inhaling weed through nose

How to inhale weed without going overboard

Copy article link to clipboard.

Link copied to clipboard.


  1. How to inhale weed properly
  2. How to avoid inhaling too much

Every stoner begins as a novice and learning how to inhale weed is the first step of every toker’s journey. Since breathing is a natural process that occurs thousands of times per day, it’s strange to contemplate “how to inhale.” Nevertheless, all first-time smokers start somewhere, and proper breathing technique is essential to maximizing the cannabis experience.

A proper breathing technique is essential to maximizing the cannabis experience. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

Most first-timers hit their joint like they’re smoking a cigarette without actually breathing the smoke into their lungs. If the smoke isn’t fully inhaled into the lungs, it only travels into the throat and nasal passages, which absorb THC, thus wasting precious cannabinoids. This is why many first-time tokers fail to get high.

Read on to learn how to avoid coughing and choking while making the most of every cannabis hit.

How to inhale weed properly

Proper inhalation techniques stem from the same basic principles and vary slightly depending on whether you’re smoking a joint, hitting a bong, or using a vaporizer.

When smoking, you’re burning cannabis to the point of combustion and inhaling the smoke to deliver cannabinoids into your bloodstream. Smoking can be painful for lungs, so it’s important to take slow, measured draws to minimize irritation. Start with shallow inhalations and draw more deeply as you progress and become more comfortable.

Here’s a handy technique to ensure your lungs absorb the maximum amount of THC: slowly inhale about two-thirds of your hit and follow up with a deep, inhaled gulp of air. The fresh air pushes the cannabis smoke down into the lungs and should improve THC’s absorption. There’s no need to hold your inhale for long. THC and other cannabinoids may act as bronchodilators, which means they increase airflow, speeding absorption.

Slowly inhale about two-thirds of your hit and follow up with a deep, inhaled gulp of air. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

After your first toke, consider waiting 5-10 minutes to observe the onset of effects and then deciding whether you need more.

How to avoid inhaling too much

Some cannabis consumption methods are more harsh than others. Blunts and spliffs include tobacco, which damages the lungs. Joints and pipes, which contain cannabis only, may be less harmful. Similarly, smoking marijuana out of a bong or bubbler cools the otherwise harsh cannabis smoke by filtering it through water.

Smoking marijuana out of a bong or bubbler cools the otherwise harsh cannabis smoke by filtering it through water. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

Start slow as you pull through your pipe or bong, gulping a breath of fresh air after you clear the chamber. The gulp helps you absorb the THC fully. You can always take deeper hits as you become more comfortable and understand how to control your dose.

Vaporizing weed is less harsh on the lungs than smoke, but many cannabis consumers report a more intense high with this method. Cannabis vaporizes at a much lower temperature than its burning point, thus preserving the cannabinoids and terpenes otherwise lost in combustion.

Vaporizing weed is less harsh on the lungs than smoke. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

When vaping cannabis, whether in oil or flower form, it’s better to take shallower hits and hold them for slightly less time than you would hold cannabis smoke. Take time between hits to assess how you feel and decide whether you’d like to consume more.

How to inhale weed without going overboard Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents How to inhale weed properly How to avoid inhaling too much

The Right and Wrong Ways of inhaling Cannabis

You may be wasting money! If you’re not inhaling your cannabis correctly, you are shorting yourself on the experience and burning through your money.

Long ago, when my cousin introduced me to smoking pot, he would laugh at my smoking “style.” I held the joint like cigarette between index and middle fingers. I puffed away and flicked ashes here and there. When I didn’t notice the psychic trip I expected, I asked him how I would know when I was high.

He said, “Of, you’re high.” When I asked how he knew, he said, “Because you won’t shut up!”

I was ready for another hit shortly after the first, pretty much like the pace at which I would smoke cigarettes. But, he stopped me, told me to wait, and taught me the right and wrong ways of inhaling cannabis.

The right ways to inhale cannabis

The various cannabis forums recommend smoking this way and that. So, there may not be one way to inhale correctly. Everybody has a different take on the habit. But, let’s remember what you are looking for. Marijuana works through the lungs, so you want it to spend some time there.

But, lungs may not be the big balloons you picture inflating and deflating as you breathe. Their purpose is to take oxygen in and remove carbon dioxide as a waste product. This process is called “gas exchange.”

More specifically, according to, “ The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). The trachea (windpipe) conducts inhaled air into the lungs through its tubular branches, called bronchi. The bronchi then divide into smaller and smaller branches (bronchioles), finally becoming microscopic.” The air then travels into air sacks called “alveoli” where it is absorbed into the blood.

This whole respiratory process is governed by the diaphragm, a large muscle under the lungs. As you inhale, the diaphragm contracts to create a vacuum that the inhaled air fills. When you exhale, the process reverses itself.

Now, the brain tells its systems to resist foreign substances. But, since cannabinoids have a place in the brain’s workings, it welcomes them. But, since the lungs’ anatomy can’t handle more than it wants, if your intake is too big, it will only flow into the trachea, nose, and mouth.

It calls for you to smoke more conscientiously than smoking a cigarette. So, it’s not something you pick up right from the beginning.

  1. Start with a deep breath of fresh air.
  2. Slowly inhale enough marijuana smoke to fill your lungs about two-thirds full.
  3. With the smoke in your lungs, take in some fresh air to top it off and fill the lungs.
  4. You want to inhale deeply to reach through the spongy texture of the lungs.
  5. Wait several minutes between your puffs.

Alex, at, recommends inhaling “with a simple 4-2-4 rhythm. Inhale deep for four seconds, pause briefly for two, and exhale mildly for four.” The point being that you want to use rhythm and fresh air to push the smoke deep into the lungs. Holding the smoke in your lungs does not increase the high.

The wrong ways to smoke cannabis

THC and the best stuff in cannabis leach into the blood system in milliseconds. So, sucking in a big toke and holding it for a while really wastes the product.

  1. It’s a mistake to smoke the joint like a cigar which you do not inhale. It is more like cigarette smoking where you do inhale. The difference is that extra deliberate intake of fresh air that drives the smoke down into the lungs.
  2. Since you are taking your time to smoke it correctly, you want to be sure the spliff does not burn up. It’s better to relight the stick than to see it turn to ash.
  3. Do not moisten the tip too much with your lips. There is product throughout the joint, so keep it dry because you may save the unused debris.
  4. First-timers risk going too far. Thinking that they won’t get high on their first try, they go out of their way to get high. But, veterans still recommend patience and pacing.
  5. You need to know what to expect from your cannabis strain. Indicas and Sativas do not act the same way. If you want to heavy psychological hit, you want Sativas. It you want mellow and relaxed, you go for Indica. So, if you are smoking as Indica, you won’t get that “bad” high. So, don’t be tempted to chase it with more tokes.
  6. A poor quality lighter or cheap sulfur matches can ruin your taste. Cheap butane includes toxins that affect taste, aroma, and the whole respiratory experience.
  7. Coughing is not really your friend. It does not confirm your high, nor does it prove you have quality weed. It really means your stuff is burning too hot because that irritates your throat and bronchi.
  8. If you’re smoking through a bong, you must pay attention to the carb. If you don’t cover that little hole on the side, the smoke won’t build up. You uncover it after you light up and, then, inhale.
  9. If you are using a bowl, you want to use well-stored, well ground stuff. If you just pack the bowl tightly with product, you will prevent the necessary air circulation through the weed.
  10. Blunts bind your cannabis in tobacco lead rolling papers. There’s enough nicotine to foul the taste of the grass and to addict you to the tobacco. So, while smoking straight up or through pipes, bongs, and vapers is the preferred mode of intake, you might prefer edibles to blunts.

Cannabis costs money, and you deserve the best experience you can afford. But, smoking it incorrectly wastes product and cheapens your experience. So, it literally pays you to learn how to smoke correctly.

Recreational and Medical Marijuana News, Articles and Information: The Right and Wrong Ways of inhaling Cannabis ]]>