This post is called How to Smoke Weed for Beginners, however, we’re going to cover a lot of ground from the reasons why people use cannabis, to the different strains and ways to consume cannabis and a conversation about how to smoke weed for beginners, the goal of this being a chance to provide education and illumination so you can make an informed decision.

Why Do People Smoke Cannabis?

People use marijuana to heal, boost creativity, relax, inspire, socialize, energize and improve focus. It’s an affordable and natural way to maintain balance between your body’s essential functions like eating, sleeping, and healing.

Daily activities made better

Using marijuana enhances, excites, and elevates your everyday routine—even already pleasurable activities like relaxing or exercising.

Marijuana as medicine

People use marijuana and its medicinal compounds, called cannabinoids, to heal both mind and body. The two most common compounds are THC and CBD, which have differing but complementary effects.

Cut back to live more

People who use marijuana as part of their regular routine tend to decrease their use of alcohol, opiates, tobacco, and narcotics as a result. Marijuana’s unique properties lend itself to numerous safe, effective, and non-addictive purposes.

Instead of Alcohol
Skip the hangover and the empty calories — try marijuana instead of alcohol the next time you’re looking to have some fun. You’ll have a great time and your liver will thank you. It’s no surprise that 4 out of 5 consumers surveyed have replaced their weekly drinking with cannabis.

Instead of opiates

For those suffering from severe or chronic pain, going through chemotherapy, or recovering from injury, marijuana is a reportedly great alternative to opiates. Treatment with THC and CBD alleviates pain while avoiding dangerous side effects and addiction. In fact, one-third of patients surveyed have completely replaced their opiate use with marijuana.

Instead of tobacco

If you’ve been meaning to quit tobacco, marijuana can likely help you achieve your goal. Opt for a quick vape or a slow smoking joint the next time you have a craving or social obligation to smoke. It’s reportedly healthier and non-addictive. We’ve found that one out of ten tobacco-users surveyed have entirely replaced tobacco with cannabis.

Instead of sleeping pills

Put on some relaxing music, turn off the lights, and tuck yourself into bed with a sedating Indica vaporizer, which reportedly reduces anxiety and induces mind and body relaxation.

Vaporizers are convenient pen-shaped devices that are more discreet than traditional options, like a joint. They are odorless, portable, and require virtually no heating time. Vaporizers are often filled with oil cartridges, and vaporize the marijuana instead of combusting it, releasing the active compounds without unhealthy contaminants that you’d find in smoke.

Regardless of your experience level, the effects are felt almost immediately, making this the most efficient way for your body to process marijuana.

 How long do effects last?

The effects of marijuana can last from 1 to 6 hours depending on the individual, how much of a cannabis smoker they are (newbie, occasional, frequent or chronic), the type of strains being consumed and other factors, ranging from how tired a person is to how much they’ve eaten that day. It’s complicated.

I want to smoke weed for my first time.

The first question is: How high do you want to get?

Whether you’re looking to microdose for a subtle mood boost or dive deep into euphoria and relaxation, we’ve got some tips to help you enjoy your experience.

How High Do You Want to GetSmoking/VapingEdibles
Not High at AllHigh CBD products with a ratio of 24:1 or 16:1 CBD:THCHigh CBD products with a ratio of 24:1 or 16:1 CBD:THC
A Little HighSmoking: less than 10% THCEdibles: less than 2 mg THC
Noticeably HighSmoking: between 10% and 20%Edibles: between 2mg and 10mg
Super HighSmoking: more than 20% THCEdibles: more than 10mg THC

How to Smoke Weed: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s never too late to learn the basics.

The decidedly uphill battle to legalize marijuana, medical or otherwise, is likely to be with us for decades to come.  While alcohol and tobacco remain America’s “official” ways to inebriate, the fact of the matter is: cannabis is less harmful and more beneficial to both the body and society in the long run.

If you happen to be interested, here’s a Marijuana Basics Primer:

1. Indica vs. Sativa

Learn the difference. Indica makes you sleepy; it’s more of a body high, good for pain, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping—you’ll likely nod out a couple hours after smoking. Sativa is a more upbeat, artistic, and cerebral high. It sparks the imagination and energizes you directly after smoking, and will keep you awake if you smoke too close to bedtime.

2. Just Say No to Blunts

The use of tobacco leaf rolling papers or hollowed-out/re-rolled Swisher Sweets as the delivery device of choice for weed is called a Blunt. The challenge of smoking blunts is that not only can it lead to an addiction to nicotine, it also kills the taste of the myriad delicious strains now on the market. Nobody would ever mix a shot of red wine in a glass with ice and Coke, would they?

3. Know Your Equipment

Some people swear by vaporizers, which eliminate the intense skunky smell (good for dorm rooms and public spots) and the inhalation of smoke (possibly but not medically proven to adversely affect the lungs). However, the vape high is considerably less intense and shorter lasting. While a bong can be unruly and downright disgusting, a small water pipe can fulfill the same purpose, filtering the more noxious elements of combustion. For cleaning, isopropyl alcohol cuts resin nicely.

4. Giggling Gets Old

The first time you smoke, feel free to giggle your ass off, munch down on Double Stuf Oreos and barbecue potato chips, and marvel at the newfound intensity of movies, music, sex, et al. The primary effect of weed is to enhance the sensory enjoyment of everything around you. Over time, however, you’ll get beyond the endless giggles and into the newly opened doors of your perception.

5. Expectations

If pot makes you feel paranoid, it’s because it affords the user a slightly different view of him or herself. When you’re high, your words echo discreetly in your own coconut, and your point of view is slightly off center from normal, affording you a kind of fleeting glimpse of yourself and your actions that you might not ordinarily have. Weed invites self-observation, which is not for everyone. Even though it should be.

Terms you Should Know

  • Cannabis: A tall plant with a stiff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs. It is used to produce hemp fiber and as a psychotropic drug in extract, ingestible, or smokable flower.
  •  Marijuana: A dried preparation of leaves and female flowers of the hemp plant. Used as a psychotropic and anti-inflammatory drug.
  •  Cannabinoids: The chemical compounds that are the active principles of marijuana. Naturally occurring in plants, animals, and humans; isolated from marijuana alone are at least 85 known cannabinoids, the most well-known being THC (the psychoactive compound we know and love) and CBD (the non-psychoactive compound that’s been finding it’s way in headlines for treating children and toddlers with epilepsy).
  • Cannabinoids exhibit various effects and can treat a wide assortment of ailments such as Cancer, Epilepsy, chronic pain, nausea, lack of appetite, Glaucoma, ADHD, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Tourettes, migraines, seizures, and much, much more.
  • There are no known incidents of fatalities by marijuana overdose. There is no connection between marijuana and social/psycho disorders. Like any controlled substance, care should be taken to avoid developing addiction in recreational users. Steps can be taken to cut lung damage and respiratory problems, such as exhaling immediately, smoking weed high in THC, and using a water pipe (also known as a bong!).

Indica Strains vs Sativa Strains

Cannabis plants come in two main classifications: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The first thing a new user will pick up is which of the two they prefer.

  • Indica plants produce marijuana strains that give you a deep body high, often making you sleepy or “couch-locked”. Indica strains are used to treat chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia.
  •  Sativa plants produce marijuana strains that give you a creative and uplifting “mind high”.  Sativa strains are used to treat depression and are great at providing energy and focus.
  •  Hybrids of the two plants create strains that combine benefits of both classifications and are directly influenced by the individual genetics of the plant. The resulting amount of choice is incredible. Hybrid strains   fall into the following categories:
  •  Indica Dominant- Excellent for treating daytime pain.
  •  Even- Strains that have an equal between a cerebral and body relaxing high.
  •  Sativa Dominant- Energetic strains that boost focus and creativity without putting you to sleep.

Weed for Beginners

How to Get Cannabis Legally

  • To obtain weed legally in the US, you must visit a recreational marijuana dispensary in one of the four states that have legalized weed. A marijuana dispensary is simply a store, filled with pot. It’s amazing. You must be 21 or over and have identification.
  • To legally use marijuana medically in states where it is available, you must apply for a marijuana registration card; a process that requires a Dr. visit, application fees and about a one month wait time.

How to Cannabis is Consumed

Cannabis is enjoyed in many ways. The most popular method with the easiest self-dosage control is to smoke it. You can smoke weed in a joint or a blunt or a pipe or a bong. Steps can be taken to reduce lung damage and respiratory problems, such as exhaling immediately, smoking weed high in THC, and using a water pipe (Bong!). Vaporizers are a healthy alternative to smoking, as are tinctures and edibles.

What to expect from smoking weed for first time

Some people say you don’t feel anything your first time; some people say it’s the best they’ve ever felt.

Whatever the outcome, smoking weed for the first time can be climactic, anti-climactic, exciting, a little scary and, most of all, confusing.

Furthermore, it’s rare that a first-time smoker is around someone who is as experienced as, let’s say, Tommy Chong. Usually, it’s a bunch of people in a circle not wanting to admit they have no idea what they’re doing.

So, we’re going to move the learning curve up a bit and give you, cannabis virgins, a few tips on how to smoke weed.

How to Buy It

In order to smoke weed, you need to have weed, so this first step is pretty simple.

Most of the time, first-time cannabis consumers will smoke someone else’s weed. Someone will hand you a joint, bong or, God forbid, an edible at a party because “it’s just crazy man that you haven’t been high before.”

In that case, you can skip this step and read on. But, if you really want to impress your friends, or simply want to experience being high for the first time in a more personally accommodating environment (read: in your house by yourself), you need to know how to buy it.

We’re going to stick with legal procurement, here, because we have to respect the law. So, when you’re heading into a dispensary, there are a few things you need to remember.

Bring your ID

This is not an option. These institutions are heavily regulated and one wrong move ruins it for all of us. And, trust us, you don’t want to get all the way through the line just to be told you can’t be served.

Allow yourself plenty of time

Most of the dispensaries have lines out the door at all times. You may not be able to make it there and back on a lunch break. Allow for time to be in line and time to check out the product. You want to be able to make a quality choice, after all.

Speaking of time, don’t go right at closing

Remember when we said these dispensaries are heavily regulated? Well, just because you’re there before they close doesn’t mean they have to serve you. Everyone has to have paid and be gone when “closing time” hits.

So, even if you wait in line for two hours, if it’s time, it’s time, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Ask for help

Bud tenders are trained to help guide you through this process. Don’t know which strain to get? Don’t know how much to buy? Don’t know if you’re in the mood for Sour Patch Kids or cookies? They will be more than happy to assist you.

Cash is King

Some dispensaries cannot take plastic yet. You don’t want to get all the way to check out only to find that you can’t actually buy any bud at all.

How to Consume Cannabis for the first time

Alright, so you’ve made it legally through the line and you’ve got weed in hand. And, now it’s time to smoke it!

Your smoking options includes:

  • joint
  • blunt
  • bowl
  • bong
  • vape pen or vaporizor
  • a myriad of devices that probably aren’t fit for a first-timer (dab rigs and such)
  1. A joint or blunt is probably the easiest way to smoke, but rolling can be hard if you’ve never done it before (and we’re assuming you haven’t) and, as we mentioned above, we’re not fans of smoking blunts, so let’s skip that.
  2. Bong rips may be a bit too harsh and heavy for a first-timer and vapes can be expensive. It’s our considered opinion the most economical and efficient way to consumer cannabis is the old-fashioned pipe. So, we recommend smoking a bowl.
  3. You can purchase a pipe (known as a “bowl”) at any head shop. To find a head shop in your area, Google “head shops in my area.”
  4. We also recommend picking up a grinder while you’re there, so you don’t have to worry about trying to properly break up weed.

OK, I’ve got a Grinder and a Bowl, Now What?

The first step in using a grinder is to “break up” or separate your bud from the stem. Since a “bud” is the dried flower which grew on the cannabis plant, it has a ‘stem’ (also known as “lumber”) which the bud mass has grown around. Breaking up a bud is easy, just pull the bud mass apart from the stem and, voila, it’s broken up!

The next step is to put the broken up bud mass into the grinder and then turn the top and bottom in opposite directions. The grinder’s “teeth” will tear the bud mass apart and turn the sticky flower into a finely grown “tobacco” which you can then easily load into a pipe (or, once you get the hang of it, roll into a joint) and then smoke.

We recommend you use just enough ground cannabis to loosely fill the bowl, which you then gently tamp down. This way, once you start to get it burning, you won’t have to fight with the pipe and the burn will be even and steady as you inhale. And, that’s the trick – once you inhale, just hold the smoke in for a moment and then slowly exhale. When you exhale the first hit of a fresh bowl, you’ll be able to taste all the terpenes which you were smelling when you ground up your cannabis.

And, there you have it! You’ve officially smoked weed! Don’t worry if you cough. Cannabis smoke expands in your lungs so you don’t have to take a deep drag, but, since it is expansive, it can cause you to cough.

There is an old saying in cannabis culture: if you don’t cough, you don’t get off. The idea is: by holding your hit in for a prolonged time, you’ll get more THC into your blood stream. The trade-off is: you’ll most likely cough a lot as you learn to do this.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your experience goes as smoothly as possible.

No matter what state you’re in right now, you cannot smoke weed in public.

  • It’s still illegal. So, make sure you are at a private residence when you enjoy your bud.

Do not pass a cached bowl to someone.

  • The term “cached” means the bowl or bong no longer has any smokable bud in it. If you are smoking with friends, do not pass a cached bowl to someone.
  • He or she will just suck ash through the pipe and probably not want to be your friend anymore.

Remember to “puff, puff, pass.”

  • This may sound trite, but it’s important. Don’t hog the weed if you’re smoking with friends.

Eating edibles? Read the dosage properly.

  • At Happy Travelers Tours, we don’t recommend eating cannabis as your introduction to consuming marijuana. There are several reasons for this, including the simple fact it can take up to 90 minutes before you feel the affect and you have no way to titrate your dose once you’ve eaten an edible.
  • However, if you do decide on an edible as your first (or second) cannabis experience, we do recommend you are in a familiar, comfortable, environment where you can fall asleep without worry, since that is the most likely end result of your experience!
  • Make an appropriate decision on how much you should eat. Then, eat half of that.

What to expect: what does smoking weed feel like

  • Take a moment and just breathe. You will feel your heart race a bit and your face will get a little flush. You might even feel kind of light-headed.
  • Odds are it’s both the weed and your nerves, and that’s OK. It will pass in a minute.

Here’s what else you should expect when you’re high

You will get the munchies.

  • The cannabinoids in marijuana work with your neurons, and they basically tell your brain it’s time to eat, even if it’s not. Make sure you have food on hand before you smoke. If not, Domino’s delivers, y’all.

Your mouth will get dry.

  • Maybe you’ve heard the nasty cottonmouth rumors floating around. Well, they’re true.
  • Marijuana will dry out your mouth and eyes, so make sure you’ve got plenty of liquids around.

It will last about two hours.

  • But, your body will calm down in about 15 minutes, and you will be able to relax and enjoy your buzz — unless you ate edibles, in which case, the high can last longer depending on the dose.

Time will go by fairly slowly.

  • This is normal. The beautiful thing about weed is it allows you to savor every moment for what feels like longer. Take it all in.

If you don’t feel high, smoke more.

  • The great thing about weed is you can never do too much.

To learn more about consuming cannabis, consider Booking a Happy Travelers MountainTop Grow Tour and get up-close-and-personal with cannabis plants.