How To Inhale Weed: Your Official Guide

A longstanding urban myth is that most first time smokers don’t get high their first time smoking. There’s a possibility there’s something in our body preventing smokers from getting high. But the more likely fact is that people simply don’t know how to inhale weed. However, even long time smokers, who have been high before, claim they too sometimes don’t get high while smoking. 

Why Some Won’t Get High Their First Time

Not Enough Cannabinoid Receptors

There is a scientific reason why you may not get high the first time you consume cannabis, and it may not just be because you don’t know how to inhale weed. Some people believe there’s something called a ‘sensitization period’, where you won’t feel high when you smoke for the first few times, even if you do know how to inhale weed and did so correctly. This is because THC ( tetrahydrocannabinol, the part of cannabis that makes you feel high) can cause your brain to actually increase the number of cannabinoid receptors you have. Cannabinoid receptors are what THC binds to in order to make you feel that popular high. What this really means is you’ll have to wait for your brain to make more cannabinoid receptors in order to get high. So keep trying and you’ll get there!

Failure to Drag

A mistake even long time smokers make. Failure to drag is when you keep the smoke only in your mouth, instead of actually putting it into your body. Unfortunately, this a waste of cannabis, because keeping the smoke in your mouth won’t get you remotely high. This is also a symptom of not knowing how to inhale weed correctly. You’ve got to finish your inhale by dragging the smoke down into your lungs in order to feel its effects. Which brings us to our next point. 

Failure to Inhale

how to inhale weed

The second, and more common problem for newbies, is new smokers often don’t inhale at all. Instead, they suck the end of smoke-delivery vehicle as if it’s a straw. As a result, our natural reflex in this state is simply to gulp it down like food or drink, which means you’re sending the smoke down the wrong pipe! And yes, you can burp weed smoke if you swallow it, and it’s not pleasant. Instead, focus on inhaling versus sucking. Think yoga breath, not soda pop. You’re aiming to bring the smoke down into your lungs, not your stomach.

Poor Weed Quality

You could know how to inhale weed, and be a long time smoker and suddenly not feel high from the weed you’re smoking. That really comes down to the quality and type of your weed. When you smoke a lot your body does build up a tolerance, then when you go and smoke poorer quality weed you don’t feel high because your body is requiring more THC in order to feel high. Always make sure you’re getting high quality weed, and if you’re not sure how to tell if you have high quality weed, check out our Cannabis Therapy Potcast episode where we teach you. 

How To Inhale Weed

Now that we know why you may not be getting high, let’s teach you how to inhale weed the right way so you can enjoy your high. When you’re smoking, and have the bowl, bong, joint, blunt or any other smoking device to your mouth, cover the mouthpiece firmly and inhale the weed into your lungs as if you’re breathing air then when you take the weed away from your mouth take a deep breath in, then exhale. It’s that extra breath of air that really pushes the smoke into your lungs, allowing your body to absorb it. 


A common myth has been that to get high, you must hold in your hit as long as possible. Some people call this the ‘iron lung challenge’ and see how long they can hold their hit in, then claiming it made them higher. While this may be great for a challenge, it’s actually just a false factoid that’s been passed through storytelling from stoner to stoner. The cannabinoids from smoke are absorbed into your lungs within the first few seconds of your inhale. What’s most likely happening, and why it may seem that holding in your hit gets you higher, is that this deprives your brain temporarily of oxygen. Think about it, it’s just like holding your breath. This produces a high in its own right, although definitely not a healthy one. Instead of possibly asphyxiating yourself and inducing a coughing fit from holding smoke in your lungs, you can simply inhale then exhale with peace.

This brings us to a second myth, namely, that “more coughs means more high.” There are some scientific claims floating around to the effect that coughing open up the lungs and therefore can get you more high. But it’s more likely that coughing is a signal of throat irritation by the heat from smoke. Also, similar to the myth of ‘holding you smoke in longer gets you higher’, coughing deprives you of oxygen, which creates a less healthy high of its own.

Key Takeaways For How To Inhale Weed

Don’t be like Bill Clinton, and inhale your weed so you can get high! On the flip side of that, don’t feel like you have to hold the weed in your lungs as long as possible to get higher. Think of it like breathing, you don’t hold oxygen in your lungs longer to get more benefit from it, nor would you from cannabis. No matter how long you’ve been smoking, always make sure you’re aware of your therapeutic sweet spot. It’s no fun being too high, even if you’re just trying to learn how to inhale weed the right way. A personal preference for me also, is to make sure I’m always smoking high quality weed, even when I’m with my friends, I inspect the weed to be sure it’s at the quality level I accept.

Have you tried this method of smoking? How did it work out for you? Teach your friends how to inhale weed and let us know how it goes in the comments! 

If you have any questions please let us know, or call one of our expert cannasultants today!