The legalization of marijuana, recreational or medical, has been a decidedly uphill battle for years. To date, thirty states and the District of Columbia have laws that broadly legalize the use of marijuana in various forms. Several other states are about to follow suit, following the passing of measures that will allow the use of medical marijuana.
Fortunately, Washington state passed the Initiative 502 back in 2012, with a voter turnout of 81% – the highest turnout in the entire nation. This initiative legalized small amounts of cannabis-related products for individuals 21-years-of-age and older.
With the passing of Initiative 502, glassy eyes have been seen all around Washington state. Given the choice between drinking and smoking, a great number of people prefer to light up. Even medical patients tend to prefer marijuana to pharmaceuticals. With preferences like this, it’s hardly surprising that more and more people are turning to marijuana for both its recreational and medicinal benefits – including everything from treating anxiety to treating the symptoms of PTSD.
Before you light up for the first time, it’s important to know as much as you can about how to smoke weed and everything that encompasses. Having a guide like this will help you know what types of weed would be best to try for your needs and tastes, different ways to smoke it, and how to avoid being too high. (Yes, it’s a thing. Unless you’re allergic, it’s unlikely to harm you, but it’s decidedly unpleasant.)
Let’s get started. . .
Indica vs. Sativa: What’s the difference?
There are two main types of marijuana: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.
The classification of these two has been around for centuries, with the first taxonomic distinctions between indica (Cannabis indica) and sativa (Cannabis sativa) being documented back in the 18th century when structural and resin production differences were first identified.
There is also a hybrid classification that came into being later on as growers started blending genetics from different locations around the world.
Hailing from the Hindu Kush area near Afghanistan, this was where the resin was used as protection against unsavory weather conditions and climate.
Known for putting users “in da couch”, indicas tend to make people sleepy. If you’re looking for a body high – one that sedates you and helps with pain, anxiety, or insomnia – this is the type you’re going to want to go for.
Take a few hits of this, and you’ll likely fall asleep within just a few hours.
Basically the opposite of indica, sativas flourish in geographical regions that are closer to the equator. They have a longer maturation cycle, lighter yields, and a totally different flavor than indicas.
The effects are also entirely different. Sativas give more of a head high, producing upbeat, creative, and social effects. This is the type that gives people the giggles and “munchies” people tend to associate with marijuana.
This one is energizing, sparking a fire in your creative center, and can keep you up if you smoke it too soon before bedtime.
Ways to Smoke Weed
There are numerous ways to smoke weed, from joints to bongs (you can even make one from an apple!) to pipes to vaporizers.
For new smokers just learning how to smoke weed, it’s best to start light and work your way up to the bigger stuff.
Joints are one of the first ways people learn how to smoke weed. They’re easy to make up, and it’s an effective way to smoke weed without spending money on an accessory like a pipe or bong.
Get some rolling papers – available anywhere from gas stations to smoke shops – and put the weed in them. Roll them up tight, and you’re good to go. Papers don’t change the taste of the weed unless you get a flavored one. If you don’t know how to roll one, or don’t have the patience to sit and roll your own joints, there are rollers available that make it pretty easy to roll a perfect joint each and every time.
Most marijuana dispensaries also have pre-rolled joints available, such as the one in the image above.
Similar to joints, blunts are marijuana rolled up in pressed tobacco papers. They do contain nicotine, and they tend to last longer and burn harsher than joints. Just pick up some cigars (Swisher Sweets are popular), hollow them out, and fill them with the weed.
Bongs are water-based smoking accessories that are specifically designed for smoking weed. It’s basically just an air-tight glass tube that has water in a flared base. The smoke flows through the water first, cooling it down before it reaches your mouth for inhalation.
Many stoners add ice cubes to their bong for smoother, cooler smoke and to avoid burning their throat. Others like to fill it with hot (almost boiling) water to get more from the terpenes and increase their high. It brings out the taste of the weed and makes the high more intense.
You know the old phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away“?
Well, apples are more than just a healthy snack that can help prevent colds – these fruits also make great smoking apparatuses that make your high just a little bit sweeter.
When you’re first learning how to smoke weed, you may not have access to a pipe or bong. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to smoke out of an apple.
Apple bongs are technically pipes, but many stoners just call them bongs. They’re fun to make, and they make for a convenient snack when you’re done and the munchies hit.
Head on over to the store and grab an apple. Pull off the stem and carve a little bowl into the top of the apple, about three-quarters of the way down. Cut a hole into the side of the apple, all the way down to the core. That’s where you put your mouth.
That makes the pipe.
Now, dry it out or line it with tin-foil to keep the weed dry. The smoke will swirl around in the apple, adding sweetness and making the smoke less harsh for sensitive throats.
Once you’re done, just eat the apple!
Pipes are one of the easiest ways to smoke marijuana, whether it be at home or on the go, which makes it one of the more popular methods for smoking. Just grind up some weed, fill the bowl, and light up.
They’re pretty cheap, with decent pipes priced at about $5 to $15 at most head shops. Most pipes are glass with pretty colors and designs, though there are other types of wood and silicone.
If you’ve spent any bit of time with experienced cannabis users, you’re likely heard about “dabbing” or “doing dabs.” If so, you’ve probably noticed it’s far more than just a silly dance move.
Dabbing is a method of flash-vaporizing weed concentrates. The concentrates are placed on a heated water-pipe attachment (the nail), and then the user inhales as much vapor as they can.
This is something to work up to, though, and not for someone just learning how to smoke weed. The high is very intense and it’s immediate.
How to Avoid Getting Too High
One of the first things you need to remember is this: Pace yourself.
Smoking weed is a marathon, not a race. Pace yourself, and space out your bowls or dabs to prevent yourself from getting too high. Sometimes, weed can really creep up on you and then hit you all at once.
One of the biggest mistakes those who are just learning how to smoke weed make is smoking more and more (or taking multiple edible servings) because they don’t feel super high right away. This is the fastest way to get too high, which can make you anxious or sick.
A good rule of thumb is to go slow and wait before taking more.
It’s also best to do it at home or somewhere where you don’t need to go anywhere. Pushing the limits of your THC tolerance can certainly be fun, but you want to be smart about it. Set up limits so you don’t end up falling asleep somewhere you shouldn’t, or so you don’t end up with an anxiety attack in the middle of a social situation.
Not everyone has the same tolerance. Your friend may be able to take multiple bong hits back to back, but that doesn’t mean you need to. In fact, if you’re just learning how to smoke weed, you would likely end up with an adverse reaction.
Pace yourself. Go slow. Build up your tolerance and get more experienced at smoking. Marijuana is both fun and beneficial, but only if you do it responsibly.
Article By: Alexia P. Bullard
Joseph Wells contributed to this article.