In popular culture, the use of marijuana is often synonymous with smoking and tends to bring to mind pipes, bongs, and traditional joints. Indeed, most people prefer smoking weed to other consumption methods. The modern market offers diverse ways to smoke cannabis and creates multiple devices that allow you to vaporize or heat it. Let’s compare all smoking methods and consider which is less harmful than the others.

Best Methods of Smoking Weed

According to a survey published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, smoking is now one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis. It was the preferred method used by ancient people thousands of years ago. So, modern smoking methods include:

  1. Joints. They are homemade cigarettes filled with weed instead of tobacco. The rolling paper is made of rice, soy, or hemp material. In the developing world, the rolling paper material can be brown recycled paper.
  2. Blunts. Blunts are larger than joints but made similarly. They contain cannabis rolled with a cigar wrapper, usually a tobacco leaf instead of rolling paper. Smokers who don’t want a nicotine-based wrapper can opt for hemp wraps. This smoking method is typical for US consumers.
  3. Spliffs. It is a dominant smoking form in Europe. They are joints that contain a mix of tobacco and cannabis in a different ratio that can be adjusted to the smoker’s preference. The rolling paper is similar to that in joints.
  4. Pre-rolls. They are pre-rolled joints with a crutch.
  5. Pipes or bowls. They are small and offer an easy way to smoke cannabis. Pipes are available in various materials (glass, stone, wood, bamboo, ceramics, etc.) and come in different shapes and sizes. Pipe glassblowing has become an art.
  6. Bongs. Bong is a type of water pipe to smoke marijuana. It uses water to cool and filter the smoke and offers a less harsh hit. Bongs have a vertical design, with the mouthpiece going over the smoker’s lips. Gravity bongs are homemade pipes that use the force of gravity to pull cannabis smoke into the chamber. To make them, people use 2-liter plastic bottles, milk cartons, and jugs. Beer can be used instead of water.
  7. Bubblers. They are a mix of a pipe and a bong. Bubblers have a chamber for water and contain a non-removable mouthpiece that goes between the smoker’s lips. These devices are designed for smoking oils and concentrates instead of flowers.
  8. Dabs. Dabs (budder/wax) are a concentrated form of marijuana made by extracting THC with the help of a solvent. Smokers heat dabs on a hot surface and smoke them in a dab rig. Dab rigs utilize water filtration as bongs but feature a nail for vaporizing oils/dabs instead of a bowl piece for combusting flowers.
  9. Flower vapes and vape pens. This smoking process involves heating cannabis flowers or concentrates to a level that releases cannabinoids into the air, producing vapor to inhale. The active plant material is extracted at a lower temperature than that for burning. A 2006 study shows that vaping weed flowers is a safer alternative to delivering THC to people than smoking.

weed vape

Methods of Smoking Cannabis: Pros and Cons

Each method provides a different smoking experience. Read on to know all pros and cons and determine the healthiest smoking methods of marijuana.

Smoking method Advantages Negatives
  • Classic way to smoke weed
  • Small and portable
  • Often have a filter at the drawing end that prevents people from burning their fingertips when they smoke to the end of the joint
  • The rolling paper can be infused with flavors
  • Require the skills to roll one that can be difficult for novices (though ready-made smokeables are also available for sale)
  • Fast-burning and bleached rolling paper may contain pollutants harmful to smokers’ lungs
  • Portable and easy to use
  • Bigger than joints and last longer
  • The wraps can be flavored
  • The rolling paper contains tobacco that adds extra buzz and energy
  • Portable
  • Simple to use
  • Contain more tobacco than blunts and produce more energetic and buzzy effects
  • Negative health effects caused by nicotine
  • Cheap and discreet way of smoking
  • Can easily be shared among friends
  • Easy to consume
  • Require practicing to twist one up (though there are ready-made smokeables)
  • The rolling paper hides what is inside a cigarette
  • They are often handmade and can be expensive
  • Lack of temperature control
  • A cool smoke acts easier on the lungs
  • Helps highlight the natural terpene profile
  • The water filters out irritants and carcinogens from the smoke
  • Making a bong on your own is a fun
  • Gravity bongs are a cheap way to smoke weed
  • The volume of smoke can make people too high
  • Gravity bongs get people higher than average bongs
  • Gravity bongs made of plastic can be harmful to health
  • Compact and suitable for any occasion and user
  • The device often resembles a hammer, and its stable design allows it to lie on a flat surface without rolling around
  • Offers smoother hits due to a cool smoke
  • Great for novices
  • Difficult to clean
  • Not strong for seasoned smokers
  • Requires water to use
  • Give a clean high
  • Complete temperature control
  • THC in its concentrated form creates a more intense high
  • May bear the risk of addiction or misuse
  • May contain contaminants that lead to diseases
  • Not ideal for on the go
Flower vapes/ vape pens
  • Don’t produce harmful chemicals
  • Small and look like a regular e-cigarette or a writing pen
  • Have a sleek design
  • Don’t produce a strong marijuana smell
  • Buy vape liquids from trusted dispensaries to avoid harmful ingredients
  • Require a charged battery to operate

Benefits of Smoking Cannabis

Inhaling marijuana (smoking and vaping) is one of the least harmful methods of cannabis consumption. It comes with lower risks of getting adverse effects and has the following benefits:

  • Smoking is the purest way of consuming weed because it allows people to taste the flavor of each strain and enjoy a variety of strains.
  • The cannabis smoke/vapor delivers THC into the lungs, where it passes directly into the bloodstream and then to the brain (the way for weed ingestion is stomach-liver-bloodstream-brain).
  • Consumers feel the effects within seconds or a few minutes (from 30 minutes to 2 hours for ingestion).
  • Full effects peak within half an hour (4 hours for ingestion).
  • Effects can last up to 6-24 hours after use (12-24 hours for ingestion).
  • Your smoking session can be a ritual aside from ingesting edibles or applying topicals. You can smoke in a circle of friends while sitting on a couch and watching TV.

rolling joint

Tips for Smoking to Keep in Mind

People who are new to smoking cannabis may find themselves overwhelmed with various methods available. When you smoke cannabis, consider these tips that will help you make a smoking session safer:

  • Use rolling paper that doesn’t contain toxic chemicals and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Give preference to glass pipes and bongs because plastic devices can produce harmful chemicals when heated.
  • Don’t share mouthpieces or joints with anyone because it puts you at risk for infections.
  • Don’t hold the inhale because it exposes your lungs to more tar per breath.
  • Keep all smoking devices clean, and don’t roll cannabis on a dirty surface.

Knowing these simple rules, you can avoid all risks typically associated with smoking.

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Marijuana has plenty of benefits offering both therapeutic and fun recreational experiences. As well as this plant has a variety of strains, it can be smoked in a plethora of ways. Consumers can choose the most appropriate method that suits an occasion, their level of cannabis smoking experience, and the desired result. However, doctors say that smoking can irritate your lungs and throat. Individuals with respiratory conditions may consider consuming weed via edibles, capsules, tinctures, or topicals.