How to Smoke Medical Marijuana

medical marijuana doctor teaching patient how to smoke
As medical marijuana gains acceptance across various states, including Florida and Pennsylvania, many patients are eager to learn the best ways to consume it. CannaMD's beginner guide breaks down the basics of smoking medical cannabis flower, covering everything new patients need to know—from preparing and grinding marijuana to smoking methods like pipes, joints, bongs, and blunts. With these tips, patients can choose the method that best suits their needs and preferences, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.
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As medical marijuana continues to gain acceptance and legality across numerous states, patients new to this form of treatment often find themselves with many questions. One of the most common questions our CannaMD physicians receive is, “How do I smoke medical marijuana?” This guide will walk you through the various methods of smoking medical marijuana flower, ensuring you can choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Preparing Your Marijuana: The Importance of Grinding

Before we dive into the smoking methods, it’s crucial to understand the preparation process. Grinding your marijuana ensures a smoother, more even burn, enhancing the overall smoking experience. Regardless of how you choose to smoke your medical marijuana, learning how to properly grind your flower is the first step. Here are some pro tips on how to do it:

Choose the Right Grinder: Grinders come in various shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: breaking down marijuana buds into smaller, more manageable pieces. Look for a grinder with sharp teeth and multiple chambers for the best results.

Prepare Marijuana: Remove any seeds or stems from your marijuana flower. It may also be helpful to break the part of your flower you plan to use into smaller pieces.

marijuana flower with check mark

Load Your Grinder: Once your flower has been prepared, place the buds into the grinder.

marijuana grinder with flower inside

Grind Away: Twist the grinder back and forth until the flower is thoroughly broken down. Once your product has a fine, even texture, you’re finished!

ground up marijuana

Methods of Smoking Medical Marijuana

After you prepare your marijuana, you can then choose from several different smoking methods. These methods include utilizing joints, pipes, bongs, or blunts. Each method has its own unique benefits and can provide different experiences.

How to Smoke Marijuana in a Pipe

Pipes are a popular choice for medical marijuana patients because of their simplicity, convenience, and easy clean-up. Here’s how to smoke using a pipe:

Pack the Bowl: Place a small amount of ground marijuana into the bowl of the pipe. It’s important to make sure that you don’t pack the marijuana too tightly, as this can restrict airflow. You also want to ensure that the marijuana remains below the top of the bowl in order to avoid spillage.

pre-lit marijuana pipe

Light and Inhale: Use a lighter to ignite the marijuana while simultaneously inhaling through the mouthpiece. Some pipes have a carb hole, which you should cover while lighting and release as you finish inhaling to clear the chamber.

woman lighting a marijuana pipe

How to Roll and Smoke a Joint

Joints are a classic and widely recognized method of smoking marijuana. They are essentially marijuana cigarettes, made with rolling papers (but without the tobacco). Many patients enjoy smoking marijuana in the form of a joint because it doesn’t require repacking a bowl, which allows for longer, uninterrupted smoking sessions. Once they’re rolled, joints can also be easily stored and reused, adding to their popularity. Here’s how to roll and smoke a joint:

Select Your Paper: Choose thin, slow-burning rolling papers. Popular types include rice, hemp, and flax papers.

Create a Filter (optional): Roll a small piece of cardboard into a cylinder to use as a filter. This helps keep the end of the joint stable and prevents bits of marijuana from entering your mouth.

marijuana joint supplies and rolling paper

Roll the Joint: Evenly distribute the ground marijuana along the length of the paper, place the filter at one end, and roll it up. Lick the adhesive strip or dampen the edges to seal the joint.

rolling a joint close up image

Light and Smoke: Light the end of the joint and inhale through the filter end. Take slow, steady draws to avoid harsh hits.

older couple smoking a joint

How to Use a Bong

Bongs, or water pipes, offer a smoother smoking experience by filtering the smoke through water. Many patients enjoy this method as it can produce large clouds of smoke. The increase in smoke can help to maximize the marijuana’s effects using the least amount of inhales. Here’s how to use a bong:

Fill the Bong with Water: Pour water into the bong’s chamber until the downstem is submerged. You can also use ice or flavored liquids for a different experience.

medical marijuana bong with water

Pack the Bowl: Place a small amount of ground marijuana into the bowl. Again, make sure to not overpack the bowl in order to keep airflow unrestricted and to avoid spillage.

close up of bong bowl

Light and Inhale: While covering any carb holes, light the marijuana and inhale through the mouthpiece. Once the chamber fills with smoke, release the carb or remove the bowl to clear the smoke into your lungs.

man smoking a bong

How to Roll and Smoke a Blunt

Blunts are similar to joints but are rolled using cigar or blunt wraps, which contain tobacco. Think of them like cannabis cigars. Many patients enjoy this inhalation method for the convenience, longevity (blunt’s contain more marijuana than joints), and/or the combined effects of marijuana and nicotine. Blunts can also easily be stored for multiple uses:

Prepare the Wrap: Carefully split open a cigar or cigarillo lengthwise and remove the tobacco. You can also use a pre-made blunt wrap. If you enjoy the taste of cigars and/or the effects of nicotine, you may set aside some of the tobacco leaves to distribute along with your medical marijuana.

removing tobacco from cigar close up photo

Roll the Blunt: Before rolling the blunt, make sure that the paper (and especially the edges) is slightly damp in order to avoid breakage while rolling. You can do this by lightly dipping your finger in water and running it across the blunt paper. Once your paper is slightly damp and pliable, you can then place the ground marijuana inside the wrap and roll it up tightly, making sure to include pressure on the mouthpiece end during each roll.

rolling a blunt close up photo

Dry out the Blunt: Since your blunt paper may still be damp when you’re finished rolling, it’s important to make sure it’s completely dry before attempting to smoke it. Smoking a damp blunt will make it very difficult to light and create an uneven distribution of smoke. You can dry out your blunt by letting it sit in the sun for a few minutes, or by holding a lighter a few inches from the seal to dry it out more quickly.

Light and Smoke: Light the blunt with a lighter and simultaneously inhale through the mouthpiece end.

woman smoking blunt

Tips for an Enjoyable Smoking Experience

Regardless of the smoking method you choose for your medical marijuana, following these 4 tips can enhance your smoking experience and help you medicate more effectively:

  1. Find a Comfortable Environment: Choose a relaxed, private setting where you can enjoy the effects without interruptions.
  2. Take Small Hits: Especially if you’re new to smoking, take small, manageable hits to avoid coughing and discomfort.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Keep water or another hydrating beverage nearby to prevent dry mouth and ensure a pleasant experience.
  4. Pace Yourself: Allow time between hits to gauge your body’s reaction and avoid overconsumption.

If medical marijuana patients understand and apply these smoking methods and tips, they can enjoy the full benefits of medical marijuana safely and effectively. Whether you prefer the simplicity of a pipe, the tradition of a joint, the smoothness of a bong, or the unique experience of a blunt, there’s a smoking method that’s perfect for every medical marijuana patient!

Updated: June 20, 2024

Article Written By:

McKenzie Lewis

McKenzie Lewis has been a member of the CannaMD marketing team since 2018. Prior to joining CannaMD, she attended the University of Central Florida where she received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in psychology. When it comes to cannabis research, she is especially interested in the application of marijuana as a treatment method for insomnia.


Questions about medical marijuana? Ready to get your card and purchase legal cannabis products? CannaMD‘s state-certified network of medical marijuana doctors are here to help! Contact CannaMD‘s experienced team at (855) 420-9170 today. You can also find out if you qualify for medical marijuana treatment with our quick online application!

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