Learning how to inhale weed properly is a great way to make the most out of any smoke session. When it comes to smoking weed, there’s a sweet spot that exists between taking an ineffective puff and taking a lung-destroying rip, and it can easily be achieved with the right technique. The benefits of finding this perfect balance are a smooth smoke cloud, a better appreciation for the weed’s flavor profile, less lung and throat irritation, and reduced coughing. Let’s discuss how to inhale weed properly.

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How Long Should You Hold in Your Smoke?

Many believe that holding your breath longer after inhaling cannabis will intensify the effects, but research has shown that this is largely a myth. In one study, participants were asked to hold their inhalation for 0, 10, and 20 seconds. The researchers concluded that “there was little evidence that response to marijuana was a function of breathhold duration.”  While it doesn’t get you higher, holding your breath for extended periods can cause headache, coughing, and chest pain, so forget the old wive’s tale and remember: you only need to hold in your smoke for a moment or two before exhaling to feel the effects of cannabis. 

How to Inhale Weed From a Bowl

A bowl is a great choice for beginner smokers because it is handheld, lightweight, and simple to use. Begin by packing the bowl properly. Dust out any old ash and use a pipe cleaner to remove any plant matter or residue that may be obstructing the flow of air through the bowl. Loosely pack the spoon-shaped hollow with cannabis. Don’t fill it so much that you restrict the flow of air. Gently tap the weed down with one finger, but do not press too hard or the weed will stick together and it will be more difficult to smoke.  Grab your lighter in one hand and the bowl in the other. First, take a deep breath of fresh air, inhaling slowly, and exhaling completely, then bring the mouthpiece of the bowl to the tip of your lips, with your mouth creating a seal around the small hole. Your lips should form the same small O-shape as if you were sucking from a straw or whistling.  Closeup of a women lighting up a pipe bowl Begin by lighting just the edge of the bowl while expanding your belly and drawing a slow, steady breath into your lungs from the mouthpiece. If you are a new smoker, only fill your lungs about 25 percent of the way with smoke, then remove your mouth from the mouthpiece and fill the rest of your lung capacity with fresh air. Hold for a count of two or three and exhale completely.  Depending on the smoking etiquette in your social group, you may either pass the bowl to the next person or take a second puff if the bowl is still lit from your first. Observe what the people around you are doing and follow suit. If taking a second puff, repeat the same technique. Remember that you can always pass it on if you’ve had enough. 

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How to Inhale Weed From a Bong

Inhaling from a bong differs slightly from using a bowl. If you’re a new smoker, learning how to smoke weed from a bong properly is crucial to avoid getting way too high or having a severe coughing fit. Don’t be alarmed—with caution and the right technique, smoking from a bong is a supremely fun way to get high. Pack the weed with only very light pressure, as you would with a bowl. If you’re with a seasoned smoker, observe or ask them how they hold the bong. Depending on the size and material, it may be better to hold the bong by the base, by the neck, or to stabilize it on a coffee table or in your lap. It’s best to be sitting down if you’re new to smoking a bong. When you’re ready, take a cleansing breath in and let it all out. Bong mouthpieces are typically wider than bowls and will fit around the outside of your mouth. Slightly part your lips and place your mouth into the mouthpiece of the bong.  Closeup of a man smoking a bong This is the point where you need to be extremely careful to avoid overdoing it. Have someone else help you light the bong if this is your first time. Begin by evenly pulling in air through your mouth until the bong begins to bubble. As it’s bubbling, you or a friend will light the bowl head while you continuously draw in a breath. The suction will cause the smoke to pass through the water and into your lungs. Do not attempt to fill the entire chamber with smoke if this is your first time.  After properly inhaling for 1-3 seconds, you’ll begin to see light clouds of smoke emerging into the neck. At this point, remove the bowl head from the body of the bong and continue to draw air into your lungs until you have cleared the chamber of smoke and filled the rest of your lungs with fresh air. Exhale steadily, evenly and entirely.  Wait at least a few minutes to see how you feel before taking another hit. As you gain experience, you will be able to pull bigger and fluffier clouds. As a beginner, however, it’s best to start slow and increase your intake gradually. 

How to Inhale Weed From a Joint

If you pull from a joint like you’re taking a puff of a cigarette or cigar, with shallow inhales and immediate exhales, it’s unlikely that you’ll feel much of an effect from smoking. On the other hand, taking a huge pull can cause a major cough and, just like smoking cigarettes, can even lead to nausea. We go over how to hold a joint and how to get it properly lit in our in-depth article titled “How to Smoke a Joint the Right Way.” For now, let’s assume you or a friend has already rolled and lit your joint. Place the butt of the joint between your slightly parted lips and close the corners of your mouth, keeping the middle part of your lips from clamping down on the joint, which will restrict the airflow. Closeup of a man smoking a joint Remember to place the very tip of the joint only to your lips, not all the way into your mouth. Be sure to keep your tongue relaxed and avoid moistening the joint with it. Take a gentle pull, like you’re gently sucking through a straw, for one to two seconds, then remove the joint from your mouth and fill the rest of your lungs with clean air. Exhale fully and, when you’re ready, take another puff the same way.  When you’re first starting out, it’s important to practice moderation in order to really enjoy your cannabis smoking experience. No matter what smoking method you use, remember to inhale gently but steadily, always finish your inhalation with fresh air, hold your smoke for only a moment, and be sure to stop smoking before you’ve had too much.

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