Monday December 2, 2019

By Erin Hiatt

How to Smoke a Joint Education

Smoking a joint with friends is practically a rite of passage for cannabis consumers. But with this shared rite comes some rules of the road. As it turns out, over the 5,000 plus years of humans consuming the herb, cannabis has evolved and today claims its own unique slang, language, humor, literature, music, art, and etiquette. And nowhere is that etiquette more pronounced than when it comes to rolling, smoking and sharing a joint.

So, whether you’re partaking by yourself or with friends, here are some pro tips on how to smoke a joint.

How to Smoke a Joint by Yourself

Whether you’ve rolled your own joint or opted for a pre-roll, the first step in lighting up is to “roast” your joint. Unlike a cigarette, where you light and inhale at the same time, joints should be roasted before inhaling by holding the flame to the end of the joint. Then rotate the joint to make sure it’s evenly lit all the way around. Roasting the joint first also helps to prevent canoeing (AKA running) or an uneven burn.

You may also want to consider adding a homemade filter or tip, also known as a crutch, which holds the end of the joint open, keeps plant matter out of your mouth, and protects your fingers and mouth from getting burned as you work your way down the roach. A crutch is really simple to construct and can be made with just about any kind of stiff paper (think about the thickness of a business card).

Now that you’re ready to start puffing, take a steady hit, then exhale slowly. If you are new to smoking, you’ll most likely cough, which is really normal. Drink some water between hits to soothe your throat and remember, smoking a joint is not like smoking a cigarette, where you smoke the whole thing down. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, and take a break if needed.

Smoking Joints with Friends

Smoking joints with friends is where the rules of joint etiquette really apply. One of the first rules of smoking with friends is that the person who rolls the joint sparks it. However, the roller is, of course, allowed to pass the privilege to another.

After lighting up, the most important tip for smoking with friends: Puff, puff, pass.

Take two reasonably-long puffs without hogging the joint, and pass to your left, unless house rules specify otherwise. When you exhale, make sure that you don’t blow your smoke into someone else’s face, which is, at the very least, inconsiderate. And before you pass, ash your hit. This way, ashes won’t fall on your friends’ floor, furniture, clothing or skin (not cool, and ouch).

Speaking of hogging the joint, don’t hold onto it during your turn, also called “babysitting,” or “bogarting.” This usually happens when the holder is sharing a story, but regardless of how enthralling that tale might be, people don’t want to wait and watch the roach burn down while you hold court.

Smoking a Joint
Follow the tips in this article to smoke joints like a pro!

There are a few other tips to help you unlock Emily Post status in your smoking circle. An important thing to remember is that sharing a joint with friends is a communal activity, where laughs, stories, and yes – germs are shared. So do your best to not to slobber all over the joint (the person to your left will thank you), and if you are sick, be respectful of the group and let them know (and maybe bring your own piece). And last but not least, don’t peer-pressure a friend if they choose not to participate. It’s important to be respectful of both consumers and non-consumers.

So, here are the rules of the road to help you smoke a joint like a pro:

Tips for Smoking a Joint Properly:

  • Whoever rolls it, sparks it
  • Roast your joint
  • Take slow, steady hits
  • Puff, puff, pass
  • Ash before you pass
  • Don’t babysit the joint
  • Don’t exhale in anybody’s face
  • Try not to slobber on the joint
  • Respect house rules

These tips work well for both novice and experienced consumers, so give them a try at your next sesh. Happy smoking!


Do you have any tips for how to smoke a joint properly? Share them in the comments below!


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt writes about cannabis, psychedelics, hemp, politics, and drug policy reform for THC Mag and Freedom Leaf. She has also written for AlterNet and Vice. Erin's work and industry insights have been featured as the hemp and media specialist for the Cannabis and Hemp Association and as a guest on "In The Know 420," speaking on federal and international drug policy. Erin's background is in the entertainment industry, where she worked as a print model and actress on stage, film, television, and commercials. Erin is an avid hiker, trekking much of the southwest, and is a proud member of Actors Equity. You can follow her work on Wordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.


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