Joints, Blunts, Bongs, Pipes – A Starting Guide to Smoking Weed

Written by Review Weed Cannabis & Health Enthusiast
Updated: 2023-09-11
A guide describing the main products for smoking weed - joints, blunts, pipes, bongs

Table of Contents

People have used cannabis for centuries for both medical and recreational purposes. Smoking is the most popular way of taking weed and is widely considered the traditional method.

Four common ways to smoke cannabis are joints, blunts, pipes, and bongs. While each method might look the same to a beginner, they all have their unique traits.

This article will teach you the differences between the different ways of smoking weed and what you should know before choosing a method that works for you.

The different ways to smoke cannabis

You can smoke weed using the following:

  • Joints/Spliffs
  • Blunts
  • Bongs
  • Pipes
  • Vaporisers
  • Dab rigs

Each method has its subtle differences, affecting everything from flavour to the intensity of the effects. Exploring the options can help you prepare for the experience, taking into account factors like potency, duration, and preparation complexity.

Smoking is harmful, addictive, and it is not for everyone. If you do not like smoking but want to try cannabis, you can explore edibles, tinctures, and topicals.

Joints & spliffs

Joints are the most common method of cannabis consumption worldwide. It is simply a rolling paper filled with ground-up cannabis; you can buy quality ones in any of the top-rated online marijuana dispensaries.

An image showing cannabis cigarette
Joints & spliffs are the most popular way of smoking weed.

Spliffs are much like traditional joints, but instead of being 100% cannabis, they are a mix of cannabis and tobacco. Here’s why you may or may not add tobacco to your joints:

  • Tobacco can affect the potency of the high. The nicotine in tobacco acts as a stimulant, which can counterbalance the relaxing effects of weed, resulting in a less intense high.
  • Additionally, tobacco helps with a consistent and smooth burn throughout the smoking experience. When tobacco is mixed with weed in a spliff, you’ll notice less side burning or “canoeing”, a common problem that plagues joint rollers.
  • Some people find this combination satisfying, as tobacco adds a boost of energy to the mix. Others find it bad because it alters the bud’s flavour too much. People also don’t like tobacco in their spliffs because of its addictive potential.

Typically, spliffs have the same effects as joints. However, the feeling one gets from smoking spliffs can vary because of the addition of tobacco and the different amounts of the two substances.

You should start to feel the effects of THC a few minutes from when you inhale; the effects generally last up to 3 hours. This also depends on the quality of weed used.


Blunts offer a unique method of smoking marijuana as they are traditionally crafted using tobacco leaves or hollowed-out cigars. This classic technique adds a flavour profile with the robust, earthy tones of tobacco.

The cigar wrap also contributes to a slower, more sustained burn, allowing you to enjoy the blunt at a slow pace. As such, blunts are best for sharing with friends.

Today’s market has expanded upon this traditional foundation, offering many choices to cannabis consumers. Here are a few ways to add some excitement to your blunt routine:

  • Hemp wraps deliver the slow burn of a traditional blunt without tobacco. These wraps are made from industrial hemp and are naturally rich in CBD, adding a unique dimension to the smoking experience.
  • Flavoured blunt wraps also provide an exciting twist, infusing the smoke with a variety of tastes ranging from sweet and fruity to rich and chocolatey. This option allows you to customise your experience, pairing different flavours with your favourite cannabis strains.
  • Tobacco-free blunt wraps also offer a natural, nicotine-free option for enjoying marijuana blunts.

When smoking a blunt, ensure you have a strong lighter on hand. This is because the thicker tobacco or hemp wrapper requires more heat to ignite properly than a typical joint or spliff.

Typically, users may start to feel the effects within minutes of inhalation. The peak effects are usually experienced within 15 to 30 minutes and could last for a couple of hours.

How to smoke joints/spliffs/blunts?

To smoke a marijuana cigarette, you simply light one end while inhaling the smoke through the other end.

As for learning how to roll a joint, you can check out our picture guide here. You can apply the same techniques to make spliffs and blunts too.


Bongs use water filtration instead of direct combustion to deliver cannabinoids. Bongs work by bubbling the smoke through water to cool and filter it, making it less harsh and saving users from potential lung irritation.

Bongs involve burning cannabis flowers and inhaling the smoke passed via water.
Bongs come in different designs; this one is quite common.

Bongs are available in all sizes and shapes; common ones are straight tubes or beakers.

There is another type of bong, known as gravity bongs or ‘g-bongs’ or ‘gravs.’ These bongs deliver a potent punch that’ll have even seasoned tokers floating through the air. Instead of simply filtering smoke through the water like your everyday bong, they create a strong suction force, pulling the smoke into a chamber and then pushing it out for you to inhale. This forces the highly concentrated smoke into your lungs, allowing for greater THC absorption.

The effects of cannabis are strongest with bongs. The onset of effects from bongs can vary. For some, the impact is immediate upon smoking, while others may take up to 10 minutes to notice any effects.

How to smoke from a bong

  • Prepare the bong: First, fill the bong with water. The water level should be just enough to submerge the bottom of the downstem – the long tube extending into the bong from the bowl.
  • Grinding: Use a grinder to break your cannabis into small pieces, but not too fine that it could be sucked through the pipe into the water.
  • Packing: Carefully pack the cannabis into the bong’s bowl. Do not pack it too tightly, as it can block airflow.
  • Lighting: Light the cannabis while gently inhaling from the bong’s opening to draw the smoke into the chamber.
  • Inhaling: Once the chamber is filled with smoke, remove the bowl and fully inhale the smoke. Exhale immediately to avoid excessive coughing.


Cannabis pipes are another traditional method of smoking weed, offering a unique and often artistic way to enjoy cannabis. They come in an array of designs and shapes, ranging from simple, practical pieces to extravagant, hand-crafted works of art that highlight the creativity of the artisan.

An image showing commonly available smoking pipes.
Smoking pipes feature a wide variety of designs, sizes, and colours.

Choosing to smoke cannabis via a pipe can offer several benefits. It allows for easy dosage control and is very easy to use.

Here are some of the most common types of cannabis pipes:

  • Spoon pipes
  • Glass blunts
  • One hitter
  • Bubbler pipes
  • Sherlock pipes
  • Chillum

The onset of effects from smoking cannabis through a pipe is typically swift, usually within a few minutes of inhalation. The duration of these effects can vary based upon the strain of cannabis used but generally lasts between one to three hours.

How to smoke from a cannabis pipe

  • Grind the weed: Choose your preferred cannabis strain and grind it to a consistency that’s neither too fine nor too chunky. This will ensure an even burn.
  • Pack the pipe: Take your ground cannabis and gently pack it into the bowl of your pipe. Avoid overpacking, as this can obstruct airflow.
  • Light the weed: Using a lighter, apply heat to the packed cannabis while gently drawing air through the pipe. This should cause the cannabis to ignite and produce smoke.
  • Inhale: Draw the smoke into your mouth, then inhale it into your lungs. Hold it in for a few seconds to allow maximum absorption of THC, then exhale slowly.

Cannabis vaporisers

Cannabis vaporisers are electronic devices that heat up cannabis to a temperature where the active compounds, such as THC and CBD, are released as a vapour. This vapour can then be inhaled, providing a smokeless method of consumption.

Vaporisers involve heating buds at high temperature to release cannabinoids and terpenes vapour.
Vaporisers heat cannabis flowers to release the vapours instead of full combustion.

Vaporisers work by heating cannabis to a point where it’s not combusted, thus reducing the release of harmful toxins that occur when smoking.

They come in a variety of styles and forms, each with its unique characteristics:

  • Portable vaporisers: These handheld devices are perfect for those who prefer a low-profile vape. They are compact, easy to use, and discreet.
  • Desktop vaporisers: These larger units are designed for home use. They often have superior temperature controls and can offer a more powerful and flavourful experience.
  • Dry Herb vaporisers: These vaporisers are designed specifically to heat dried cannabis flowers. They can be both portable and desktop products.
  • Concentrate vaporisers: These are designed to vaporize cannabis concentrates such as oils, waxes, and shatters. You’ll find them often as portable vape pens with specific chambers designed to vaporize concentrates.

It is important to remember that vaporizers are still illegal in Thailand, and using one can incur penalties.

The onset of effects from using a vaporizer to consume cannabis is generally quick, often within seconds to a few minutes. The duration of effects can vary but typically lasts around one to four hours.

Vaporisers are a popular choice due to their reduced health risks compared to smoking. They allow users to experience the benefits of cannabis without the harmful side effects of smoke inhalation. 

How to smoke a cannabis vaporizer

  • Prepare your material: If you’re using dry herbs, grind your cannabis to a medium or fine consistency. For concentrates, a dab tool will help you handle these sticky substances.
  • Load your vaporiser: Open the heating chamber and carefully load your cannabis. Avoid overpacking, as this can restrict airflow and lead to uneven heating.
  • Set your temperature: Each vaporizer comes with a range of temperature settings. Lower temperatures (165°C) usually provide more flavour, while higher temperatures (220°C) yield stronger effects.
  • Heat up: Turn on your vaporiser and allow it to reach the desired temperature. Depending on the model, this may take a few seconds to a minute.
  • Inhale gently: Once the vaporiser has heated up, take slow, gentle draws from the mouthpiece. Hold the vapour in your lungs for a few seconds for maximum absorption, then exhale.

Cannabis dab rigs

A dab rig is a specific type of smoking device used for oils, shatters, or waxes (collectively referred to as “dabs”).

The device resembles a bong in many cases and typically includes a glass piece, a nail (often made of titanium, quartz, or ceramic), and a dome.

Dab rigs are suited for smoking potent cannabis concentrates.
Dabs are designed for smoking cannabis concentrates like wax.

The nail is super-heated with a butane torch until it is glowing red, after which a dab of concentrate is placed on it using a metal dab tool. A common type of nail is called a banger, and it resembles a small bucket that the concentrate is put into.

The vapour that’s produced is then inhaled through the rig. The dome in a dab rig captures and directs the vaporized concentrate so that none is wasted, ensuring that the user inhales the maximum possible amount of vapour.

With dab rigs, you’re looking at a rapid onset, usually within seconds. This is not something for a new cannabis user. Even seasoned users can find the potency overwhelming. The effects can last anywhere from one to three hours, depending on your tolerance level and the potency of the dab.

Use a dab rig if you’re on the search for an intense high. Due to the high potency of the product, less of it is needed to achieve the desired effects.

Cannabis concentrates like wax and shatter are deemed illegal as per the current marijuana laws of Thailand. Using these products can lead to penalties and punishments.

How to smoke from a dab rig

  • Before you begin: Gather your concentrate (such as oils, shatters, or waxes), your dab tool, and your dab rig. Ensure your rig is clean for the best experience.
  • Heat the nail: Using a butane torch, heat the nail until it is glowing red.
  • Apply the dab: Allow the nail to cool for 15-45 seconds, depending on the temperature you want the nail to be. Next, take a small amount of your concentrate on the end of the dab tool, and then apply it inside the nail or banger.
  • Cover with the dome: Quickly cover the nail with the dome. This traps the vaporized concentrate and prevents it from escaping.
  • Inhale: Finally, inhale the vapour through the rig.

The risks of smoking

It is important to note that all smoking methods come with some amount of health risks. Research shows that smoking cannabis for an extended period exposes the lungs to tar and other harmful chemicals. 

Damaged & irritated lungs can lead to cardiovascular diseases as they impair the oxygen flow to the heart, causing it to work harder. Over time this can result in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other conditions.

However, the risks of using cannabis in the short term are much lower than those of smoking tobacco, especially if it is mixed with cannabis, as it is in spliffs and blunts. The best approach is to smoke in moderation and consider other cannabis consumption methods that do not require combustion, such as edibles and tinctures.

Cannabis also has side effects, such as:

  • Short-term memory impairment
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety (in high doses)

You can learn more about these and other potential adverse reactions here.


Understanding the differences between products like joints, blunts, vapes, and bongs is essential for making an informed decision about how to smoke marijuana. 

Each method has its pros and cons, and users should consider the risks of smoking and the effects they want to achieve.

Remember to consume cannabis in moderation, practice safe smoking habits, and use other consumption methods when necessary. By doing so, you can enjoy weed safely and responsibly.