Smoking cannabis isn’t quite as cut and dry as it used to be. While there have always been a variety of ways to smoke marijuana — varying across cultures, locations and time — there seems to be an even more expansive sea of choices, now more than ever. With all of these different ways to smoke weed, the ball is really in the court of cannabis consumers. Of all of these ways to smoke marijuana, which is best for me? From the humble blunt, to the more complex dab rig setup, let’s explore the versatile options on the market.
Different ways to smoke weed
Made with ground cannabis flower, joints are essentially the cannabis equivalent to cigarettes. Wrapped in rolling papers and twisted at the top, joints are typically fairly small and contain no more than a gram of weed. Their small cone shape is ideal for portable smoking as well as discreteness if that’s of any concern or importance.
Because of their petite size, joints aren’t often shared like their larger blunt counterparts. Instead, joints can be one of the best ways to smoke marijuana as a solo smoker. Expect a nice, but probably not overwhelming high from the average joint.
Biggest Pro: Great for on-the-go.
Biggest Con: Small in size / duration of use.
Also made with ground cannabis, blunts are more like the cannabis equivalent to cigars. In fact, that’s the main differentiating factor between blunts and joints; blunts are typically wrapped in tobacco leaves, while joints are wrapped in thin rolling papers.
Due to their heftier wrap and slightly larger size, blunts often produce a more considerable high, lasting longer and creating more intense effects. Thanks to its cigar look and impressive smoking power, blunts are sometimes shared, usually in social or celebratory contexts.
Biggest Pro: Positive addition to social smoking.
Biggest Con: Rolled in tobacco leaves.
One hitters are small, slender pipes featuring a narrow bowl only large enough for just one hit or inhalation of smoke.To use a one hitter, you light cannabis on one end of the pipe and inhale until the tiny bowl is entirely toasted.
Of the many ways to smoke marijuana, this method is thought to create a lighter high. For this reason, one hitters may be one of the best ways to smoke weed for novices or anyone trying to maintain a lower tolerance.
Biggest Pro: Saves money / conserves cannabis.
Biggest Con: Small hits and consequent highs.
Glass pipes are your classic, small hand-held pieces that hold the smoke made from toasting cannabis. Popular in design and use, to use a glass piper you load a small bowl, light it, and inhale for your desired small to medium hits.
With mildly larger bowls than one-hitters, glass pipes allow for more than one puff and probably more powerful highs — if that’s desired. With probably the greatest accessibility and ease of use among reusable smoking methods, glass pipes are one of the more ideal ways to smoke cannabis for newer users.
Biggest Pro: Ease of use / great for beginners.
Biggest Con: Hotter hits / lack of temperature control.
A cross between a water bong and a pipe, bubblers add the idea of filtration and cooling to the smoking mix. Bubblers utilize water like a bong might, but are typically much smaller with a built-in bowl rather than a removable one.
Even the simplest of water filtration makes for a smoother hit, whereas an average hand-pipe may be dryer and scratchier on the throat. Smoother hits may prompt more, and therefore a more considerable high, but this is really based on user discretion. Portable like glass pipes, but slightly more advanced with their water filtration build, bubblers are suited for just slightly elevated hand-held smoking.
Biggest Pro: Smooth, solid hits.
Biggest Con: Requires water for proper use.
Also designed with a water base for smoother hits and filtration, good old fashioned bongs are bigger than hand-held bubblers, Bongs also more uniquely feature larger, removable bowls that are lit and inhaled through until you’ve created as much smoke as you desire for your hit.
This way of smoking weed may be something to warm up to as a newbie, as it does depend on some user finesse to take a hit of one’s desired size. It goes without saying, larger hits result in more intense highs, while smaller ones will have lesser effects. And as mentioned before: larger hits, more intense highs — and you have the control.
Biggest Pro: Larger, smoother hits available.
Biggest Con: Requires users’ finesse for ideal hit.
Gravity bongs, waterfall or bucket bongs depend on a combination of air pressure and water to create contained hits. Unlike most of the other ways of smoking cannabis, gravity bongs collect smoke in a tube or bag of sorts until you’re ready to take a big hit or share it amongst a small group.
This method often creates a very concentrated smoke and incredibly strong high. Because of this, gravity bongs are definitely not the recommended method for novice smokers, and more so recommended for shared enjoyment / experienced smokers.
Biggest Pro: Packs a powerful punch.
Biggest Con: Can be overwhelming / too intense.
Vape pens are typically battery operated devices with tanks or cartridges heated to produce, in this case, cannabis vapor. Activated by the push of a button or simply by your inhale, vape pens usually utilize some type of lithium ion battery for their power source and consequently their vapor creation.
Highly concentrated cannabis oils make this method a powerful one. If it’s a powerful, yet discreet way of smoking cannabis that you’re looking for, vape pens are definitely for you.
Biggest Pro: Incredibly discreet in size / shape / scent.
Biggest Con: Requires a charged battery to operate.
Dab rigs are slightly more complex pipes, made for vaporizing cannabis wax / oil / concentrates. Filtering this vapor through a water base, dab rigs are similar to bongs. They also feature a removable piece. But, instead of your usual bowl piece, dab rigs require a glass or metal nail in which concentrates melt into and where its vapor is stored.
Those new to smoking will probably want to familiarize themselves with other forms of smoking prior to diving into dabs and their strength. However, experienced smokers prefer dab rigs over other methods because of their ability to provide such a fast on-set of intense effects.
Biggest Pro: Complete temperature and setting control.
Biggest Con: Not ideal for travel or on the go.
To sum it up
The plethora of different ways to smoke cannabis, as well as the plant’s general versatility, offers you a lot of control over how to create your ideal experience. Instead of being presented with only one or two options and having to choose the closest thing to best, you can focus on what’s genuinely the right fit. Asking yourself questions about what’s important to your smoking experience, and how you’d best enjoy it, can make a world of difference.
Are you a newbie to using cannabis, or are you a seasoned professional? Would you prefer a super discreet, private smoke, or an elaborate one with all the bells and whistles? Vaping vs. smoking?
Rolling papers vs. glass? All of these questions and more can help you in differentiating and deciding between all the different ways to smoke marijuana. Because, after all, it’s all up to your personal preference, experience with cannabis, and desired results.