How To Smoke Weed From A Pipe + Tips On Packing & Cleaning It To Maximize Your Experience!

Nov 05 , 2018

How To Smoke Weed From A Pipe + Tips On Packing & Cleaning It To Maximize Your Experience!


Pipe smoking your weed has been a tried, true and trusty staple among things to smoke weed out of since some ancient genius first packed a bowl and sparked it up countless centuries ago. Pot pipes, based on traditional tobacco pipes, are fairly simple: you have a weed bowl to pack marijuana leaf into and an airtight tube connecting the bowl to the mouthpiece. Some weed pipes also have a second hole, called a carb or a choke, that you cover with your finger or thumb when toking that changes the airflow through the mouthpiece, allowing the bowl to be cleared of smoke without taking another hit.  How to smoke weed out of a pipe is a skill that every cannabis connoisseur must master eventually. Sure, there are plenty of other things to smoke weed out of – vaporizers, bongs, and joints or blunts, but nothing beats the basic, simple, easy-to-use weed pipe - and some say the best way to smoke weed is with a pipe.

Weed pipes, aka spoon pipes, and some cannabis nugs, image from Kiffera Esthetikon Instagram
(Weed pipes, aka spoon pipes, and some cannabis nugs, image from Kiffera Esthetikon Instagram)


The basic concept for a cannabis pipe is what is known as a ‘spoon pipe’, that is your basic weed bowl with a stem attached – kinda like a supper spoon that you eat food with. Most marijuana pipes are made from glass - which lends itself to all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors – but there are also weed pipes made from metal, wood and even stone; aluminum is not considered to be good material for a pot tobacco pipe because fumes from heated aluminum can be harmful to your lungs! Can you smoke weed from a tobacco pipe? Essentially, yes, because it’s pretty much the exact same thing, except for those pipes with a carb or choke; but burning leaf is burning leaf, cannabis or tobacco, insofar as the mechanics of a pipe go. One other difference between weed smoking and smoking tobacco is that ceramic weed pipes also tend to have glass pipe screens, which can and should be used in any weed pipe, metal, glass or wood. Screens prevent weed leaf and ash from getting pulled into your mouth when you draw in the smoke.

A very elaborate metal pot pipe, image from Lizard's Jewelry on Instagram
(A very elaborate metal pot pipe, image from Lizard's Jewelry on Instagram)

How to Smoke Out of a Pipe and Inhale Weed Properly:

While neither pot pipes or weed pipe smoking are remotely rocket science, there is a better way of smoking a pipe packed with ganja goodness.

1) First of all, you’re gonna need a supply of weed – maybe a stimulating Lemon Haze sativa-dominant weed strain, or some well-balanced Blue Dream hybrid cannabis , or a relaxing Granddaddy Purple indica just before bedtime.

2) And you’re gonna need a glass pipe or wood weed pipe or a non-aluminum metal spoon pipe; you’ll also need a little round pipe screen and some form of combustion. We two, personally, get our glass pipe screens off eBay for under $10 USD for a batch of 100; they usually range in size from 0.5” to 1”, you want one that fits snugly in the diameter of your spoon bowl.

Handful of glass pipe screens, image from My 100 Percent Crazy Life on Instagram
(Handful of glass pipe screens, image from My 100 Percent Crazy Life on Instagram)

3) Insofar as igniting your cannabis for consumption, some folks are happy with a plain ol’ butane lighter or match, but some prefer lighting a hemp wick, a waxy piece of hemp string that ignites easily, burns evenly, and doesn’t give off an icky chemical aftertaste. The lit hemp wick is then touched to your bowl of herb.

4) And always use grinder weed versus hand-shredded because that way you get an even, solid burn of your bowl weed, and that way you evenly heat the cannabinoid-filled leaf and trichomes, getting the maximum effect from whatever pot strain you are puffing! Grinders are pretty easy to get from a headshop, dispensary or online and run as low as $10 USD. Grinders are chambered with multiple levels of screening, they turn either by a twisting motion or small crank, and there is usually a catch chamber at the bottom that will, over time, fill with kief that you can sprinkle on your weed bowl or smoosh into balls to make hash – how to smoke hash is a whole other blog post.

5) Now that you have a weed pipe of some kind, and a glass pipe screen in place, and some way to light it, it is time to move on to how to pack a bowl for optimum hitting, or toking down. Three things that you want to do when packing pipe weed is to first make sure it is well-ground, then make sure your weed pipe screen is in place so you don’t get particulates or ‘scooby snacks’ (bits of leaf and ash) in your mouth when you draw, and lastly pack your herb tobacco very lightly in the bottom of the weed bowl but more densely at the top for a more even smoke because this allows the pot to continue to burn while opening the pipe airflow for easy smoking down without clogging, or blocking up.

6) Knowing how to inhale weed properly is not difficult; start by drawing the smoke into your mouth before you inhale it into your lungs, then with pot smoke still in your mouth you take a deep breath of fresh air , forcing smoke down into your lungs with regular oxygen-rich air - this then results in a  smooth, tasty hit with less coughing and irritation because the harsher herbal smoke has been mixed with fresh air.  Some people hold their hits in, but there is little evidence that holding your breath after hitting makes you higher, most cannabinoids like THC are instantly absorbed by your lungs in just a few seconds. Exhaling is, of course, the last step in smoking out of a weed pipe, and, exhaling properly. Never exhale with your mouth still on your pipe, because that will push air the wrong way and blow the pot leaf out of your weed bowl.

Here is a vid about the pros and cons of smoking weed with a pipe:

Gravity bong with a packed weed bowl, image from Smoke You Out on Instagram
(Gravity bong with a packed weed bowl, image from Smoke You Out on Instagram)

That is the that of knowing how to pack a bowl, smoking a pipe, how to inhale weed properly and also when and how to exhale. Once you master the basics of pipe smoking, you will then want to discover  how to smoke weed without a pipe – there are a number of creative ways to smoke weed:

  • Some people have made pipes out of apples by coring a hole through them and putting weed inside one end as a crude sort of weed pipe.
  • People have turned pens into pipes, by removing the ink cartridge and stuffing grass in one end and drawing through the other.
  • There are gravity bongs - which work by submerging a small bottle with a weed bowl of cannabis atop in a larger bottle or bucket filled with water. You light your pot and slowly draw the bottle up out of the water as it fills with smoke from the burning leaf and just unscrew the lid, put your mouth over the bottle’s opening, and push the bottle down as gravity propels the marijuana into your lungs. 
  • Gas masks are yet another of the creative ways to smoke weed, using a military gas mask, with a weed bowl affixed and basically let the smoke fill the mask as you breathe normally, like hot boxing by smoking weed in an enclosed room.
  • And there are of course glass bongs, blunts, vaporizers ranging in size from tabletop down to pen-sized models, hookahs and more!

How to Clean a Pipe:

Keeping your weed pipe clean is important because it will hit much better if it is clean and not cloggy. Marijuana resin builds up over time with pipe smoking weed, so you have to do a little maintenance of your weed bowl. One of the best, easiest and most basic ways to clean your metal or ceramic weed pipe to maximize your experience is to:

1) Fill a plastic bag with 1 tsp of salt and some 91% isopropyl alcohol.

2) Submerge your pot pipe in the salt and alcohol and let it sit to soak, then shake the baggie, swishing the solution around.

3) Afterwards you can a washcloth, rags or paper towels to wipe the oily resin off, and a nail to scrape the sides of your weed bowl and the pipe stem. It’s important to remove all the resin, because it has mixed with alcohol and would be toxic to smoke.

4) You should then use a little dish soap to wash away all resin and the alcohol completely. Some cannabis consumers like to boil their marijuana pipes in water and then clean them with alcohol and rags. Other tokers use nail polish remover, but you have to be sure to remove all traces of potentially hazardous cleaning chemicals by soaking chemically-treated pot pipes in dish soap and rinsing thoroughly.

Glass weed pipes and pipe cleaning accessories, image from Krazy Hippie on Instagram
(Glass weed pipes and pipe cleaning accessories, image from Krazy Hippie on Instagram)

Here is a thorough but brief vid showing you how to clean your glass weed pipe with acetone, very similar to the rubbing alcohol method described above:


Now you may consider yourself schooled in how to smoke weed from a pipe, how to pack a bowl, how to smoke weed without a pipe and how to clean your pot pipe to maximize your pipe weed experience. The best way to smoke weed is really whatever work best for you, but we have given you the basics. Smoking a pipe of bowl weed involves grinding up your herb for even burning, packing the ganja leaf somewhat loosely, sparking it with a lighter or some lit hemp wick, then toking by breathing some air in after you fill your mouth with smoke so that the air and smoke mix together - or vapor and air if you use a dab rig or gravity bong - hold the smoke in your lungs only for a second or two and then exhale – but not with your mouth still on the pipe! The best tobacco pipes also make decent cannabis pipes, but the standard for most pipe weed smokers is the carbed, or choked, ceramic weed pipe. Can you smoke weed out of a tobacco pipe? Yes, absolutely. Can you smoke weed out of a hookah? Also, yes. There are a number of creative ways to smoke weed, from bongs to blunts to hollowed out fruits. So, you can call up your friend or significant other and tell them, ‘I packed this pipe for two’, and impress them with how well you know how to pack a pipe, how to inhale weed properly, and how to keep your spoon pipe clean with some 91% alcohol, a rag and some ‘elbow grease’, or effort! So pipe it up - load your weed pipe and blaze away!

Here's some fun video bonus content on how to make a weed pipe out of various foods:

Researched and written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers.


 David and Leah Kaye Weathers David and Leah Kaye Weathers are a freelance cannabis writing and graphic designing husband and wife team from Lansing, Michigan. They are passionate advocates for medical and recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. They enjoy not only smoking and vaping, or dabbing, marijuana but also cooking with weed infused veggie oil. They like to spend their free time wandering along nature trails in search of the perfectly chillaxing spot for a smoke sesh.
(cover image: pipe weed packed in a weed pipe, image courtesy of Melanin Stoners Official on Instagram)

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