Lighting a joint is not as simple as it may seem, especially if you're new to smoking weed. Here you'll learn the correct way to light a joint, along with the safest and healthiest flame sources for your next smoke session

What is the correct way to light a joint?

One of the safest and most environmentally friendly ways to light a joint is to use a hemp wick, which is coated in beeswax. Hemp wicks provide a healthier alternative to traditional lighters since you will not be inhaling any butane. This organic alternative preserves the flavor of your joint and continues to burn even after you start smoking. Hemp wicks are also good options for lighting bongs and pipes. 

hemp wick
One of the safest and most environmentally friendly ways to light a joint is to use a hemp wick, which is coated in beeswax.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Here is how to light a joint with a hemp wick:

  1. Light up one end of the hemp wick
  2. Angle the hemp wick slightly up or down to stay in control of the burn
  3. Twist the joint to create an even flame all around
  4. Be careful of dripping beeswax
  5. Smoke the joint
  6. Put the hemp wick out after your joint is lit

Using a hemp wick means doing something that can benefit your personal health as well as the health of the environment

How do you light a joint without canoeing?

When you light a joint you want to create a perfect balance of flame all around the cherry (the glowing tip). Canoeing, or only lighting the top half of the joint lengthwise, is not the desired outcome. The key to avoiding canoeing is to twist your joint slowly to ensure that you are lighting up the whole tip equally. Patience will help you create a long-lasting, fully lit cherry so you won't have to relight. 

woman smoking joint in nature
Lighting your joint carefully should help it burn evenly, but if your joint keeps canoeing, it may not be rolled tightly enough.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Once the tip of the joint is evenly lit, inhale a few short puffs to make sure that the cherry is fully formed. The joint should stay lit without any effort on your part. Lighting your joint carefully should help it burn evenly, but if your joint keeps canoeing, it may not be rolled tightly enough. Our advice? Keep smoking, don't despair, and remember practice makes perfect

Is it bad to light a joint with a lighter?

Butane lighters are by far the most popular way to light up a joint, but they're not the best choice if you are health-conscious. For some people with sensitive respiratory systems, butane can be an allergen. Further, the fumes from butane can irritate your eyes, skin, and lungs. It would take a large amount of butane to do serious damage to the lungs, but these types of lighters still pose some risk. 

Likewise, the fumes from candles, which some smokers use as lighters, can contain some of the same types of irritants (unless you are using an organic candle). But any type of candle could pose a safety risk as they are designed to be lit, not to light other objects. 

Can you light a joint with matches?

Technically, you can light a joint with a match but you might not want to. For starters, matches contain sulfur. So, unlike hemp wicks, matches may alter and corrupt the flavor of your weed. In addition to sulfur, matches contain other chemicals such as potassium chlorate and phosphorus, neither of which you want to inhale. 

If you must use a match, let it burn for several seconds before you light the joint. Waiting this short interval helps the sulfur burn off so that the chemical doesn't interfere with the taste of the joint. Pausing also gives the other chemicals a chance to burn off, though they may not do so entirely. 

Whenever possible, choose a hemp wick rather than a pack of matches. Unlike matches that cannot be used in the rain, hemp wicks are good options for outdoor smokes in all kinds of elements. As always when smoking outdoors, be careful not to start a forest fire. 

How do you put a joint out to save it for later?

If you want to take a break from your smoke session and save your weed for later, you can put the joint out without much hassle. Simply find an ashtray or other non-flammable surface (such as concrete) and very gently press the burning end of the joint down the way you might do with a tobacco cigarette. Don't press too firmly or you will risk crushing the joint and making it unusable later. 

joint in ashtray
To save your weed for later, find an ashtray or other non-flammable surface and very gently press the burning end of the joint down.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Alternatively, you can let the cherry break off and tumble into the ashtray without applying any pressure. You can also “suffocate” the joint in a tightly sealed joint tube. In every scenario, the smoke from your leftover joint will have an ashy flavor profile the next time you light up, but rest assured it will still get you adequately stoned. 

Was this article helpful? Give Feedback

{EMAIL}
has been subscribed!

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on December 4, 2020.