Foreword: First off, I (surprisingly) didn't see an informative node based on this practice. If I'm wrong, please /msg me and I'll happily take this down. Also, I'm not really writing this to discuss the moral, legal, or ethical issues of smoking marijuana. I'm merely here to craft an informative node. Thank you.

Now, this write-up will begin by assuming you've procured marijuana in some way shape or form. How to go about this is a whole 'nother beast of a node. So, let us begin!

Step One: Preparation
Unlike tobacco, marijuana can require a bit of simple pre-thought to truly enjoy. There's a few things that you should at least consider, before you begin your toke.

Drinks - This is one of the few things I'd almost absolutely reccomend procuring before you start smoking. Very, very few people can use marijuana without experiencing the phenomenon known as drymouth, which pretty much explains itself. Always unpleasant, so have something around (preferably water in a squeeze bottle, as it's near-impossible to spill such a thing, and you want to keep this in mind due to a likely degradation of coordination while high).

Food - Pairs nicely with the former, but isn't always required. A good portion of people get "the munchies" however, and you'll find that things do indeed taste quite nice when you're high.

Music - Another non-essential, music can also enhance a good toking. Just about anything you enjoy will do, although many people swear by Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon (not reccomended for the nervous, as the album can be quite creepy to novice smokers while high).

Friends - This is another factor that I'd highly reccomend. Toking up alone can often make one feel like a diseased druggie outcast, especially in the beginning. Besides that, marijuana lends itself extremely well as a social activity.

A Smoking Area - While this may seem logically obvious, I feel the need to go into detail. A well-ventilated area (or being outside) is going to reduce the semi-unpleasant smell left after your toke is done. However, lack of ventilation and small quarters will allow the smoke to build and recirculate through your lungs as you breathe naturally, increasing your high to the point where you can use less weed. Also, a comfortable setting is key to enjoyment.

A Smoking Implement - This will be covered below with methods. The important part is that you need something to effectively ingest the THC.

A Lighting Implement - Usually matches or a lighter. A lighter's easier to use, even while stoned, but it usually involves tilting it at wierd angles to light a bowl, which can burn your fingers. I prefer matches, though those who don't trust their coordination while high may want to stick with the lighter.

A Positive Attitude - Smoking up is not something you want to do when life's at it's low points. Escapism with drugs is bad, period, and it doesn't really work with Mary Jane. You smoke up while miserable, you're just going to end up high and miserable. Trust me on this one, I've seen it happen.

Step Two: Choosing your Smoking Method
This is probably going to be the biggest choice in your initial process of getting high. Marijuana can be used in a variety of's the more popular methods.

Joints - For those not in the know, a joint is merely marijuana wrapped and rolled in cigarette papers. Suprisingly, this is one of the more popular methods of marijuana consumption by novices. Why suprising? First, it's difficult to roll a joint decently. Second, it's one of the most innefficient ways of smoking. I kid you not when I tell you you can usually use half the amount of weed you roll into a joint in a pipe or bong for getting one person high. Joints, however, are extremely portable, and a well-rolled one is easy to use and pass, making it popular for fairly large parties, chock full of novice users.

Pipes - Pipes are simple devices by nature. Generally, they involve a tube-like shape that curves upwards at one end. Marijuana is placed into one end (called the bowl), lit, and then the smoke is sucked through a small hole in the bottom of the bowl, through the chamber and into your mouth at the other end. Pipes are sold in a variety of sizes, usually made of glass, and a crude one can be made in a pinch with nothing more than tinfoil, though this is a bad idea due to the threat of alzheimer's. Much easier to build, and usually less fragile than a bong, but lacks some of the nicer effects, such as cooling.

Bongs - Also known as water pipes, the most basic of these contraptions are basically an advanced pipe. However, as the smoke is pulled through the bong, it goes through a sizeable amount of water. First off, as long as the water's cool, this has a nice effect on the tempature of the otherwise-hot smoke, making it very lung-friendly to novice smokers. Also, it takes out a portion of random icky things from the smoke, making the hit a tad bit cleaner and smoother. Once again, bongs can be bought or made, but either way they're usually fairly sizeable, and fragile.

There's also other ways of ingesting THC from marijuana, like baking and eating (the THC can be heated and extracted into a butter, for example), but this requires a sizeable amount of decent weed for any noticeable effect. There are also vaporizers, but I haven't had the privledge of using one, so I can't comment. Finally, there are blunts, cigars that have been hollowed out and filled with marijuana, but I'm not going to discuss them here, and my semi-rant on why I don't smoke them and despise them is for another node.

Step 3: Smoking
Alright, first, ensure your marijuana is free of any major stems or seeds. You also want it broken up (either use scissors or just pry and break) into a decent consistency (this matters more with joints than pipes or bongs), not even close to powder but not huge chunks either. From here, it all depends on how you're smoking.

Smoking A Joint - I'll be honest, I can't roll a good joint to save my life. I advise novices to go with a pipe or bong if they can, but if you absolutely must roll a J, ink-'s write-up on how to roll a joint will get you going. It's very much something you have to practice, though.

Once you have your joint rolled and ready, there should be a semi-open end and a tapered or closed end. Light the tapered/closed end, suck through the semi-open end. Smoke should fill your mouth. Inhale slowly and carefully, wait at least 3 seconds, then exhale slowly. If smoking with friends, pass to the left and let the joint circle around. Don't be suprised when you don't immediately feel the effects, It usually takes 2 good hits and 10 minutes after that before the THC kicks in for new users.

Smoking From A Pipe - First, if you have one available, put a pipe screen in the bottom of the bowl. This ensures that nothing but smoke manages to get sucked through the hole. A small hole in the bottom of your bowl, and being careful can usually keep ash out of your mouth, but this is the easier way, and you can buy a 5-pack of pipe screens at any smoking shop dirt cheap (under $1). You may have to trim one to fit your bowl, do so with a scissor. Next, pack the bowl. This is a short way of saying "put pinches of weed into the bowl, press down gently, repeat until bowl is near-full". Don't pack down too hard, as smoke needs gaps to reach the bottom of the bowl and go through the hole.

Once packed, simultaneously light a flame at the top of the bowl (leave the flame there for a second or two, at least), and inhale through the mouthpiece. This will cause the flame to descend into the bowl and light the marijuana. Also, there may be a small hole near the bowl. This is called a carb, or carburateor. Cover it while lighting and inhaling. Remove the flame, then remove your finger from the hole and finish inhaling (this allows the remaining smoke out of the chamber while simultaneously letting the unused MJ in the bowl stop burning). Inhale, wait at least 3 seconds, exhale, pass to the left if in good company. Once again, it usually takes 2 hits, and 10 minutes after the second one before you start feeling the effects.

Smoking From A Bong - First, ensure the bong water is cool and relatively clean, changing it if nessecary. Then, pack the bowl (as detailed in the pipe smoking section). Put your finger on the carb, light the flame at the top of the bowl, and inhale. Remove the flame, remove finger from hole, continue inhaling until the chamber is clear. Wait at least 3 seconds, exhale, pass to the left if need be. Once again, 2 good hits and 10 minutes before you'll start feeling effects.

Really, that's all there is to it. Here's a few general tips from myself.

- If you feel like you can't hold a hit any longer, you probably can't. Let it out, otherwise, you'll wind up coughing like heck. Same thing with taking a hit...if you feel like you can't or don't need another, 99 times out of 100 you don't.

- On the topic of hits, realize that, especially if you're a novice, you're probably not going to need much to get blasted, and as long as your tolerance stays low, things will stay that way. Every person has a point during a session where they will not get any "higher" than they are at that moment. Learn to recognize that plateau, because stopping there not only ensures that you don't waste your precious stash, but also helps keep your tolerance low.

- If you're not feeling the effects, make sure you're inhaling deeply enough. Remember, once the smoke's in your mouth, you need to breathe in further to allow it into your lungs. Also, ensure you hold your hit for at least a short period of time (the aforementioned 3 seconds has worked well for this author). And as always, it takes time. You're not going to be out in the cosmos the second the smoke from your first hit leaves your mouth. Time is needed.

- Finally, smoke responsibly and in moderation. No, marijuana isn't physically addicting, but as with anything pleasurable, it's psychologically addicting for those who decide they need to do it at least 5 days a week. Besides that, keeping your smoking to a minimum will ensure your highs don't get stale, and your tolerance stays low. Remember this: Saying "Hey, let's go smoke some weed!" is fine. Saying, "Man, I really need some weed right now." is not. If you find yourself muttering the latter in desperate tones, or putting weed before important life situations (your job, schoolwork, etc.), reconsider your hobby.

Happy Toking!

9/15/02 - Removed some silly hardlinks, added info on pipe screens to the pipe smoking section. Also pipelinked the hardlink "a whole 'nother node" to my w/u on How to Procure Marijuana. No, I'm not an egotist, that (sadly) is currently the only general writeup on the subject I've found. Also corrected a misspelling or two, and changed a few minor words here and there.

3/2/04 - A few changes and additions here and there.

If you have any other suggestions on what needs to be added or changed in this w/u, please /msg me.