Education & Wellness

How to Smoke a Pipe

August 16, 2022

There’s a first time for everything, and that includes smoking a pipe. For those of you new to cannabis, even this most basic of smoking accessories requires a little know-how to ensure you’re getting all of that green goodness out of the bowl and into yourself. So let’s dive into smoking a pipe for beginners. 

The Anatomy of a Pipe

two colorful cannabis bowls next to each other
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Whether you’re talking about your basic $5 glass piece from the dispensary, a silicone or metal pipe, or some ornate, showroom piece of glass working perfection, a cannabis pipe has four main parts. 

The Bowl

This is a rounded indent that holds your flower with a hole in the bottom of it. When you smoke a pipe, air and cannabis smoke is pulled through this hole and into your lungs. 

STONER TIP: Try placing a small metal screen over the hole before you pack flower in your bowl. This way when you’re smoking a pipe you won’t inhale any ash or burning embers into the back of your throat. 

The Carb

The carb is a hole on the side of the bowl that you cover with your finger or thumb. When uncovered, it pulls in extra air to clear the smoke from the stem. When covered, it will direct more air into the bowl and help ignite the cannabis.

The Stem

This is the hollow tube in the center of the pipe connecting the bowl to the mouthpiece that the smoke travels through. 

The Mouthpiece

The mouthpiece is a simple hole in the stem on the opposite side of the bowl. You put your lips on the mouthpiece and inhale smoke from the ignited bowl through the stem and into your lungs. 

Basics of Smoking a Pipe

Now that we’ve covered the four main parts of a piece, let’s get down to smoking a pipe (AKA the good part). 

You’ll Need:

  • A Pipe
  • Weed
  • Grinder
  • Lighter (or another flame source)

Step 1

a grinder full of ground cannabis, next to green cannabis nugs
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Unless you’re using milled or pre-ground flower, the first thing you’ll need to do before smoking a pipe is grind your weed. Remove the cap of your grinder and place your nug between the grinder’s teeth. Replace the cap and give it a couple good twists back and forth. The ground up flower will fall through the holes into the collection chamber below.  

STONER TIP: If you don’t have a grinder, you can break up the nugs by hand, but you’ll lose some of that tasty, potent resin to your fingers. Plus, a grinder increases the surface area of the weed so that it burns more evenly and smoothly when you’re smoking a pipe. 

Step 2

Unscrew the bottom of your grinder and remove the shredded flower. 

Step 3

a green cannabis pipe filled with ground green cannabis
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Place the shredded flower in the bowl of your pipe and gently pack it down with the butt of your lighter. It should be lightly packed on the bottom and more densely packed on the top for maximum airflow. 

Step 4

Cradle the bowl of the pipe in one hand with your thumb over the carb. Place your lips on the mouthpiece. 

Step 5

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Light the lighter with your other hand and touch the flame to the edge of the flower as you draw through the mouthpiece. Only torch a small section of the greens at a time for maximum flavor.  

STONER TIP: It’s a nice gesture to offer the first (and freshest) hit to whomever you’re smoking a pipe with. This is called “taking the greens.”  

Step 6

a man inhaling smoke from a red and orange cannabis pipe
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

With the flame touching the greens, inhale smoke gently from the mouthpiece for a second or two. Then take your thumb off the carb and take a deep breath to clear the chamber. This will pull all the smoke into your lungs. 

Step 7

Pull your mouth away from the mouth piece and hold the smoke in your lungs for a second (if you can. Coughing is totally natural) then exhale it. Be careful not to cough into the mouthpiece, which can send your lit weed flying.

Step 8

If you’re smoking a pipe in a circle, pass the pipe to the left. After a couple hits the weed will be burning on its own (aka “cherried”) which means you don’t need to light it again. 

Smoking a Pipe 101: Complete

Now that you’ve passed Pipe Smoking 101, give it a try! Just make sure to keep your pipe cleaned regularly so that you can inhale smoke easily and experience all those tasty terpenes cannabis has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Smoke Out of a Silicone Pipe?

Identical to a regular pipe: place your ground up flower in the pipe’s bowl, cover the carb with a finger or a thumb, and place your lips on the mouthpiece. Touch the flame of your lighter or match to the flower, inhale until the cannabis is lit, then remove your finger or thumb from the carb and inhale to pull all the smoke from the pipe into your lungs. 

How Do You Smoke Out of a Metal Pipe?

If the metal pipe doesn’t have a carb, light it as you would a typical pipe, then just inhale then pull your lips away from the mouthpiece and take a deep breath to push the smoke deep into your lungs. You’ll likely need to take smaller tokes due to the restricted airflow.

What’s the Purpose of a Carb on a Pipe?

A carb chokes off air when you’re lighting up the flower, which feeds oxygen through the burning flower, helping it ignite. When you uncover the carb and inhale, it pulls air through the chamber and stem, which clears the smoke from the pipe.