What’s the Best Way to Light Weed?

Most people who smoke cannabis use a butane lighter to get things going, but what’s the best way to light weed? If you’re dipping into your stash of Seattle pre-rolls or rolling a joint in a home where lighters are scarce, knowing the options for lighting up will help you to have the best possible smoking experience.

Light ‘Er Up

Cannabis flower needs to be heated in order for the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.) to decarboxylate and turn into a form your body can use. Smoking cannabis with a joint or bowl is the simplest and quickest way to do this. To get going, you’ll need to hold a lighter to the cannabis until you get a smooth, even burn. Each method for lighting a joint has pros and cons.


Butane lighters or BIC lighters are the cheapest, most accessible, and most portable kinds of lighters for lighting a joint. To light up, simply rotate the spark wheel and hold the lighter to the bowl or the tip of the joint and wait for the cannabis to stay lit before removing the flame.

While lighters are the most convenient and popular option for lighting weed, some people are concerned about the potentially toxic effects of inhaling butane (see this study on acute exposure to concentrated butane) or don’t like the taste.


No lighter? No problem. A match will get your cannabis burning. If you use a match to light a joint, let it burn for a few seconds to burn off the sulfur and phosphorus in the match head, and then hold it to the joint or bowl.

To avoid using several matches, it’s a good idea to make sure the weed continues to burn when you take the match away. A rookie mistake is to take the match away too soon and need to light the bowl again.

Flame-Free Lighters

Flame-free lighters are a great option if you want to smoke weed outside on a windy day. Instead of providing an open flame, flame-free lighters bring about combustion via extremely hot plasma coils or a tiny spark emitted from two charge points.

The most well-known flame-free lighter is the car lighter, which you can gently press to a joint or bowl until the flower combusts. For outings, battery-powered portable models are also available. Keep in mind that flame-free lighters can be used to light a joint or bowl but won’t light a bong or pipe.

Hemp Wick

For the more butane-averse, hemp wicks offer an alternative to traditional lighters. Once lit, a hemp wick burns until you put it out, making them ideal for social smoking situations. While the safety of hemp wicks vs. butane lighters is not proven, hemp wicks are said to provide smoother, more flavorful hits.

To light up using a hemp wick, light the end of the wick with a lighter or match, and then hold it to your joint, bowl, pipe, or bong until the cannabis combusts. If you don’t have any hemp wick and need to get a flame into a tight spot, a dry spaghetti noodle will also work!

Magnifying Glass

Ok, so this is probably one for the science enthusiasts out there who spent their childhoods searching for bugs and burning holes in leaves. If you have a magnifying glass at home, head outside with your bowl of weed and focus the light beam on the weed until it starts to smolder.

For smoking weed inside or on a cloudy day, you’ll need to find another solution for lighting your bowl or joint. However, for a unique, science-friendly smoking experience, the magnifying glass trick is a must-try.

Glass Wand

A glass wand or Greevo stick can be used to heat a bowl, joint, bong, or pipe to combustion or vaporization temperature. To light a glass wand, heat the tip with a cannabis torch until it’s red hot and allow it to cool to the temperature you need.

While using a glass wand avoids you having to taste butane in every draw, the butane in the blowtorch may still be undesirable for some. You’ll also need to be careful to make sure you don’t drop the glass wand as it’s fragile and can easily smash.

Save Some for Later

So, you know how to light a joint correctly, but what if you want to save some bud for later or need to hide the smell of weed? Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to put out the burn and store a joint or the remainder of a bowl:

  • Bowls: Snuff the burning cannabis with a toker poker or the end of a lighter.
  • Joints: Tap any ashes into an ashtray and drop the joint gently into a doob tube to put out the burning “cherry” without damaging the joint.

After you’ve put out the fire, you’ll still need to complete a few extra steps if you want to hide the cannabis smell. Chewing gum, opening windows, and diffusing essential oils are all helpful steps to take.

Enjoy Your Smoke Sesh!

It can take a little practice to find the best way to light weed. However, enjoying each smooth, flavorful hit is worth the effort in the end. And if you ever find yourself without a lighter or match, a spaghetti noodle or magnifying glass will get the job done.

When it comes to lighting up your weed (and hiding the smell afterward), a little creativity can go a long way!