There are a lot of tips out there for smoking cannabis. Some are valid, while others are little more than urban legends. Here are a few of the best ones, backed by science and presented to help you achieve your optimal high.
Tip #1: Choose Your Strain Carefully
Different strains of cannabis will produce different effects. Each strain has a different blend of cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that interact with your body systems.
The two cannabinoids to know are CBD and THC. Strains heavy in THC tend to produce more intense and invigorating highs, whereas CBD-dominant strains have more relaxing effects.
Also, pay attention to the terpene content in your strain. Terpenes are essential oils that give a strain its unique flavor, aroma, and effects.
A strain with high concentrations of limonene, for example, tend to have citrusy notes and mood-elevating properties. Strains with pinene have, unsurprisingly, a piney aroma and can make you feel more alert. The list goes on and on, so do your research and choose the terpene blend that will give you the effect you want.
Tip #2: Use a Grinder
It’s easy to get lazy and skip the step of grinding your cannabis flower, but you’ll get a better high if you make the effort.
Grinding breaks up your flower and gives it more surface area. This does two things: it causes the flower to burn more evenly, providing a smoother high, and it lets you fill your bowl or joint more fully.
Technically, you can break up cannabis with your fingers, but then the THC resin will end up on your fingers instead of in your lungs. A commercial grinder is the best choice because it has a chamber to collect kief, the sticky crystals that contain the majority of the plant’s cannabinoids. If you don’t have a grinder, you can chop your flower with a sharp knife or pair of scissors.
Tip #3: Inhale Deeply
Smoking is one of the fastest ways to get high. Once the smoke is in your lungs, tiny capillaries absorb the THC molecules and send them directly into the bloodstream. From there, your blood carries the THC to cannabinoid receptors in your brain and body. You get high when THC molecules bind to those receptors.
To absorb as much euphoria-producing THC as possible, you want to get the smoke all the way down into your lungs, so take a deep breath. If you don’t, you might end up with what some smokers call a “top shelf”—that narrow breath that results in choking and sputtering instead of a nice smooth high.
Tip #4: Don’t Hold Your Breath
Some people hold their breath when they smoke cannabis, believing that keeping the smoke in their lungs for 10 to 15 seconds will get them higher.
It’s not true. The myth persists because when you hold your breath, you can start to feel lightheaded, and people mistake that feeling for an intensified high.
Research shows that whether or not people hold in a breath of cannabis smoke, their measured and self-reported levels of high are basically the same.
A Final Word on Smoking Cannabis
There’s no one perfect technique for smoking cannabis. Some people prefer joints, some swear by bowls, and others reach for bongs. Whatever technique you use to smoke, keep these tips in mind so you can get the most out of your experience.