There are certain basics that are essential to any dispensary cannabis user. If smoking is your preference, knowing how to pack a bowl or roll a joint is a must, as well as learning the proper way of smoking each. For example, packing a bowl seems simple enough but if you don’t know to pack your bud down it could lead to a messy and quick disaster, while packing it too heavily can lead to not being able to take in any smoke.

As with most things, practice makes perfect. Don’t expect your first joint to look perfect, because it most likely won’t. With time, you will know which amounts work best and how to do everything correctly in a way that works for you. Until then, these steps will give you a good place to start!

How To Properly Pack A Bowl/Roll A Joint:

How to Pack a Bowl:

Whether you are smoking from a pipe, bubbler or water pipe, the method will be the same for all. It might take a couple of times to figure out which amount of cannabis to use for your bowl but once you do, it will be a quick and easy process for you.

  • Grind or break up your strain of choice. You can do this by hand or by using a grinder. Grinders are usually the most convenient and preferred option for cannabis smokers, as they break your bud into the perfect sized pieces for bowl or joint use. Some cannabis smokers prefer using their hands to break up bud for bowl use as they say grinders make the bud too small, but if you have a filter in your bowl there should be no problems.
  • Use your fingers to place the cannabis into the bowl using the larger chunks first, this will support the bud going on top, especially if you don’t have a screen/filter in your bowl. Then place the smaller flower at the top, make sure you try to spread it as evenly as possible.
  • Gently pat down the cannabis in the bowl. You want the bud to be tight, but not tight enough that you don’t get any air flow. Ideally, your bowl should be filled to the brim and packed evenly.

You are now ready to smoke!

How to Roll a Joint:

Rolling a joint tends to be a bit trickier than packing a bowl. Leafly (https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/how-to-roll-a-joint) has a great step-by-step (with gifs!) on how to properly roll a joint.

How to Properly Smoke:

Once your smoking method of choice has been sorted out and prepared, it’s time to smoke. Television and movies can often leave first time cannabis smokers astray, as they may be smoking a bowl how its shown on film but next thing, they have a mouth full of ash from not cornering properly. These steps will help you get the most out of your cannabis.

  • A Pipe/Water Pipe/Bubbler: Now that your bowl has been correctly packed, it’s time for the fun part.
    • When lighting the bud, the best thing to do is to “corner” the bowl. Burning the flame in the center of the bowl will work, but your bud will burn up in the middle, leaving the outer portions still green. This will also cause you to possibly be sucking in ash, which is always unpleasant. The easy fix is learning to corner, which will help you get the most out of your cannabis. With your lighter, burn smaller sections on the outer edges of your bowl and with each hit, change placement/work your way in. This way, you can smoke all the green bud and your bowl will overall last for more hits.
    • Each pipe will have a carb hole, usually on the left side of the piece. Keep your thumb placed on the carb as you light the bud and inhale a little with the carb blocked before removing your thumb. Continue inhaling with the carb uncovered until you feel as though you have taken in an adequate amount of smoke.
    • You can choose to hold your breath before exhaling for a few seconds here; it’s your choice. It’s debatable on whether holding the smoke in your lungs will make you feel more of a “high”, but around 2 or 3 seconds should do the trick.
    • Exhale fully.
    • You should feel a small rush as you exhale, and then the actual high should follow within seconds.
  • Joints: With joints, rolling them can be the hardest part. So, once your joint is rolled and ready, you can either smoke it straight away, or save it for a later time. One of the true benefits of joints is their convenience, once they’ve been prepared.
    • You don’t want to hold a joint in your mouth while you light it. This puts you at risk for inhaling toxins from lighter fluid and also is a good way to singe an eyebrow. Keep your joint held firmly between your fingers in one hand, and light your lighter/match in the other hand.
    • Most joints are twisted at the end, opposite the filter, in order to keep the bud inside. Before you begin to take any puffs, it is necessary to burn off the twisted part. Doing this will ensure that your joint burns evenly later on. When the tip is burnt off and there is a small flame remaining, your joint is ready to smoke.
    • You want to keep the filter resting outside of your lips when you inhale, this keeps saliva from becoming an issue and also brings in a little air with your inhales.
    • For inexperienced smokers, don’t focus on doing deep inhales. Instead, take short puffs into your mouth, pause, then inhale into your lungs.
    • Hold for as long as desired (just a few seconds will work) and exhale fully.

Clean Your Pipe/Water Pipe:

While not necessary after every smoke session, occasionally your pipe or water pipe will need to have a good clean. Resin and other build-up will collect and not only make your pipe look unsightly, but it can start to smell and it could also impact the smoking ability. The good news is that the process is very simple.

  • Pipes and Bubblers: You will only need three common household items; a zip lock bag, salt and rubbing alcohol. The cleaning method is simple, just place some salt and rubbing alcohol in the bag and give it a good shake. For pipes with a large amount of resin build up, soak overnight. When the resin has properly broken up, use warm water to give the pipe a thorough rinse. Repeat the process if necessary. Once dry, you will have a clean and ready to use pipe.
  • Water Pipe/Bong: Add a decent amount of rubbing alcohol and salt into the chamber and swirl the mixture until the built-up resin has disintegrated or at least been removed. Rinse with warm water and dry.

*Information is not intended as medical advice.