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Debunking The Myth Of Holding A Hit Of Marijuana

The age-old myth of holding in a hit of weed smoke is said to make you feel higher. But does science back up these claims? Read on to find out what holding a hit does to your body.

Surely you have witnessed this numerous times. Maybe you even do it yourself. Firing up a joint, taking a few hits, and holding it in stronger than the vaults at Fort Knox. You proceed to pass the joint along to your friends while holding the hit in, mimicking Houdini’s underwater escape.

It is the standard no-cost approach to getting higher, right? Hold the smoke in for longer, and the body will have extra time to absorb more THC through the lung’s alveoli. Unfortunately, despite the apparent logical reasoning behind this notion, this theory does not hold up.

Air contains approximately 20% oxygen. Our lungs on average can hold 6 litres of air in one breath. When we exhale, the air that escapes our body holds approximately 15% oxygen. We are not all that efficient at absorbing oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide, and that is why we breathe rhythmically and do not hold 6 litres of air for several minutes to absorb as much oxygen as we can in one go.

The same principle applies to smoking weed.

BUT I SWEAR THAT THE LONGER I HOLD IT, THE HIGHER I GET

Regrettably, that is not what is going on. The lungs can transfer gas in very small quantities at the nanosecond level. It occurs almost instantly. According to some sources, 95% of all possible THC is absorbed near instantly upon inhale.

If you hold in your toke, you may feel it hits you stronger, but what is really going on is you are depriving oxygen content to your brain, making you feel a little lightheaded. If you add carbon monoxide and toxins from combustion to the mix, this lightheadedness is intensified.

TRY IT FOR YOURSELF

You can quickly test this for yourself. If you smoke tobacco, consider taking a joint-like hit and holding it in as long as you can. You will feel the same tingling or slight dizziness happen, even though there is no weed in the mix.

If you don’t smoke cigarettes, sit on a chair, legs parallel. Grab your legs and put your head between your knees, looking down. Take a few good deep breaths, then exhale as much as you can and hold it for as long as you can. Right before releasing, pull yourself back into normal sitting position as you let yourself breathe. If you do this intensely enough, not only will you feel dizzy, you may even faint! So make sure to do this under the watch of a friend and take it easy.

There is a game where kids induce fainting from oxygen deprivation. Same principal as the chair exercise, they stand back against a wall, exhale, then another kid puts their hand on the victim’s chest, applying slight pressure. In as little as 30 seconds, kids would go lights out, just like when you get a whitey from smoking cannabis.

THEN WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY?

The more you hold your breath, the more elevated the heart rate gets. Blood is pumped faster to compensate for the low oxygen levels. This has a compounding effect as you hold your breath, since there is no oxygen available. The body starts reacting to this new emergency warning sign. Adrenaline starts getting released to prepare for a flight-or-fight response, which only increases the overall “high” sensation.

Another symptom of oxygen deprivation is the tingling sensation of your skin and face – often also falsely associated with getting extra-blazed.

SO, HOW CAN I GET HIGHER THAN HIGH?

If you want to get extra high, the answer is pretty straightforward. Smoke more weed. Or smoke stronger strains, or even consider concentrates. If you really want to achieve new levels of psychotropic euphoria, try edibles. But be aware; they will hit you in different ways, and are often quite strong.

Consider vaping and dabbing concentrates. These are the least harmful methods of inhaling THC and other cannabinoids. As there is no combustion happening, you will not breathe in carbon monoxide, tar, and other toxins. With a vape, you will be able to smoke a much larger quantity of weed without the harmful oxygen depriving interception caused by carbon monoxide.

Being that concentrates have very high levels of THC, the same volume of inhaled toke will also contain a much higher concentration of THC, resulting in a bigger and stronger hit.

The old saying “less is more” applies perfectly here. The less you hold the smoke in, the more chances you have to take another toke.

The formula is quite simple. The more hits you take, the higher you will get.

Will holding a hit increase how high you get? We look into what exactly is happening when you hold in cannabis smoke.

How to inhale weed without going overboard

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Contents

  1. How to inhale weed properly
  2. How to avoid inhaling too much

Every stoner begins as a novice and learning how to inhale weed is the first step of every toker’s journey. Since breathing is a natural process that occurs thousands of times per day, it’s strange to contemplate “how to inhale.” Nevertheless, all first-time smokers start somewhere, and proper breathing technique is essential to maximizing the cannabis experience.

A proper breathing technique is essential to maximizing the cannabis experience. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Most first-timers hit their joint like they’re smoking a cigarette without actually breathing the smoke into their lungs. If the smoke isn’t fully inhaled into the lungs, it only travels into the throat and nasal passages, which absorb THC, thus wasting precious cannabinoids. This is why many first-time tokers fail to get high.

Read on to learn how to avoid coughing and choking while making the most of every cannabis hit.

How to inhale weed properly

Proper inhalation techniques stem from the same basic principles and vary slightly depending on whether you’re smoking a joint, hitting a bong, or using a vaporizer.

When smoking, you’re burning cannabis to the point of combustion and inhaling the smoke to deliver cannabinoids into your bloodstream. Smoking can be painful for lungs, so it’s important to take slow, measured draws to minimize irritation. Start with shallow inhalations and draw more deeply as you progress and become more comfortable.

Here’s a handy technique to ensure your lungs absorb the maximum amount of THC: slowly inhale about two-thirds of your hit and follow up with a deep, inhaled gulp of air. The fresh air pushes the cannabis smoke down into the lungs and should improve THC’s absorption. There’s no need to hold your inhale for long. THC and other cannabinoids may act as bronchodilators, which means they increase airflow, speeding absorption.

Slowly inhale about two-thirds of your hit and follow up with a deep, inhaled gulp of air. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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After your first toke, consider waiting 5-10 minutes to observe the onset of effects and then deciding whether you need more.

How to avoid inhaling too much

Some cannabis consumption methods are more harsh than others. Blunts and spliffs include tobacco, which damages the lungs. Joints and pipes, which contain cannabis only, may be less harmful. Similarly, smoking marijuana out of a bong or bubbler cools the otherwise harsh cannabis smoke by filtering it through water.

Smoking marijuana out of a bong or bubbler cools the otherwise harsh cannabis smoke by filtering it through water. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Start slow as you pull through your pipe or bong, gulping a breath of fresh air after you clear the chamber. The gulp helps you absorb the THC fully. You can always take deeper hits as you become more comfortable and understand how to control your dose.

Vaporizing weed is less harsh on the lungs than smoke, but many cannabis consumers report a more intense high with this method. Cannabis vaporizes at a much lower temperature than its burning point, thus preserving the cannabinoids and terpenes otherwise lost in combustion.

Vaporizing weed is less harsh on the lungs than smoke. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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When vaping cannabis, whether in oil or flower form, it’s better to take shallower hits and hold them for slightly less time than you would hold cannabis smoke. Take time between hits to assess how you feel and decide whether you’d like to consume more.

How to inhale weed without going overboard Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents How to inhale weed properly How to avoid inhaling too much