What are joints, pipes, and bongs? (Marijuana / Cannabis)

These are probably the quickest way to get going if you have some buds and the way you’re likely to encounter marijuana that isn’t yours out in the world. We’ll knock them down one by one.


Break up some marijuana, wrap it up with some rolling paper and a crutch rolled up at one end and you’ve got a joint, otherwise known as a “J”. Rolling papers and “filter papers” can be found at most any gas station, liquor store, or smoke shop. There are a lot of tutorials out there already for how to roll a joint.

What is filter paper or a crutch?

You know the filter at the head of a cigarette that prevents the burnt stuff from coming back into someone’s mouth. Well, same concept. You can use an actual filter and buy a pack of them at the stores I just mentioned. Or, you can make a crutch out of a piece of thicker paper, folded as shown above in the diagram. Make about 4 folds of an accordion, then go around. Roll this piece up at one end of the paper with the cannabis. This will give your fingers a place to hold the joint and the accordion will serve as bit of a filter as well as provide structural support.

Once it’s rolled, all you have to do is light it and take a hit. If you are new to weed, then a whole joint is going to be too much for you to smoke on your own. Just take the hits you want and then you can either cap it in a tube or a jar to extinguish it or just set it down and it should burn out on it’s own. Then you can relight later when you’d like another hit.

When hitting a joint, as a starting point, give a relaxed inward pull of about “two Mississippi”, remove the joint from your mouth, breath in two more second before you relax and exhale. Some people refer to “ghosting” as holding in the smoke so long that it maximizes the amount of cannabis absorbed in the lungs. I’d highly recommend against this practice. Most of the cannabinoids are absorbed quickly in the first few seconds of the hit. Ghosting is no good for your lungs and doesn’t deliver any stronger impact.

Preparing the marijuana:
You’ll have to break up the weed to be able to roll it up into a joint. You can do this a number of different ways. If you don’t have a grinder, a shot glass and some scissors work well. If you have a grinder, don’t grind the buds up too fine. Maybe just one full turn. That does two things, first, it ensures the bud chunks are large enough so that air will flow easily through the joint. That makes the draw (how hard you have to breath in air through the joint) a lot easier (important if you’re rolling a big joint). Second, if the buds are too fine, after they burn, it is more likely they will come back as ash into your mouth. So for joints, a coarse minimal grind is usually best.

Pipes and Bongs:

If you have a pipe or a bog, then smoking is even easier because you don’t have to roll a joint. Here is a quick how-to on using these guys.

Loading the bowl:
For a pipe or a bong, it is usually easiest to just pick the marijuana buds apart with your fingers and place them in the bowl. Make larger pieces for the bottom so that you’ll have them as somewhat of a filter for the bottom. This will help stop burnt pieces or ash from coming back into the bowl toward your mouth. Stack the weed up until the bowl is full.

Hold up the lighter to the bowl while covering the side hole with you finger. Start to breath inward. You will be drawing smoke into the inner chamber of the pipe or bog. After a few seconds, continue breathing in, but release your finger and the flame. The smoke in the chamber will go into your lungs. Hold for just a moment and then exhale. Start small. Get a feel for it. With smaller pipes, you will be inhaling the smoke right away as you start to inhale. On larger bongs with bigger chambers, more smoke gathers before being inhaled.

When your finger is removed from the side hole there is a more concentrated burst of cannabis into your lungs and your bodily system. Your “high” will come on as a quicker wave. Across the board, the intensity of a hit depends on how much you inhale. To avoid coughing lower your inhale intensity. Remember, you just want to take sips. It’s fine to take a huge rip, but make sure that is what you want to do before you do it. You get an unlimited number of tries in this game.

Smoking marijuana when you have nothing but a lighter:

There are a few objects that can be made into a bong when one is not available. The apple bong and the soda can bong are probably the most useful to be aware of. Resorting to a creative method is neither shameful nor out of the ordinary. Quite the contrary. Ingenuity is praised when it comes to smoking marijuana. Here are a couple tutorials to help you make there.
Apple Bong
Soda Can Bong

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