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How to Politely Smoke Cannabis

Hand holding a lit marijuana joint

Legendary etiquette expert Emily Post helped set the guidelines of politeness for a generation of Americans. Now, her great-great-granddaughter Lizzie Post is following in her footsteps. The 36-year-old self-proclaimed “classic stoner” enjoys the art of rolling joints and sharing etiquette tips with the cannabis community. With so many states now legalizing marijuana, it only made sense to move forward with publishing her guidebook, Higher Etiquette. Post even dives into unexpected places, shining a light on what we should call cannabis, stoner etiquette and so much more.

While etiquette has existed in the cannabis communities for several years, many newcomers that want to learn to smoke may be unaware of these guidelines. Post’s guide helps the cannabis culture talk about etiquette without shame or fear of legal consequence.

Basic Rules of Cannabis Etiquette that Everyone Should Understand

The three biggest things about cannabis etiquette in the weed community regard sharing cannabis, especially if you happen to light something up in a group of people. Beyond sharing, etiquette depends on which time of cannabis consumption you’re using. However, in general, you want to make sure that you’re not holding on to something that is burning and wasting cannabis. The third basic rule of cannabis etiquette is to not get rid of something without first asking everyone if they’d like it.

Another big smoking etiquette tip is to understand when your high will kick in. The high you get from smoking or vaping kicks in much earlier than the high you get from consuming edibles. For many people, smoking or vaping has a nearly instantaneous high. Where eating edibles can delay the feeling of being high by several hours. By knowing what to expect when it comes to cannabis, you can avoid awkward conversations and have a good idea of when you can expect to feel high.

Etiquette has also changed over the years. For example, it’s important to pay attention to the community when it comes to the terms you use. We’re learning that for many weed smokers, the terms marijuana or weed may be offensive to others. Generally, you’re pretty safe if you use the term “cannabis” over other alternatives.

Cannabis etiquette has also changed as more and more states have legalized the use of the drug. When something is illegal, there are additional etiquette rules designed to help keep people safe smoking pot. There’s a lot of fear and worry that you’ll get caught weed smoking and if it’s illegal then, depending on the circumstances, you could go to jail for a long time. People want to feel safe and comfortable. It’s important to take this into consideration when having conversations around other people or even on the phone. Even in states where cannabis is legal, most people still practice at least some discretion during their smoke sessions.

Keep Things Clean

When sharing cannabis, it’s important to always remove the seeds and stems. They taste bad when they’re burned and could cause popping and sparking. You also always want to do your best to be mindful of your saliva and keep it to yourself. If you do happen to get saliva on something, be courteous and wipe it before passing it to the next person.

Honesty is important. If you’re sick you should inform others before you participate. The last thing anyone wants is to share your illness. Likewise, if you aren’t good at rolling, be honest about it. It’s better to let someone with more experience or skill take over.

One rule that should go without saying is that you should never pressure anyone who doesn’t want to participate in cannabis experiences or cannabis consumption methods.

Cannabis Smoking Etiquette

There are a few guidelines generally accepted within a group of cannabis smokers. For example, if someone rolls a joint then they generally have the right to light and hit it first. If they desire, the person that rolled the joint can instead pass the honor on to someone else. As it makes its way around the smoking circle, generally you want to take no more than two hits before passing it on to the next person. If smoking with close friends or family, you may have different rules, but most groups follow the “puff, puff, pass” policy. Before you pass the joint or blunt, you want to make sure to tap the excess ash off the end. This will help save your friends’ clothing, furniture, or carpet.

When using smoking devices like a bong or a pipe to smoke marijuana, don’t torch the bowl. Green hits are always the best hits and rather than burning the entire surface, it’s better to just light a small corner so the next person can also experience a green hit. With pipe or bong smoking, you always want to clear the chamber. Stale smoke tastes awful so don’t pass it to the next person without clearing out the smoke.

When smoking, one of the biggest things you want to pay attention to is where your blowing smoke goes. Most people don’t enjoy a cloud of smoke wafting or being blown their way. You want to be especially mindful of your smoke when you’re around people who aren’t using cannabis. This includes taking any wind into account. Even though you may enjoy smoking cannabis, the family picnicking in the park next to you may not want anything to do with your smoke. By paying attention to the wind and making sure there’s enough distance between you and anyone else, you all can have a nice time.

You always want to pay attention to how your weed smoking behavior affects the behavior of those around you. The goal is to try to limit the negativity of the impact of your behavior. For example, if you’re at a social gathering at someone’s home and most of the group quietly disappears leaving only one or two individuals to awkwardly wait for their return, they may feel uncomfortable or not know what to do. You can prevent this by inviting them with the rest of the group. Even if they prefer not to smoke, they may still wish to be a part of the conversation. It’s important to always be considerate of those around you.

Cannabis Etiquette with Edibles

When purchasing edibles, always check the THC dosage. It’s best to choose packages that have verified nutrition labels. Typically, edibles come in a variety of forms, including things like cookies, brownies, chocolates, candies, and even tinctures. Understanding the dosage for yourself and anyone you’re sharing with is important when it comes to having a good experience. Edibles tend to have a stronger and longer reaction in the body. However, they do take longer to kick in. It’s best to start small and not get in a rush. Just because you don’t feel anything after an hour or two doesn’t mean you didn’t get enough. It can take multiple hours before you feel the effects. It’s also a good idea to eat something else and offer additional food options if you’re the host. It’s not a good idea to partake in edibles on an empty stomach.

One very important rule is that you should never give someone edibles without informing them that they contain cannabis. Consent is always necessary, and you never want to trick someone into consuming anything without them being fully informed of what is inside.

The Shifting World of Cannabis Etiquette

Etiquette can change from region to region and even group to group. If you’re ever in doubt of what you should do, always lead with honesty and ask if you’re unsure. This will help prevent issues. In all cases of etiquette, it’s important to contribute in some way, especially if you’re gathering with the intention of using cannabis. It’s a good idea to offer up cash, food, or cannabis when partaking.

When it comes down to it, etiquette is always transforming. We’ll continue to see more and more of this transformation as cannabis use becomes more widespread and cannabis consumers more accepted.