Even as new technologies allow manufacturers to create numerous product types that deliver the benefits of cannabis, traditional flower smoking remains the most common and preferred method of consumption around the world.
Flower, also called “bud,” refers to the smokeable part of the cannabis plant that has gone through the cultivation, harvest, drying, and curing process. Cannabis flower continues to be a popular choice for its versatility, offering numerous methods of consumption, such as being smoked using a pipe or bong, or by rolling it into a joint or blunt.
Among the many benefits of smoking weed is its rapid onset. Flower’s high bioavailability means you’ll feel its effects almost instantaneously. Effects can last anywhere from one to three hours, varying from person to person.
How to Smoke Weed
While the majority of weed smokers around the world know how to roll their flower into a joint to smoke, there are numerous ways to enjoy cannabis flower. These methods are dependent on the person’s preference, environment and given situation.
How to Smoke a Joint
This is the most common method of smoking weed, there are many benefits to rolling a joint. The only tools you need to roll a joint are rolling papers and your flower (a grinder, while helpful, is optional). Rolling papers are inexpensive and easy to purchase (available in most convenience stores).
Most common rolling papers are made from wood pulp material, but there are a variety of different rolling papers specifically tailored for stoners, including longer-sized papers, hemp-based papers, and even packages that provide the joint roller with extra paper to make crutches with.
How to Smoke a Blunt
While less common, a blunt is the same basic idea as a joint. A blunt is an emptied-out cigar wrapper that’s been filled with flower and resealed. For similar reasons as a joint, the benefit of rolling a blunt is that all you need is the blunt wrap (or tobacco leaves) and your cannabis flower (a grinder is optional). Most convenience stores sell cigars, allowing blunt making to be possible virtually anywhere. The only potential downside to a blunt is that you’re also consuming the tobacco in the cigar wrap.
Possibly the easiest, most straightforward way to smoke weed is through the use of a pipe. Small, compact, and easy to use, pipes are handheld devices that are used to smoke flower. They require no power or water; simply break apart your flower, fill the bowl and light up. Ideal for traveling or discreet use, pipes are practical and reliable tools for cannabis smokers.
Another common method of smoking flower is the use of a water pipe, or “bong.” Bongs are a filtration device structurally comprised of a chamber, which is partially filled with water, and a downstem that connects the water chamber and holds a bowl (which holds the cannabis). Bongs are ideal for calming the heat and harshness of inhaling smoke. The liquid in the water chamber helps filter particles from the smoke. The water level in the chamber should be set just above the open end of the downstem to properly filter the smoke. As the smoke makes its way through the bong, the length of the pipe also aids in the cooling action.
Bongs come in all shapes and sizes; some are more advanced (and thus, more expensive) than others. Some glass bongs are modified so that users can add ice into the chamber and cool the smoke before it’s inhaled. Glass percolator bongs provide an additional filtration system in the chamber, making it possible to filter the smoke multiple times, leaving the user with cleaner and cooler hit. Keep in mind that glass bongs and pipe tend to get caked with resin after longtime use, necessitating an occasional deep clean to restore the paraphernalia to its pristine state and get the most pleasant possible flower consumption experience.
While a glass bong is the most popular waterpipe style, there are also lower quality acrylic bongs, ceramic bongs, and even DIY options, such as the gravity bong. A classic homemade method of consumption, there are two different types of makeshift “gravity bongs” you can make to smoke flower.
The most common type of gravity bong comprises of an empty plastic bottle–think a two-liter soda bottle–with the bottom cut out and a bowl mounted into the cap, as well as a larger container or bucket filled with water. Partially submerging the bottle in the water, the bowl is lit and the bottle is slowly raised, creating pressure that causes smoke to fill the smaller container. When the chamber is filled or the bowl is ashed, the bowl is unscrewed and the smoke is inhaled through the opening at the top of the bottle.
Another type of gravity bong, also commonly referred to as “waterfall bong,” uses just one container or plastic bottle. It must have a bowl mounted onto the cap and a small hole near the base of the container to drain the water out easily. To use this waterfall bong, fill it with water and plug the hole in the base to prevent water from escaping. After packing the bowl, hold the lighter flame to the flower and allow the water to slowly seep out from the hole at the base, causing cannabis smoke to fill the vacant space in the bottle. Unscrew the cap and take a hit to clear the encapsulated smoke out of the container.
Unlike other methods of cannabis consumption, flower doesn’t have a standard dosing structure. Potency is measured by the total concentration of cannabinoids (chemical compounds that act on our endocannabinoid system to stimulate psychoactive and physical effects) and is expressed in percentage of mg/g. For example, a menu item of Hardcore OG might read as 18.84% THC, which indicates that there are 188.40 milligrams of Tetrahydrocannabinol (an intoxicating cannabinoid) per gram of flower.
For novice-level smokers, it’s highly advised that you start with a small amount of cannabis flower and gradually increase the dosage until you find that sweet spot. The reported adverse side effects of THC, which are dependent on several factors, such as the THC potency of the cannabis product and dosage amount, include paranoia and anxiety.