Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 15, 2023

For all the wonderful and versatile ways we have of smoking marijuana, sometimes, when the dealer is out of new stock or one is too lazy to go to a dispensary, one resorts to smoking resin. Nothing odd about it – nearly every seasoned weed user has probably smoked resin at least once (and probably hated it).

If you’ve ever been out of your favorite Sativa and faintly wondered if you should make use of that tarry resin that’s collected on the walls of your bong, we’ll give you some tips on how to smoke it.

Weed resin is the outcast in the cannabis community, but knowing how to smoke it is an ace up your sleeve that could prove to be useful on desperate days.

Cannabis Resin 101

Cannabis resin is the sticky residue that collects on your pipe or bong when you haven’t cleaned it after several smoking sessions. It’s dark and sticky, and has a burnt taste. It’s mostly made up of tar, along with traces of ash, carbon, and leftover cannabis oils.

Will You Get High If You Smoke Resin?

The short answer is yes. Although minimal, resin still contains some residue of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. However, you’re going to need a lot more resin to get high than you would when you smoke buds as most of the THC has already evaporated. That said, the effects of getting high will still be more or less the same, as well as the side effects. Be warned, though, that the harsh taste is not for everyone, and it will likely irritate your throat and lungs.

Is Smoking Resin Harmful?

Since we’re here, we’re not going to sugarcoat it and say that it’s not harmful – of course, it is. Resin is a byproduct that accumulates over many sessions of weed-smoking, and it’s full of tar, ash, and carbon, all of which are harmful to inhale.

But, of course, this doesn’t mean that smoking resin once in a blue moon will immediately cause a major issue. It just means that you shouldn’t make a habit out of it. Therefore, the goal is to be aware of how unhealthy it is even when you choose to smoke it on those rare occasions.

Weed Resin and Live Resin Are Two Different Things

There is one important distinction we need to make between weed resin, the smoke build-up on pipes and bongs, and live resin, which refers to cannabis concentrates.

Live resin is extracted from the trichomes of fresh cannabis. It’s a high-quality concentrate that is abundant in cannabinoids and terpenes and has a very similar flavor profile to the cannabis plant itself. 

The manufacturers freeze the fresh plant material and obtain the chemical compounds using a butane extraction. This produces a powerful product with high amounts of THC, CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids (often double than the original plant it was sourced from).

Rosin and butane hash oil (BHO) are similar cannabis concentrates, but they’re extracted using heat and solvents, respectively.

Prepare the Pipe Resin for Smoking, or, Scrape it Off

Preparing the marijuana resin for smoking may be the most tedious part of the job, but your persistence will pay off. Basically, you’ll want to scrape off as much resin as you can get. However, reserve scraping only for glass pipes and bongs. Don’t scrape plastic ones as they will break down over time and you may end up smoking tiny pieces of plastic, which is not good.

When it comes to scraping, you’ll need some extra creativity because some places will be hard to reach. You can use paper clips or bobby pins because they are thin enough and can bend into a shape to help you reach some of those tough spots.

Use a lighter to help you soften the gunk, but be careful not to overheat the device as you might burn yourself. Note that resin is gooey and sticky, and it will make a mess on your carpet if you’re not careful. Using a non-stick parchment paper to gather the resin is the best choice. Stay away from wax paper, though, as you don’t want any more wax on your resin.

Another word of caution – do not use rubbing alcohol to remove resin if you intend to smoke it later. Isopropyl alcohol is not made for human consumption and may not be safe. Scraping may be tedious, but at least it’s safer.

How to Smoke Resin?

Even though resin has fewer cannabinoids and terpenes than smoking the cannabis flower, there are actually many ways in which you can smoke resin. Some are better than others, but what’s important is that they get the job done.

The Best Ways to Smoke Weed Resin

The easiest method is smoking it off the bowl you’ve used to smoke the cannabis flower. The leftover resin can be lit up and smoked on the spot, but you may taste the smell of butane from the lighter. So, the next best options will be discussed below.

Dry Pipe, the Simplest Way

Before you try anything else, try this method first, it’s the simplest way to smoke resin and it will save you the trouble of scraping it. Take a lighter and apply heat on the outer surface of the pipe or bong (or bubbler) to vaporize the resin. Just pretend that there’s already weed in there and take a puff. Simple, right?

Not so fast, though. You should be very careful with the heat. The device can get very hot, so it’s best to use something like a potholder to prevent you from burning yourself. The mouthpiece can also get hot, so check on its temperature before you bring it to your lips.

Using a Bong Will Mellow It Out a Little

To smoke weed resin with a bong, you will need to scrape the resin off first. Using your tool of choice, scrape it off and collect it all in one place. Then, roll it into a resin ball and place it in the bowl of the bong. Light it up and take a hit as you normally would.

Using a water pipe may be one of the best methods for smoking weed resin because the water will help to filter out some of the grossness and make the smoke more bearable and smokeable.

A Dab Rig, But Without the Dab

Smoking resin with the dabbing method is actually quite logical because the viscosity of weed resin is similar to some weed concentrates and it combusts in a similar way. Of course, using dabs with a dab rig is much more pleasant than using leftover resin, but hey, it happens.

To smoke resin with this method, roll it into lumps, load the dab rig, and smoke away. Again, best to put fresh water in the bottom to ease the harshness of the smoke.

With Hot Knives aka the Coolest Way

This is an alternative method for smoking resin, but it’s also the coolest-looking. Is it effective? Yes. Is it stinky? Yes. Should you be careful? Yes.

Basically, what you need to do is press the resin balls between two kitchen knives and hold them over a flame. After a short while, the resin will start evaporating, producing smoke trails. You can inhale the smoke using a straw or a funnel. The smoke will be harsh, your kitchen will reek of unpleasant smell, but you’ll get the job done. Again, you will need to be very careful with the heat and use a potholder if needed.

For Reference, Skip These Smoking Methods

To save you the trouble of experimenting and hating it, we also included two common methods of smoking weed resin which we don’t recommend.

Vaping May Ruin Your Vaporizer

The vaping method may sound like it’s a good idea, but trust us, it’s not. Since resin has already been burnt, it will need a higher temperature than THC to be vaporized, so you’ll have to up the temperature by a lot. Unfortunately, this also means that the smell and taste of resin will remain in your vape pen for a long, long time, and it will be a pain to remove it.

Joints are Nearly Impossible to Smoke

Resin is viscous, so that means that it will burn slower than weed because there’s no room for air to flow properly through the rolling paper. It will be sticky, smelly, and unpleasant. Maybe you’ll manage to puff once or twice, at best, but compared to other methods, the effort is not really worth it.

Final Thoughts on Smoking Resin

Unless you have no other choice but to scrape it and light it up, we recommend avoiding smoking resin. Not only is it harsh and irritating, but it’s full of harmful ingredients that you are way better off without. With that said, it’s really not worth the effort.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.