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How To Smoke A Joint: The Complete Toker’s Guide

Learning how to smoke a joint is all about practice. That’s what makes it so much fun! But if you’ve never smoked a joint before, where do you even start?

You’re in luck, my inexperienced friend. The all-things-cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana are here to bestow upon you the wisdom won from a lifetime (yeah, we’re that old) smoking the wacky weed.

In this article, we’ll give you all the best tips we’ve discovered over the years — some basic, some a little out there.

Whether you’re brand-new to the ganja-smoking game or a stoner-of-yore like us, you’ll find some valuable tidbits to help you learn how to smoke a joint for the best experience possible.

What Is A Joint?

Man lighting up a joint

Any exploration of how to smoke a joint starts — or should start — with the most basic question of all: what the heck am I holding in my hand?

Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve asked yourself this question a time or two. We wondered the same thing when we first started.

Smokable cannabis comes in so many shapes and sizes it can be difficult to discern what exactly is making its way around the smoke circle in your general direction.

We’re here to help!

When it comes to sucking on Mary Jane (oooh, that sounds dirty!), you’ve really only got four options:

  • Joint
  • Blunt
  • Spliff
  • Vape pen

Sure, there’s the bong/dab rig option, but you’d have to be extremely high — we’re talking well on your way to the moon — to mistake a bong for a blunt.

You’ve also got options like the Thai stick and the cross joint but, really, these are just variations on a theme.

We’ll talk about blunts and spliffs in the next section, but for now, let’s focus on answering the question, “What is a joint?” which is a more specific version of “What the heck am I holding in my hand?”

Joint Components

Figuring out what to call the smokable making its way around the circle can be stressful — especially when you’re not high (everything’s stressful when you’re not high, right?).

To help you in this regard, we’ve deconstructed the joint into its essential components. Identify those components and you’ll know exactly what you’re holding in your hand.

The components are:

  • Interior
  • Exterior
  • Color
  • Size
  • Flavor

Let’s investigate them one by one.


A joint is marijuana — and only marijuana — wrapped in a rolling paper. That’s pretty much it. Not super difficult, was it? No need for an advanced degree here.


Rolling papers can be composed of widely different materials, including the classic wood pulp to the more exotic rice to the “duh, why didn’t I think of it before” hemp.

Each type and brand of paper has different properties, including thickness, size, flavor, “rollability,” and burn length. Brand-names include Zig-Zag, Randy’s, Club, Bambu, Elements, Raw, and our personal favorite, NoGlu.


Back in the day, joints were always white or light tan.

It wasn’t that we were somehow prejudiced against other colors (cannabis has always been a very inclusive culture). That’s just how the rolling papers were made.

Flash forward…uh, several decades (yes, we’re that old!), and most rolling papers — and by extension, our joints — are still white or light tan…for the most part.

Now, rolling papers come in all sorts of psychedelic colors, so your joint can be gold, gray, polka-dotted, or even clear (for that voyeur inside us all).


Most rolling papers are about 3 inches long. When rolled, they typically resemble a cigarette.

That said, they can be thinner or thicker depending on the paper used and how much marijuana you pack inside.


As for the final component, the flavor of a joint will come from the strain used to roll it rather than the paper.

This is because most rolling papers are flavorless. That allows you to experience the full taste of your Fruity Pebbles without the paper getting in the way.

But while most papers are indeed flavorless, you’ll likely see some flavored varieties sitting on your local dispensary shelves.

It’s entirely up to you, but we say why add any other flavors to a perfectly good ganja strain?

A Joint By Any Other Name…Isn’t A Joint

elderly Native American woman showing how to smoke a joint

To paraphrase The Bard (that’s Shakespeare, boys and girls), a joint by any other name…isn’t a joint.

Though the cannabis community loves to create its own lexicon and refer to a single item, action, or comment by the same name, you should never — and we mean never — refer to one smokable by another’s name.

Calling a joint a blunt is like pointing at a Mazda Miata and calling it a Chevy Silverado. Yes, they both have four wheels and an engine, but that’s where the similarities end.

You can avoid embarrassment by always using the correct name for the item on which you’re about to toke.

And if you’re not sure, a general question like, “So what are we smoking today?” is an easy way to get your friends talking about the cannabis roll in their hand.

How To Smoke A Joint: Toker Tips

Marijuana joint burning

1) Gather Your Gear First

You don’t need a lot of gear to smoke a joint. But there are few things worse than settling in for a relaxing evening only to find you don’t have the essentials for a successful smoke.

Gather your gear — fire, ashtray, sploof, beverage, fave music or movie, plan for what to do while you’re high — before you blaze away so you’ll be relaxed and in the right frame of mind for the experience to come.

Toker Tip: Try storing your equipment in a bedazzled bag or box (OK, it doesn’t have to be bedazzled). That way, you don’t have to search all over the place for the gear you need.

2) Inhale Correctly

This may sound like strange advice since you’ve been breathing in and out for the extent of this article (and hopefully much longer), but you’d be surprised how difficult it can be to inhale correctly when learning how to smoke a joint.

If you’re not sure how to inhale correctly, try breathing through a straw for a minute or two to get the hang of it.

Toker Tip: If the smoke doesn’t make it to your lungs, you won’t get high.

3) Hold Your Breath For A Few Seconds

tattooed woman blowing smoke from a joint

Once you’ve mastered the inhale, kick it up a notch and try holding the smoke in your lungs for longer than you normally do.

This gives your lungs extra time to absorb more of the cannabinoids and terpenes into your bloodstream. That can make for a quicker, more intense high.

And before you try holding your breath until you black out (don’t do that), even just keeping the smoke in for a count of one or two will heighten the experience.

Toker Tip: If you can, work up to a count of five-Mississippi to see what happens.

4) Don’t Overdo It

If the only running you’ve done is fleeing from the neighbor’s nasty dog, you’re probably not ready to run a 5K.

The same principle goes for how to smoke a joint.

If you’re flying high after a toke or two, there’s absolutely no way you’re going to make it through the whole thing.

Toker tip: Know your limits. Feel free to push them now and again, but you don’t have to go 10 feet over the line when an inch will do.

5) Prepare For A Lot Of Munchies!

To paraphrase Dwayne LeFontaine in Over The Hedge, “Prepare for a lot of munchies!” Sure, he’s no William Shakespeare, but we like him.

If you’re doing it right, you will feel hungry after smoking your joint. It’s the law…of nature.

Instead of harshing your buzz by leaving the house and trying to decide where and what to eat — you will make the wrong decision — prepare for the munchies ahead of time.

Toker Tip: Before you juke that joint, assemble your favorite food and drink or order your favorite grub for delivery. That way, you can enjoy both the high and the bliss of a large stuffed-crust pepperoni pizza without having to peel yourself off the couch.

6) Drink! Drink! Drink!

bottles of water

We hear those words and we flashback to frat parties in college and copious amounts of cheap beer.

In this case, though, “Drink! Drink! Drink!” does NOT apply to alcohol.

If you want to learn how to smoke a joint the right way, always include copious amounts of water (it’s even cheaper than our college beer).

This is just a good rule for life in general, but when you’re on a date with Mary Jane, it’s doubly important to hydrate like you’re livin’ in the tropics.

Toker Tip: Chug! Chug! Chug! two cups of water before you light up and then make it a point to drink at least another cup of water after the cherry’s gone dark.

We find it helpful to fill a water bottle with our favorite post-toking liquid (NOT alcohol) and make ourselves finish the whole thing within an hour or two after our last inhale.

Not sure what to drink? We like Tropical Punch Kool-Aid or Grape Gatorade for their sugar and electrolyte content (Note: Kool-Aid does not contain electrolytes, just sugar), but anything wet will work.

If you need a hot beverage after your 420 smoke sesh, coffee and tea are ever so delightful.

7) Safety First

Whether it’s your first time learning how to smoke a joint or you’ve been doing it for decades, remember the mantra, “Safety first!”

Before you light up, always make sure you’re in a safe place.

Then, once you’re bombed out of your gourd, do everything in your power to stay away from danger.

Here are some DON’TS to remember as you settle in to smoke a joint:

  • Don’t smoke and drive
  • Don’t cut your hair
  • Don’t go shopping
  • Don’t operate machinery that can hurt you
  • Don’t do math
  • Don’t talk to authority figures

We don’t want to be a buzzkill with all the finger-wagging, so here are some suggestions for fun (and safe) things to do while high:

  • Watch a movie
  • Surf the web
  • Listen to music
  • Play video games
  • Read a book
  • Play weed games
  • Make some art

Toker Tip: Under no circumstances should you ever smoke weed (or otherwise consume cannabis) with people you don’t know and trust.

If THC is on the menu, you’re going to be hearing colors and tasting sounds at some point. You’ll also probably experience a bit of anxiety and paranoia as you come back down.

You don’t want someone with bad intentions taking care of you at either end of the marijuana spectrum.

How To Smoke A Joint With Friends

Guy showing how to smoke a joint with friends

Smoking by your lonesome (You’re Smoke Solo!) can be a lot of fun, but few things are more enjoyable than blazing with your buds.

But before you jump into your first toke circle, there are some unwritten rules — weed etiquette or weediquette for short — that you should be aware of.

These suggestions will maximize the fun for all when things get a little wacky and help everything go off without a hitch.

1) Sickos Stay Home

A bit of sticky icky is good for a lot of what ails ya these days, but killing viruses and bacteria isn’t one of them.

If you’re still contagious, stay home and smoke on your own.

If a smoke sesh spontaneously forms around you, and you feel up to it, prove your worth to the collective (Resistance is futile.) by going on a munchie run or acting as DJ for the night.

2) Don’t Freak If Someone Doesn’t Partake

At their best, cannafolk are a compassionate and considerate lot — or at least they should be.

So if someone in the circle, or even in the area nearby, doesn’t want to partake, keep your freak under control and don’t make a big stink (that just means more for you!).

Chances are they’ll relax once the smoke starts flying. Maybe they’ll even join in the next time around.

3) Ash The Twig Before You Pass

A joint with a cherry on top is like the best present ever (think cannabis lube!). You just can’t wait to rip into it.

But a twig with ash on the end is like finding coal or socks in the box. Don’t be that guy (or girl) who passes a dirty joint.

Take a few seconds — that’s all it takes — to ash the twig before you pass and everyone will be happy.

4) Lefties Rejoice

joint being passed from one person to another

Left is always right in the smoke circle.

Don’t ask us why (remember these are unwritten rules so there’s no cool origin story to fall back on). Maybe it has something to do with the Coriolis effect. Who can say?

Anyway, it’s enough to know that joints, blunts, spliffs, and bongs always travel left.

Make it so.

5) Saliva Belongs In Your Mouth

When you learn how to smoke a joint with friends, it’s a fact that you’re going to swap spit. There’s just no getting around it.

Everyone is putting their mouth on the roach (that sounds worse than it is) so there’s bound to be DNA transfer. Like kissing, that’s a natural part of sharing the Scooby Doo.

But a wet, saggy end? Not cool! Not cool at all.

Do your best to keep your saliva where it belongs — in your mouth.

6) Don’t Loiter

Here’s another bit of slang for ya: When you keep the doobie longer than it takes to toke and ash (sounds like a Folk music group from the ‘60s), you’re bogarting.

So if you forget where you’re at, what you’re doing, and what you’re holding in your hand, you’ll likely hear someone say, “Don’t bogart the joint, man!”

There’s no telling how long they’ll wait when you’re done — if it’s like the drivers in Bogota, Colombia waiting for traffic to move after the light turns green, it’s not long (read IMMEDIATELY!) — so don’t delay.

Get a good hit and pass the happy stick to the next hungry mouth.

And if you just can’t remember these simple instructions, here’s a mantra for you: “Puff, puff, pass.”

Learn it. Live it. Love it.

7) Happy Thoughts

Learning how to smoke a joint with friends is a cause for rejoicing. It is a festive occasion after all, and we all want to ride that happy high as long as we can.

Do your best not to be a buzzkill by bringing up sad, depressing, or awkward topics.

No woe is me. No fighting words. No shattered dreams. And definitely no Nickelback. (Just kidding. We love Nickelback.)

Here are some happy thoughts to keep you on the right track:

  • Unicorns
  • Kittens
  • Cotton candy
  • Kittens riding unicorns
  • Unicorns riding on kittens
  • Pickles and ranch

And here are some questions to ask if things start getting grim:

  • Is lava wet?
  • If you have braces when you die, do they leave them on when you’re buried?
  • Which armrest at the movies is yours?
  • What’s the best concert you’ve been to?
  • Who are the Grateful Dead and why are they following me?

Remember, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

8) Don’t Be A Jerk With Your Smoke

Woman blowing smoke after taking a hit

When you blaze a joint with friends, there’s going to be lots of smoke. That doesn’t mean your neighbor wants it in their face (unless they’re prepared to shotgun).

Always blow your smoke up and away from those around you.

To really make things interesting, master some smoke tricks and exhale that way. A few minutes of internet research will reveal a long list of fun smoke tricks you can learn in your free time.

Pick one — the smoke ring is always popular at parties — practice, practice, practice, and then roll out your new skill when surrounded by friends.

9) Share Your Stash And Supplies

If you’re invited to burn down with your pals, bring your canna-kit with you to share with your canna-compatriots.

Where weed is concerned, you don’t have to bring everything you’ve got — enough for another J is enough.

Similarly, bring your rolling papers, lighter, and anything else you think might make the smoke sesh more fun.

If you don’t have supplies or a stash to share, consider showing up with one or two of these options:

  • Your favorite movie
  • Your favorite game (video, board, or otherwise)
  • Your favorite music
  • Snacks!
  • Drinks (weed wine is fun)
  • A hula hoop
  • Cats riding unicorn videos
  • Your guitar (only if you can play or you somehow made it into a bong)

And, if all else fails and you arrive empty-handed, you can always offer to slip a bit of cash your host’s way as a thank you.

10) Treat The Joint Like Precious Cargo

You wouldn’t treat your friend’s car like a rental, would you? Don’t treat their joint like one either.

Good-quality weed — like the stuff we hope is wrapped up in that joint betwixt your fingers — is expensive and ever so precious.

Make sure your circlemate has a good hold on the joint before you let go.

And never, ever, under penalty of stoning (not the good kind), throw the joint from person to person (not sure why you would, but we just thought we’d cover all the bases).

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