Safely Smoking Cannabis

Smoking cannabis is the most common and expedient method of ingesting marijuana.  Through inhalation, you are able to experience the effects of the optimum doses of cannabinoids almost immediately.  Also, smoking allows the patient to best control the dosage when the desired relief effect is achieved.

Description of Safe Smoking Techniques

Since many of the medical cannabis strains are considered “potent,” please consume slowly.  Although the effects take place almost instantly, if smoking, we recommend you take one dose at a time.  If you desired effect does not present itself within a few minutes, take another dose.  Repeat these steps as necessary.

Please always medicate at home. If the result of ingestion is overwhelming, please relax.  The feeling is only temporary and will start to subside within hours.  If able, feel free to lay down or get off of your feet.  Again, it is illegal to drive after medicating, and please be responsible.

Cannabis smoke does contain a number of carcinogens and is considered the most ‘unhealthy’ of the ingestion options.  However, many of these carcinogens can be removed entirely through vaporizers or drastically reduced if the smoke is filtered through a water bong.

Smoking methods and techniques for your consideration:


If inhaling smoke is a concern, we recommend a vaporizer.

A vaporizer is a device used to extract the effective ingredients in cannabis. Vaporization is a superb way to deliver the therapeutic components of marijuana without the toxic byproducts of combustion.  Plus, since no combustion occurs, neither smoke nor the taste of smoke is present. Respiratory risks associated with smoked marijuana are eliminated.

Vapor ideally contains virtually zero particulate matter or tar and significantly lowers the concentration of noxious gasses such as carbon monoxide.  Vapor is not as harsh on the throat and avoids the production of irritating, toxic and carcinogenic by-products by heating the plant material so its active compounds boil off into a vapor.  THC boils at 392 F degrees.

Vaporizers contain various forms of extraction chambers including straight bore, venturi or sequential venturi and are made of materials such as metal or glass. The extracted vapor may be collected in a jar or inflatable bag, or inhaled directly through a hose or pipe. With little to no smoke produced and cooler temperatures, less material is required to achieve a given level of effect.

The vegetable material is placed in the vaporization device and heated to a temperature of 180° to 200° C (356° to 392° F). This causes the essential oils to volatilize, or evaporate, into a pure vapor, which is then collected and inhaled. The resulting vapors contain no tars, hydrocarbons, benzene, carbon monoxide or other toxic pryolytic gases and by products of combustion.

Water Pipes

Water pipes, aka Bongs or bubblers, pass the smoke through water to cool and filter it. Using a water pipe reduces the tar and particulate matter in smoke, making it a safer method of smoking medical cannabis.

Marijuana is put into a bowl on the end of a tube whose other end is in a sealed container partially filled with water.  The end of the bowl’s tube is below the level of the water so that as the smoke exits the pipe it is bubbled through a layer of water.  The air pressure in the chamber is lowered by breathing through another tube that stays above the water level in the chamber.  When the air pressure inside the chamber is lowered, air from outside the chamber passes through the bowl and its tube and bubbles through the water.

Water pipes are not particularly portable, as they tend to be awkward, delicate, and heavy.  Sizes range from the size of a small pill container to eight foot tall.  Principally made from glass, plastic, ceramic, and metal they can be an art form unto themselves.  The principal benefit of smoking marijuana through a water pipe is that the smoke is cooled and several carcinogens are removed without removing the active ingredients.  The active ingredients in marijuana are fat and alcohol soluble and when filtered through such substances the active ingredients go into solution.  In addition, the carcinogens in marijuana smoke are water-soluble so that when smoke passed through some liquid other than water one loses active ingredients and gains carcinogens in the smoke entering your lungs.

One method recommended is to put ice water in the chamber.  The cooled water is not quite as effective at removing the carcinogens but the additional cooling is favored among smokers.  Carburetors are small openings in the chamber that are covered during the hit and towards the end opened to allow all the smoke to escape the chamber.  Occasionally one finds a waterpipe designed so that lifting the bowl slightly and allowing the air to enter the bowl tube accomplish carburetion.


Joints, or cannabis cigarettes, are the perennial favorite of many people.  Cannabis is inserted inside a fold of rice paper and then rolled into a cylinder.  This is the singularly most portable method to smoke cannabis once the joint has been rolled.

When a joint has been smoked down to the point that it is difficult to hold it is called a “roach” and a wide variety of paraphernalia exists which are designed to hold the roach without burning oneself.  Collectively known as “roach clips” they include tweezers, alligator clips, forceps, needle nose pliers, and ceramic pieces with holes through them. There are a number of devices available to facilitate rolling a joint.  Absolutely essential is a cleaning tray to remove the stems and seeds from the loose marijuana.  There are a number of papers available with which to roll ones joint, varying in color, pattern, size, and presence of gummed edges.  There are rolling “machines” which make the process of rolling a joint much less ticklish, but with practice and skill at rolling joints these tend to hinder more than help.

Rolling a joint, or making a marijuana cigarette, is a learned skill. Practice makes perfect. Rolling papers are readily available at corner stores and gas stations, and come in a wide range of sizes, composition and flavors. Beginners are advised to start with larger sizes. Inexpensive cigarette rolling machines (~$3 to $5) are also widely available for those with less than nimble fingers.


Pipes are the simplest devices used to smoke medical cannabis.  For the most part, they are similar to pipes used to smoke tobacco but cannabis pipes should be made of heat-resistant materials such as stone, ivory, metal, glass, and occasionally harder woods.

Cannabis does not tend to stay lit in pipe so the flame constantly has to be applied to bowl that heats it up.  There are glass hash pipes which are used to smoke hashish and hashish oil, the materiel is placed in the bowl as with other pipes but instead of heat being applied to the top of the substance it is applied to the bottom of the pipe.


One-hits, or dugouts as they are sometimes called, are a highly portable method of smoking marijuana for someone who does not want to smoke an entire joint at one time. A one-hit is a small metal or glass tube that has a small cavity at one end and a mouthpiece at the other. One presses the cavity into a small container of cleaned cannabis to fill it and then is lit somewhat like a cigarette and inhaled steadily until the marijuana is gone. One only gets one inhalation or “hit” per filling thus it is called a one hit. A dugout is small wooden container which has a space for the cleaned marijuana and another space for the one-hit itself.

Gas Pipes (Carbureted pipes)

Gas Pipes are open-ended tubes with a small bowl mounted near one end perpendicular to the main axis of the tube.  The end near the bowl is covered with your hand and the smoke is drawn into the tube until the bowl is burned out then the hand is removed and all the smoke in the tube rushes into your lungs.  These are usually made from glass, though occasionally one will find plastic pipes.

Are you 21 years of age or older or 18+ with a valid medical ID?

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