Wondering how to smoke marijuana?
Get all your questions answered in our in-depth guide to ensure your first time goes without a hitch.
Marijuana was once an “unmentionable affliction” frowned upon by all sectors of society from law-making to law-abiding citizens. However, much has changed since then as most states now allow for some sort of medical usage.
Fast forward to today, and smokeable flower is now legal in medically legal states like Florida. A long-awaited win for medical marijuana users, qualified physicians can now recommend smoking as an appropriate administration method for patients. While there are many ways to consume marijuana (e.g. topicals, tinctures, edibles, etc.), smoking offers a fast and effective way to relieve debilitating symptoms.
However, if you’ve never smoked marijuana before and don’t know what to expect, it can be a daunting experience. In this guide, we’re going to answer all of your questions to ensure your first time is memorable for all the right reasons.
What are the Benefits of Smoking Marijuana?
There’s a great deal of controversy surrounding “smoking” as an administration route for medical marijuana. Inhaling smoke (whether it’s from cannabis, tobacco, or any other burning material) exposes the respiratory system to harmful chemicals (such as ammonia, formaldehyde, and hydrogen cyanide). The detrimental effects of smoking cigarettes are well established—we only have to look at the soaring rates of lung, mouth, and throat cancers to understand their devastating long-term impact.
However, the link between smoking cannabis and respiratory health is not so clear, primarily due to decades of restrictions on marijuana research. Recent research indicates that smoking cannabis is associated with various adverse respiratory outcomes (including bronchitis and lung disease).   Whereas vaporizing natural cannabis and ingesting edibles appears to reduce respiratory-related problems.
While patients should be cautious about smoking marijuana, sometimes the benefits can outweigh the risks. For example, patients who suffer from debilitating chronic pain that arises suddenly will benefit from the faster delivery that smoking provides. When you inhale, marijuana smoke fills your lungs and is instantly absorbed by millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli, which have an enormous surface area, and enable the active compounds to enter your bloodstream within seconds.
While smokeable flower has been legalized for medical use in Florida, there are still certain conditions you will need to satisfy before you can obtain a recommendation.
Firstly, you will need to qualify for medical marijuana and acquire a medical marijuana card. You will then need to gain approval from a qualified physician who may recommend smoking as an appropriate administration method to treat your condition. Please refer to our article on smokeable flower in Florida for further information.
There are a few different ways to smoke medical marijuana. Below are the most common delivery options to consider:
Pre-rolls: Pre-rolls (also called paper joints or cones) are widely available and a familiar way for patients to consume medical marijuana. Typically rolled in-house at a dispensary, they are ready-to-smoke, portable, and require no additional paraphernalia. If you’re a beginner, pre-rolls are a convenient option as it can be very challenging and time-consuming to roll your own. You also don’t have to worry about it falling apart or not burning properly. However, you need to be wary that some pre-rolls contain more than one dose, depending on the dispensary. They also produce a strong aroma, so they may not be suitable if you’re looking to reduce the cannabis smell.
Hand Pipes: Hand pipes are another popular delivery method usually favored for their convenience: being relatively small, portable, and easy-to-use. While hand pipes come in many different shapes and sizes, they’re typically made from glass and encompass an airtight tube, with a bowl at one end (to hold the finely ground cannabis leaves) and a mouthpiece at the other. The device works by trapping the smoke from the burning cannabis, which can then be inhaled through the mouthpiece.
Water Pipes: More commonly known as a bong or bubbler, water pipes operate in a similar way to hand pipes, although incorporate water to help cool the smoke, which some argue reduces the production of harmful chemicals. However, this is still up for debate. Again, like hand pipes, water pipes come in a variety of styles, designs, and materials, including glass, plastic, ceramic, metal, and even bamboo. However, water pipes should be used with caution as they have a tendency to deliver rapid and potent effects.
Smoking marijuana has an extremely fast absorption rate: effects are commonly felt within a few minutes. This is significantly different to other delivery methods, such as edibles, which can take between 1-3 hours, as food is absorbed into the bloodstream through the liver.
You can also expect the effects to last about 4-12 hours in total, with peak effects occurring within 10-30 minutes. We recommend using a pre-roll if it’s your first time, as it’s much easier to control the dosage.
Firstly, it’s important to recognize that every cannabis strain is different and delivers different effects to varying degrees. For example, some strains are known to produce an intense psychoactive high, while other strains simply relax the body without altering your mental state. So, even if you inhale correctly, whether or not you get high the first time you smoke weed, depends on the strain. Why is this?
All marijuana strains, recreational or medical, come from the same cannabis plant. However, there are different varieties of the plant. To keep things simple, we’ll say there are two main varieties–Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.
Indica strains are generally considered to have higher concentrations of CBD, the major non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis, which is shown to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and help with anxiety.
Sativa strains, on the other hand, typically have more THC content (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the “high” you can experience and might associate cannabis with. THC is a strong sedative and appetite stimulant, which is why getting “high” is often accompanied with feelings of drowsiness and hunger (or the “munchies”).
With that said, we don’t recommend relying on the indica vs. sativa distinction when choosing your strain. The safest option is to speak with a qualified medical marijuana physician who can identify the most effective cannabinoids and concentration based on your individual needs.
As alluded to above, often times the first time many of us don’t fully feel the effects of marijuana the first time around is because improper application. It is not uncommon for first time cannabis users to inhale marijuana just right.
Beyond that, there are some scientific explanations as to why you may not get high the first time you smoke marijuana. The primary explanation is that there is a sensitization period for new smokers. The psychoactive compound in marijuana, THC, can actually cause the brain to increase the amount of its cannabinoid receptors. Thus, it may take a few tries before the body creates enough of these receptors in order for you to feel the full effects.
A further explanation is less complicated: you just didn’t know what it felt like to get high so you didn’t notice.
A likely explanation for not getting high the first time you smoke is a combination of the above factors.
If you’ve opted for a THC-strain to manage chronic pain or alleviate anxiety-related insomnia, you might be worried about potential psychological effects. Below are some tips for new marijuana patients looking for a carefree first experience:
Hopefully, you now have a basic understanding of how to safely smoke medical marijuana. The great thing about cannabis for first-time users is that you can feel safe knowing that no one has ever died from too much cannabis. If you feel like you've overdosed, try to stay calm, hydrate, get plenty of rest, and remember that the feeling will eventually pass.Do you have any further questions? Get in touch with a THC Physician today to learn more about medical marijuana and how it can help you.