How to inhale weed properly

If you’re here reading this I guess you have either smoked cannabis before, or you are about to start. Smoking weed isn’t quite as simple as lighting a joint and breathing in, believe it or not there is actually a correct way to inhale to get the most out of your weed, but also to stay safe. 

Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to inhale weed properly! We all know that marijuana is one of the most popular recreational drugs that people consume in various forms such as smoking, edibles, and vaping. However, smoking remains the most traditional and widespread method of consuming cannabis. So, if you’re new to this, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

How does inhaling weed make you high?

Before we jump into the fun part and teach you how to smoke weed the right way, let’s get a little scientific and learn how it is that inhaling weed gets you high. 

So you may be surprised to know this but raw cannabis actually contains very little THC, in fact so little that if you were to eat it, you would probably feel almost no effect at all, if not a little sick from eating a raw plant. No raw cannabis is actually abundant in a compound called THCA, and THCA is actually a precursor to THC. When you light a joint it heats the weed to such a temperature that is causes a process known as decarboxylation. This process converts THCA into THC where it is then inhaled.

Once you inhale the THC filled smoke it travels down into your where it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. From there, it travels to organs throughout your body including the brain where it begins to interfere with our endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and pain. This is what causes you to feel high.

And all of this happens within 20-30 seconds of that first inhale.

Does holding in smoke get you higher?

There’s a common myth that holding in marijuana smoke in, as well as coughing while you smoke gets you higher, but that’s not entirely true. THC is absorbed into the bloodstream within a few seconds after inhaling, so holding in smoke for too long won’t increase cause anymore THC to be absorbed. However, holding in the smoke can cause irritation in the lungs and increase the risk of respiratory problems, so it’s better to exhale immediately after inhaling. Ideally for the best effects you should breathe smoke in slowly and steadily, hold it in for no more than a few seconds and then slowly release it.

How to inhale properly and intensify your highs?

Now that we’ve cleared up the myth about holding in your smoke, and saved your lungs in the process, let’s take a look at how you can get higher while inhaling weed. 

Although smoking a joint is by far the most common way to enjoy the herb, let’s take a look at some of the other methods and find out how to inhale weed properly and intensify your high.

When smoking a blunt

A traditional blunt is a cigar that has been emptied out and filled with marijuana. Although many people nowadays call a blunt simply a joint without any tobacco in it. Blunts are a popular method of smoking because they burn slowly, allowing you to enjoy the high for a longer period. To inhale a blunt properly, take a deep breath and then place the blunt between your lips. Light the end of the blunt and inhale the smoke into your lungs. Hold the smoke in for a few seconds and then exhale.

When smoking a bong

A bong is like a pipe with a chamber filled halfway with water. The water is used to filter the smoke removing lots of the tar and contaminants before it gets inhaled into your lungs. Bongs are a popular way of smoking weed because the water cools the smoke, making it smoother and easier to inhale. To inhale from a bong, first pack the bowl with marijuana and light it. As you inhale, the smoke will travel through the water and into the chamber. When the chamber is filled with smoke, remove the bowl and inhale the smoke from the chamber. Hold the smoke in for a few seconds and then exhale.

When smoking a dry herb vaporizer

A vaporizer is an electronic device that heats up the marijuana to a temperature that you can choose. This vaporizes the THC without burning the plant material too much which keeps the terpenes and cannabinoids intact. Vaporizers are popular because they produce a smoother, cleaner and better tasting smoke than a bong or joint. To use a vaporizer, first, grind the marijuana and fill the chamber with it. Turn on the vaporizer and set it to a temperature of between 350°C – 400°C and wait for it to heat up. Inhale the vapor as it is produced and exhale slowly.

How long should you hold in weed?

As we have mentioned holding in the smoke from weed for too long can be harmful to your lungs and respiratory system. THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, is absorbed into the bloodstream within just a few seconds of inhalation, so there is no need to hold the smoke in for an extended period of time. It is best to inhale and hold it in for no more than 1-2 seconds before slowly exhaling. 

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How can you reduce the amount of tar you inhale?

Inhaling smoke causes irritation to the throat and lungs which is why you might find yourself in a coughing shortly after smoking a joint. However, there are lots of ways that you can create a smoother smoke that contains less contaminants and actually gets you higher. Let’s take a look what you can do to improve your smoking experience with activated carbon filters and bongs.

Activated carbon filters

Most people just tear and fold a piece of card to use as a filter in a joint, however, a better filter to use is an activated carbon filter. These can be used on joints to reduce the amount of tar and other harmful substances that are inhales. Made from activated carbon, they trap impurities and toxins from the smoke before it is inhaled into your lungs. Activated carbon filters are a cheap and easy way to reduce the amount of tar that you inhale and create a smoother smoke. 


Have ever smoked a bong and noticed that the water gradually turns brown? Well, this is mostly tar and all of this would otherwise have been inhaled into your lungs. Bongs work by using water as a filter that removes lots of the nasty contaminants from the smoke, including tar. It also massively helps to cool down the smoke as it passes through the bong, making the it smoother and less harsh on your lungs and throat. To make your smoke even smoother and cooler, try adding some ice to your bong.

You can also get filters that fit over a bong that further filter the smoke before it is inhaled. Using one of these reduces the carcinogens that are inhaled making it a healthier smoke. 

One important note is that bongs must be thoroughly cleaned after use. Mold and bacteria easily build up inside bongs and if they are not cleaned this can be inhaled the next time you use it.

How to inhale correctly?

1. Inhale: Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing the smoke to fill your lungs. Remember not to hold the smoke in for more than 1-2 seconds.
2. Exhale: Exhale slowly and fully, releasing the smoke from your lungs. If you are a beginner allow a few minutes between each inhale for it to take effect before consuming more.
3. When smoking a bong: Smoking a bong or anything with a carb is slightly different, the aim here is to inhale smoke straight into your lungs so it just quickly passes through your mouth. This is why when smoking a bong it is even more important to use a filter to remove contaminants.
4. Drink water: Smoking anything is an irritant to the throat, so keep plenty of water on hand to drink to prevent your mouth and throat from drying up.

Many people compare smoking weed to cigarettes thinking that is the lesser of two evils. And while smoking raw weed with no tobacco contains much less harmful chemicals, you still cause harm to your throat and lungs. This is why it is vitally important for cannabis smokers to use devices such as bongs, vaporizers, pipes and blunts along with a good quality filter to reduce the harm that smoke causes. Doing this as well as using proper technique to inhale your weed correctly will help to greatly reduce the effects of smoking on your lungs and throat while providing you with a smoother smoking experience.


Alger BE. Getting high on the endocannabinoid system. Cerebrum. 2013 Nov 1;2013:14. PMID: 24765232; PMCID: PMC3997295.

Iris Sideris

Meet Iris, the ultimate cannabis connoisseur! With her green thumbs and a puff puff pass mentality, Iris loves sharing her stash of knowledge on all things cannabis. Whether you're a seasoned smoker or a newbie to the ganja game, Iris is the go-to source for all things 420.

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