COLUMN: The most common ways to get baked

From bongs to blunts, we've got your questions covered


Photo Illustration

The ways to consume marijuana in the modern world have become nearly endless. From gravity bongs to circular fruit, it seems as though anyone with enough determination can turn any stationary object into a smoking tool.

As a frequent cannabis user, I have tried consuming the plant in all of the ways in which I am about to share with you. I’ve used cannabis, medicinally and recreationally, throughout my entire adulthood and freelanced for MI Green State for almost two years.

Now, I’m here to break down methods of smoking, from the finest, to the stingiest and everything in between. Whether you’re looking for smell-less sources or want the biggest, dankest clouds, we’ve got you, bud.


A standard joint consists of ground up cannabis flower rolled into a smoking paper.

There are many kinds of papers and finding your favorite will likely take some experimenting.

Brands like RAW, Dunder Splifflin, Zig Zag and Juicy Jay are among the most popular brands, according to Daily High Club; they offer everything from flavored papers, to hemp to my favorite, unbleached.

I like unbleached because the papers are made without chlorine, which otherwise is used in the whitening process. “Unbleached” simply means the papers skip the step that bleaches and whitens the natural hue of the fibers in the paper, according to Leafly.

When you use these types of papers, you are not only consuming thicker paper, but every chemical put inside of them, according to HerbCo.

As a more experienced user, I have noticed the difference between thin and thick papers. Thinner papers burn a lot quicker than thicker ones, which are meant to burn longer. As for the healthiest option, HerbCo said you should go for the thinner papers, which create fewer chemicals when burned.

Joints are a popular choice in social settings and arguably one of the easiest ways to smoke weed.

The main draw of joints is the convenience, according to Leafly. They are easy to carry with you on the go and light up at any time – where it’s legal, of course. Joints can also make controlling your dosage easier. Those who only want a little buzz can easily take one hit and be done. If you want to smoke a lot, you have the option.

Like with everything, there are pros and cons. If you are a frequent smoker, like me, joints may not last you very long. I’ve noticed when using joints that I go through significantly more cannabis than with say, a bowl or bong.

Which brings me to …


One of the first and oldest traces of cannabis smoking pipes dates back to around 1320 CE, according to Ganjapraneur. Archeologists discovered what appeared to be traditional smoking pipes in what is now Ethiopia. Over 700 years later, in 2023, we call them bongs.

Today, bongs come in all shapes, colors, textures, materials and sizes. They range in design and can look as polished as fragile china or as basic as your favorite stoner's first piece.

Most bongs are made of glass and include a base, bowl, neck and mouthpiece. Consumers fill the base with water and pack ground-up cannabis into the bowl. It is then lit and inhaled through the mouthpiece. (Pro tip: add ice for a cooler, better hit.)

Bongs are unique because they filter the smoke before you inhale it, according to Leafly. This often provides a smoother, cleaner inhale than, for instance, a joint.

In my experience, bongs have a much stronger effect than joints and bowls because you are intaking a much larger amount of smoke. One hit can have you fried for hours.

If you’re clumsy like me, you’re prone to the downside of bongs, which is that most of them are glass and therefore, breakable.

Do not fear. Rubber bongs are here. They are the best for smokers who love bongs but just can’t stop accidentally whacking it on the table.

The main downside to bongs, in my opinion, is they are hard to transport, and they are even harder to clean, especially if you have designs or attributes inside of it, like percolators which further filter the smoke before inhalation.

Experts suggest cleaning bongs once a week, according to Rolling Stone. In my experience, it can become a hassle to have to clean regularly, but it all depends on the frequency of your use.

The best way to clean a bong, in my opinion, is with rubbing alcohol. Fill your bong with it and let it sit for up to 12 hours. Another pro tip: add salt to help get the residue off the inside, cover all the holes with your hands and shake it vigorously (be gentle!).

SnowTree, the leading U.S. manufacturer of water pipe cleaners and high-performance accessories, recently started offering the BoroBuddy Magnetic Cleaner which is everything you need if you love a clean bong. It essentially wipes off the inside.

A tiny magnet is placed inside your bong, which then is held in place by a hand-held magnet on the outside. If it's clear glass, you can watch it become clean.


Bowls, in my opinion, are the best of both weed worlds. Like a joint, it is small – at least the ones I buy – and it is easy to get around with.

Bowls – again depending on the size – usually only require a small amount of cannabis, therefore are prime for broke college students over the age of 21. And the best part – it does not have to be ground weed. You can hand-pick your cannabis and in minutes, have a nice, quick bowl without any assistance from a grinder.

Bowls are nice because you can take one hit and be buzzed or smoke an entire bowl, and feel the effects all the more. It's completely up to you how much or little you consume, which is the beautiful part about bowls.

I think bowls are for everyone. They're really nice for people with a low tolerance, and even nicer if you are a frequent smoker because, compared to bongs or joints, you use a much smaller amount of marijuana.

Like bongs, they come in glass and rubber forms, so breakless options exist, too. Also like bongs, bowls can be difficult to clean, depending on the shape of it and frequency of your use. 

Vape pens

Vape pens are portable smoking cartridges. There are two pieces – the battery and the cart. You can purchase and reuse batteries from a range of stores, but are most commonly sold at smoke shops and dispensaries. Carts are not refillable but, for me, typically last one to two weeks.

For less frequent smokers, they can last a month or more. 

I highly recommend carts if you are trying to use it without anyone noticing. They produce virtually no smell and are perfect if you’re going to be around people or places that where you do not want to smell like cannabis. 

Cartridges are made of liquid cannabis oil – meaning the THC potency is much higher than in regular flower. There are two main types of carts – live resin and distillate. Live resin carts focus more on the flavor profile and terpenes where as distillate carts are generally more focused on THC percent, according to Earth Med.

I do not recommend trying vape pens for first-time smokers. Understand your tolerance levels first, with flower, before trying one of the most potent form of cannabis. 

Frequent smokers that do not experience the same high with flower can benefit from the increased THC levels of a cartridge. However, that will likely also further increase your tolerance. The best way to lower your tolerance, in my experience, is by taking a t-break, or tolerance break.

One downside I have noticed is that most dispensaries nowadays – especially corporate businesses – make carts with chemicals, like butane hash oil (BHO). The method to create it involves packing a large amount of weed tightly into a tube and then drowning it with butane, according to The Stone.

There have been some case studies on the effects of BHO on lungs, finding users are more likely to experience pneumonitis - inflammation of the lungs without infection.

"The lack of literature and research on this topic makes the short and long-term effects on individual health largely unknown," the National Library of Medicine said. "Lung injury, as a result of BHO inhalation, should be considered when a patient with a history of marijuana-related drug use presents with symptoms similar to pneumonia."

Carts also put users at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, psychosis and dependency, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

People who regularly use butane carts can quickly become dependent upon it. They may also develop a tolerance to it, which means they need to take larger amounts to get the same effect, the website said.


Blunts are a special kind of poison. Made of marijuana wrapped in a tobacco-leaf, this will take your buzz to a whole other level.

Blunts come from cigars. You can easily purchase these from your nearest gas station or smoke shop. The cigar is then unwrapped, and the tobacco is emptied out to be replaced with cannabis.

For blunts, I recommend hand-picking your cannabis. Grinding it makes the weed too fine and risks the blunt being wrapped too tight, which will cut off air flow.

Blunts come in flavors, like pineapple, mango, berry and much more, and offer the user the smell and taste of tobacco – for those who like that.

For the same reason some love them, others cannot stand them.

This method of smoking should only be used by experienced cannabis consumers. Mixing tobacco wraps and cannabis gives a much different high to those who are not accustomed to it.

Dab rigs

Another form of smoking for experienced users is a dab rig. Why? You’re smoking cannabis in its most concentrated form.

That’s why dispensaries sell it as concentrates. Also known as wax, it is sold under many names like live resin, rosin, oil, sauce and more. The difference between these weird little words is how it's made.

Live resin is made with a flash-frozen cannabis flower. It uses a solvent-based extraction technique, which usually involves BHO. Rosin is made with dried and cured marijuana, using only heat and pressure -- no solvents -- according to Verilife.

Between the two, I prefer rosin because it is much more natural.

Sauce extractions are known for high levels of terpenes, which basically means they have a very robust flavor profiles. It is typically made using a unique process designed to create a two-component final product: cannabinoid-rich crystals with high levels of THC suspended in terpene-rich oil, according to WeedMaps.

Types of wax and how they're made can be very confusing. The point is, it’s sticky.

Cannabis consumers often use wax because it offers a more intense high than with flower.

If you're trying wax for the first time, I suggest experimenting with different products to find out what works for you.

There are many ways to smoke wax. One of the most common ways is by using a dab rig.

This – usually glass – piece is heated, to between 500-600 degrees, using a torch. Then wax is placed onto the heated bowl and is instantly vaporized. As this happens, the consumer inhales through the opposite, unheated end as they gently cover and uncover the heated side with a tool to continue its vaporization.

The downside to dab rigs – depending on who you ask – is that they can make you really, really high.

Personally, I enjoy them for the increased high since my tolerance is higher than most, but I do feel as though sometimes it can be wasteful of the product if the temperature is not perfect.

I’ve noticed if I’m not careful, the piece can to be too hot or not hot enough, which ends up wasting my wax because it doesn’t properly vaporize.

Dab rigs are good for social settings but should be reserved for cannabis consumers that know how it will affect them. 


Vaporizers, also called wax pens, are one of the easiest, most efficient and most portable methods to consume wax. They are similar to vape pens in their shape and size, but very different in what they do.

Vaporizers use concentrated cannabis wax. It does not require a cartridge, like vape pens.

Unlike a dab rig, you don’t need a torch to heat the product.

Vaporizers, like Yocan, are self-heating pens. There is a chamber inside the pen where you place wax and then press a button to heat it and inhale. Sounds simple, right? It really is. But it’s even better than a vape pen because in my experience, it has a stronger effect.


As surprised as you might be, you can smoke with an apple, or a range of fruit for that matter.

To do so, twist off the apple’s stem and cut out the bowl in the top. Using something long and pointy, poke a hole from the top halfway down the apple.

From the side of the apple, poke a second hole straight through until it comes out the opposite end of the fruit. The hole needs to go straight through the first hole from the top.

Then, you have an apple bowl!

Pack cannabis into the top of it, put your mouth on the hole you made on the side of the apple and use your finger to cover the other on the opposite side as you light the cannabis in the top of the bowl.

Sounds simple right? It is! I definitely recommend trying one of the afformentioned methods of smoking over using anything that grows from the Earth. However, if you’re in a bind, remember the apple option.

When it comes to smoking marijuana, there are endless methods to do so, and it seems like almost every day, someone finds a new way.

Smoking preferences depend on who you are and how much you smoke. It’s important to remember that not everybody is going to like the same thing, but we’re here to walk you through this world of weed so that you can find what gives you the happiest high.