Canna Comforts, which look, taste, smell, and smoke just like the classic top-shelf marijuana strains that inspired them. Federally legal and batch-tested for quality, purity, and potency, we trust Canna Comforts for a delicious and therapeutic smoking experience. Their flower is organic, non-GMO, sustainably cultivated, and batch-tested for quality, purity, and potency.  As industrial hemp strains, their products are federally legal and ship to all 50 states.

Tips to Cover The Smell of Cannabis

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There’s a lot to love about cannabis. While many find the smell of cannabis comforting and tinged with adventure, there are some who find the smell rather bothersome. Smell is a subjective thing, and though we don’t think cannabis smells bad per se, its fragrance has a tendency of sticking around.

If you or anything around you has been marked by the smell of weed this could trigger some pretty serious consequences, depending on where you live. So, just how can you cover the smell of cannabis so that it isn’t easily recognizable? If you find yourself feeling concerned or nervous during or after a session, here are several tips to help you enjoy your cannabis discreetly and fearlessly.

Everyone has been in the unfortunate situation of catching a whiff of cannabis on their clothes, hair, home or car while out and about — not an ideal scenario when trying to consume in stealth mode.

In order to maintain maximum discretion, it’s important to deploy a few smart travel tips to smoke weed without smelling like it. Keep in mind that smell is subjective – what does not smell to you may actually be quite noticeable to, say, a neighbor or your great aunt Olive.  These tips will help you minimize the smell as much as possible, but just keep that principle in mind when using them. While some of these tips many sound simple, you’d be surprised at how effective they are, especially when combined.

Vaporizer

The easiest method for discreet smoking is a portable vaporizer. You can fill them with either flower or concentrates (according to the particular style of your vape), easily carry them during air travel, and avoid thick clouds of smoke or obvious scents at home and on the go. Some portable vaporizers are even styled after ink pens so that they blend into everyday life. In our experience, concentrate pens produce significantly less smell than loose-leaf vaporizer pens.

Properly Store Your Bud

As canna-enthusiasts, we know that cannabis doesn’t necessarily need to be sparked up and smoked to give off a potent smell. We recommend that you store your green in an airtight container that won’t allow its smell to stick to your belongings, nor compromise its quality. Using smell-proof or odor-absorbing containers are ideal, but to preserve your green’s prized cannabinoids, store in a tint mason jar. Keep your jar out of direct sunlight and in a place with low-humidity to protect it from the development of mold — which also prevents the smell from escaping.

Mask The Air Particles

Dousing the air with different sprays such as room sprays are great for some situations, but only work temporarily to prevent any unwanted smells. When it comes to cannabis, whatever scent they claim to imitate mixes with the smell of weed creating a funky weed blend.

Aside from these, an air purifier might prove effective as they have the ability to quickly eliminate the scent of weed (and other allergens in the air) that tend to seep into the carpets, walls, and furniture. They might be costly, but are a worthwhile investment for the consistent toker. Before your session, just plug up and power on this little life-saver and get ready for take off.

Alternatively, many people construct what is known as a ‘sploof’ – a simple device through which the smoke is blown in an effort to mask its smell with other smells. Typically, this is done by taking the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper or paper towels (or an empty water bottle with the bottom cut out) and shoving a bunch of crumpled dryer sheets inside. The dryer sheets act as filters for the smoke, resulting in a less potent scent.  If you go this route, use scented dryer sheets — the unscented variety aren’t as effective at masking the smell. A common question we hear is “do I need to purchase a professional sploof to get the best results” and the answer is: No! making your own homemade sploof is a tried and true method that college kids, teenagers, and worried parents have used for years.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more natural option (other than outside) you could opt for diffusible essential oils, candles, incense, or potpourri. You can also try the old “wet-towel-under-the-door” trick or use a door draft stopper. These methods may not completely repel the smell of cannabis, but should at the very least be able to keep the smell in.

One of our favorite, and only products we’ve found to truly work to cover the smell of cannabis is the Veil OG Spray. This innovative and eco-friendly product is the ultimate post-smoke session odor eliminator. This spray in particular is made to actually eliminate the scent of cannabis after a smoking session.

Cook Something Fragrant

You may find this tip rather odd or unique but this smell prevention method could help you cover the smell of cannabis in a pinch. You don’t need to be a master chef or anything. All you need is a recipe full of aromatic herbs and spices to make the smell of cannabis. Try adding spices with protein, some veggies, or grains in a pan and give it a nice saute or in a big pot for stew and allow the smell to ruminate throughout your house. Although this is temporary, you get one flavorful, delicious meal out of the deal — certainly, a win, win in our book!

Have Good Ventilation

Smell is typically most noticeable in stagnant conditions so having proper ventilation in place is a must. This is especially true when smoking indoors with little to no windows. Making sure you have an adequate amount of fresh air flowing through your home is one of the best ways to rid the scent of weed. Using an air filtration device such as an HVAC system (heating cooling and ventilation) is one way to do it.

If you don’t own one of those and aren’t looking to purchase one anytime soon, you can minimize the aroma of cannabis by opening a few windows or utilizing a fan. Here’s a little hack: fix your box fan into your window, facing outside the sill and set it on high. This will not only invite more fresh air in from the outdoors, but gives the opportunity to create an abundance of some natural airflow.

Keep A Clean Environment

This may seem like common knowledge but frequently cleaning rugs, bed sheets even clothes can really help cover the smell of cannabis overtime. Stagnant smells linger and can sometimes live in a room for longer than expected. This goes for the scents on jackets as well, just because you brought your smoking outside doesn’t mean the scent is entirely removed from you.

Wash Your Hands

Oftentimes, your hands will pick up an ashtray-like scent after smoking, which is a dead giveaway every time. As soon as you finish smoking or vaping, a quick hand wash will remove many of the contaminants that may have ended up on your fingers during the grinding, loading, rolling, lighting, and clearing process.  If you’re in a pinch, you can use a generous douse of hand sanitizer or even a baby wipe to cleanse your hands of odor-causing particles.

Keeping The Smell of Cannabis On The DL

Now that you know these tips to cover the smell of cannabis, you’re on your way to becoming a scent masking pro! While most of the tips on this list are great to incorporate long term, we know that you’ll want something to work in a pinch. Our quick and effective go-to method: windows open, sprintz of Veil and keeping our linens clean.

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