Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 5, 2023

If you’re a first-time smoker looking for the most efficient way to inhale weed properly, look no further. As every cannabis smoker begins as a novice, learning how to take your first hit of weed is of vital importance.

We’ll get into the proper breathing technique, help you determine the appropriate strain, dosage, as well as the best consumption method so you can maximize your cannabis experience.

No matter if it’s your first time trying cannabis, or the last time you smoked it was 20 years ago, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll give you the most efficient way to smoke weed so you can experience the full effects of your smoke session, so read on.

How to Take a Hit of Weed?

Use a Grinder

Before you get into the smoking experience, you should prepare your plant material, whether you’re planning to roll a joint, use a bong, or vape. In order to do this, you should use a grinder and grind your weed so you get an even, fine grind that ensures an even burn.

Inhaling Marijuana Properly

Even though smoking weed is similar to smoking cigarettes, given that you draw the smoke in and blow out a cloud of smoke, there’s a difference in the way you draw the smoke in and the amount of time you hold it in before exhaling it. 

No matter if you’re smoking a joint, blunt, or a spliff, the first thing you need to do is draw the smoke in your mouth, which is similar to the process of smoking a cigar, prior to inhaling the smoke into your lungs.

The next important step is to use diaphragmatic breathing (or abdominal breathing) by using a 4-2-4 count. Try to inhale softly for 4 seconds, pause for 2, and exhale gently for four. Try this sequence out beforehand, so you can use it correctly each time you smoke.

No Coughing

In order to prevent a coughing fit, start out with tiny hits instead of big hits so you can improve your inhalation tolerance. For first-time users, it might be better to try smoking out of a bong or bubbler as those devices filter the smoke with water. So before the smoke hits your lungs, the water cools it down.

Don’t Hold It for a Long Time

There is a misconception when it comes to holding the smoke when you breathe it in to “give it time to work.” When you do this, less oxygen is distributed to the brain, and that may be the reason for you feeling slightly dizzy, meaning you’re not feeling high from the weed, it’s just your brain playing tricks on you. As soon as you inhale with the 4-2-4 method, the cannabinoids are absorbed by your body, so breathe it in, and exhale the smoke without holding it in for a longer time than that.

The Exhale

The exhale should be as soft and gentle as your inhale, which should be similar to your natural breathing. Coughing occurs when holding your smoke for too long, or not introducing enough fresh oxygen as you smoke.

Add Fresh Oxygen

Inhaling fresh air is also very important when you take your hit. An abundance of natural airflow is good for reoxygenating your body as it cools down the smoke that gets inhaled, which is a good thing when you’re smoking cannabis.

When smoking out of a vape pen, you can inhale directly into the lungs, but if you’re smoking a joint or a spliff, make sure you take a breath of fresh air along with your smoke.

When you smoke something with a carb, like bongs or pipes, make sure to leave a bit of lung capacity before you release the carb so you can introduce fresh air in the hit. 

Consumption Methods

Novice users should probably start either with smoking or with vaporizing, for the reason that those consumption methods allow for a better dosage control compared to other methods.

Rolling Papers

Rolling papers are commonly used when smoking joints or blunts. The difference between joints and blunts is that the former is marijuana rolled in papers, while the latter is marijuana rolled in a special paper used for cigars which actually contains nicotine given that it’s made from the tobacco plant.

Joints are the most popular method for smoking marijuana, and the only difference to smoking cigarettes is that you first need to light the joint before you start to toke. As this method doesn’t protect your lungs from the smoke as much as vaporization does, make sure you take small hits in order to build up your tolerance.


A one-hitter weed pipe is an elongated pipe with a very small bowl that is a good alternative to smoking a joint. By using this method you insert a tiny amount of herb, light it up, and smoke it. 

Water Pipes

Water pipes include bongs and bubblers, which are a good alternative if you want to experience a smooth hit. Although, you should remember that the intensity of a bong hit is higher compared to smoking cannabis in a joint since you draw a lot more smoke.

When filling up your bong, first grind your weed and make sure you don’t overfill the bowl at the end with too much weed because you’ll risk the weed burning unevenly, and then fill the bong with water. 

When inhaling, cover the little hole with your thumb and bring the mouthpiece to your lips. With your other hand, light up the weed and take a hit. Once you start feeling a burn, release the thumb so the air will rush into the pipe, and you can exhale the smoke. Don’t forget to let fresh air into the bong so you can get a stronger inhale.


Vaporization is a good method for first time smokers as it can help you avoid respiratory irritation that commonly happens when smoking. 

Vaporizers cause the THC and CBD to evaporate into a gas without the combustion of the plant material. As a result, vaporizing is less harsh on the lungs than smoking marijuana with the added bonus of preserving the terpene flavor that gets lost in combustion.

When vaping cannabis, you should take shallower hits and hold them less time compared to holding cannabis smoke from joints. It’s also a good option to take breaks between hits in order to figure out if you actually need another dose.


Dabbing is a newer form of vaporization where the cannabis concentrates are dropped on a heated nail. That creates vapor that is trapped in a glass globe which users can inhale. When you dab, you generally consume pretty clean concentrates compared to using the combustible flower, although dabs are generally higher in THC.

Final Thoughts for First-Timers

Whether you’re a first-timer, or you’ve been using medical cannabis in your CBD joints, the most important thing when smoking cannabis is to inhale properly. 

Other things to keep in mind include choosing the right strain for your needs. The budtender in your local dispensary will have all the info about the Indica, Sativa, or hybrid strains they have on hand and can recommend a good blend. If you’re looking for an upbeat and creative experience, you might opt for a Sativa, and if you’re after a more relaxed experience go for an Indica dominant strain.

When smoking weed for the first time, you should be mindful of the dosage you’re consuming so you don’t overdo it and have side effects like paranoia, panic attacks, and headaches. The best way to go about it is to wait 5-10 minutes after your first toke, observe the onset of effects, and then decide if you need more or not.

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.