The Unwritten Rules of Cannabis Etiquette

Seasoned marijuana users understand that consuming the substance is an inherently social activity. As such, there are certain ‘rules’ that come attached to using cannabis as part of a group.

We’ve titled this article: The Unwritten Rules of Cannabis Etiquette because newcomers, in particular, aren’t familiar with them. However, Lizzie Post has gone to the trouble of writing a guidebook on the subject. Much of what we write here relates to what she included in her publication.

Without further ado, let’s look at seven crucial rules of etiquette when using marijuana.

1 – No Peer Pressure

When part of any group, it is essential to determine who is going to use the cannabis. Indeed, you should ask everyone present if they are okay with you lighting up. If someone objects, it is best to take the joint or bong to a different room. It is unfair to subject someone to second-hand smoke when they want no part of the cannabis-using action.

When offering someone a hit of a joint, you should only ask once.

When offering someone a hit of a joint, you should only ask once. If they refuse, accept the answer but inform them that you’re happy if they participate later on. Even if non-users are okay with you using cannabis, show them respect by turning on fans or opening windows.

2 – Share the Cannabis

First of all, if you’re invited to a cannabis smoking session, bring some bud of your own. The ‘host’ will likely appreciate that someone brought extra given the cost of marijuana. Whether you’re hosting or else you’ve brought some weed, make sure you share. The practice of sharing cannabis goes back thousands of years. It is also a good idea because you might have no marijuana later down the line and need to use someone else’s.

It is also good manners for a host to offer guests the first hit of a joint or bowl. You will immediately make others feel at ease, and they’ll thank you for showing this courtesy.

Make sure you understand the unspoken rule, which states that the roller gets the first puff. This means the individual who rolled the joint gets to take the first hit.

3 – Passing the Joint

It is common practice for cannabis users to form a circle and rotate the joint. This enables everyone in the group to take a hit. You’re expected to ‘puff, puff, pass.’ This means taking a couple of hits and passing the joint.


Under no circumstances should you engage in ‘Bogarting.’ This is the term given when someone holds onto the joint for too long, thus preventing others from using it. The practice is named in honor of the legendary actor Humphrey Bogart. He was famed for keeping a cigarette dangling in his mouth even while speaking.

Another possible origin for the term is the actor’s role in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in 1948. In the movie, his character becomes increasingly selfish when sharing a gold mine with a pair of friends.

It is best if you pay attention to the rotation of the joint. Typically, members of the group are expected to speak up when it is someone’s turn. As Lizzie Post points out, John doesn’t have to be fifth in the circle every time. However, it is an act of consideration that most people appreciate.

These days, jumping in during rotation is no longer the crime it once was. Most groups don’t mind if someone comes along and asks for a quick hit before leaving. That is, as long as the person doesn’t make a habit of it.

4 – Keep Things Clean

Don’t get involved in the circle if you have a cold or another potentially transferable illness. If you see someone coughing or sneezing, would you be happy to share a joint with them? It is the same issue with bong hits since everyone puts their lips on a mouthpiece. The group can decide whether they want someone with a head cold involved.

As for your bong, make sure it is clean at the start of every session. Moose Labs performed a study on the cleanliness of the average cannabis pipe and found that it had:

  • Over 14 times the bacteria of a typical dog food bowl.
  • More than six times the bacteria of a mobile phone screen.
  • Almost double the bacteria of the inside of the average dumpster.
  • Approximately 50% more bacteria than the average public toilet seat.
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Some people use a lighter’s flame to burn bacteria from the mouthpiece. It is better than nothing but still nowhere near good enough. Ideally, you will thoroughly wash your bong in isopropyl alcohol after every use. You should also invest in alcohol wipes specifically for the mouthpiece. Finally, change your bong water regularly!

5 – Show Respect

You can do this in many ways. As the host, do your best to make novice users feel at ease. Keep a close eye on your friends to ensure they’re not overindulging. As you have invited people, make sure you share your cannabis.

Keep a close eye on your friends to ensure they’re not overindulging.

As a visitor, you must respect the host’s property, which means cleaning up if you make a mess. This can be as simple as ensuring you clean up any ash that gets on the floor. You should also bring over some snacks, especially if you don’t have any cannabis. All members of the group will appreciate this gesture if the munchies suddenly take hold.

Final Thoughts on the Unwritten Rules of Cannabis Etiquette

If you want people to come back to your house, or invite you over, make sure you obey the rules of marijuana etiquette mentioned above. If everyone follows these unwritten laws, it will likely be a pleasant experience for almost everyone.

For first-time users, it is best only to consume marijuana with close friends. There is no way of knowing how the substance will affect you. As a result, it is much better to be in the company of people you trust if the high becomes overwhelming. Friends are also more likely to ensure you don’t make this mistake in the first place.

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