How to inhale weed without going overboard
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- How to inhale weed properly
- 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
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
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
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
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
Why Does Weed Make You Cough?
If you’ve experienced a coughing fit after smoking cannabis, you’re not alone. It’s a common, natural response to smoke inhalation.
Sometimes, though, coughing can occur even when you’re not smoking. This is more likely to happen if you regularly smoke cannabis.
To learn why smoking cannabis can make you cough, read on. We’ll also explore how smoking cannabis might affect lung health, along with the risk of lung cancer.
Your throat and lungs are lined with sensory nerves. They work to detect irritating substances, like smoke, in your airways.
If you inhale an irritant, the nerves send signals throughout your respiratory tract. This produces a cough reflex, which helps you get rid of the irritating substance. The goal is to protect your respiratory tract, and ultimately, your lungs.
This is what happens when you smoke cannabis. The smoke irritates your airways, causing your nerves to trigger a cough reflex. It’s a normal reaction to inhaling any kind of smoke.
Research suggests that coughing related to cannabis smoking is usually due to short-term effects, rather than long-term damage. Let’s take a look at the research.
According to a 2013 review, smoking cannabis causes tiny injuries to the large airways, or bronchi. Your bronchi are the passages that connect your trachea (windpipe) to your lungs.
This increases your risk for chronic bronchitis, or inflamed bronchi, which causes frequent coughing. Chronic bronchitis typically goes away when you stop regularly smoking.
Defense against infection
Habitual smoking also decreases cilia in the airways. Cilia are small hairs that filter out particles and germs. And though habitual smoking reduces your lungs’ defense against infection, it isn’t associated with long-term damage, according to the 2013 review.
Long-term lung function
A 2012 study specifically examined the link between smoking cannabis and long-term lung function over a 20-year period. The researchers found that occasional smoking wasn’t linked to adverse lung function.
Though they speculated that heavy smoking can cause lasting damage, they weren’t able to make a solid conclusion. The study lacked enough participants who heavily smoked cannabis.
It’s worth noting that smoking cannabis is associated with lasting lung damage if you also smoke tobacco. In a 2016 study , people who smoked cannabis and tobacco were more likely to have impaired lung function than those who only smoked tobacco.
Despite these findings, scientists are still learning how smoking cannabis affects lung health over time. More long-term studies are necessary.
According to a 2020 study , cannabis smoke contains 110 compounds with potentially toxic properties. Sixty-nine of these compounds are also found in tobacco smoke. As a result, many people wonder if smoking cannabis can cause lung cancer.
The research is mixed. A 2015 meta-analysis found a weak link between long-term cannabis smoking and lung cancer risk. An older 2006 study also found no association between long-term smoking and lung cancer.
However, a 2013 study , which spanned over 40 years, found that frequently smoking cannabis doubles the risk of lung cancer. The association persisted after the researchers adjusted their data for tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and respiratory disease.
Similarly, an older 2008 study found a connection between cannabis smoking and lung cancer after adjusting for cigarette smoking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that it’s difficult to confirm a solid link. That’s because cannabis use often occurs alongside other behaviors that increase lung cancer risk, including cigarette smoking.
Therefore, more studies are needed involving people who smoke cannabis and not cigarettes.
It’s also possible for lung cancer to cause coughing. In this case, the coughing will be persistent or get worse over time. Other common symptoms of lung cancer include:
- coughing blood
- chest pain
- poor appetite
- unexplained weight loss
- new wheezing
- shortness of breath
Keep in mind that coughing has many potential causes. If you’re concerned about your coughing, visit your doctor.
As mentioned earlier, regularly smoking cannabis can lead to chronic bronchitis. Bronchitis is considered chronic if you have coughing and mucus for at least 3 months for 2 consecutive years.
Since chronic bronchitis causes persistent coughing, you’ll likely cough even when you’re not smoking. The cough might come and go, and it might get worse on some days. You may also have wheezing.
If you have chronic bronchitis due to smoking cannabis, quitting will decrease your symptoms.
Smoke can produce a cough reflex, which is your body’s way of getting rid of irritants. Researchers are still studying the long-term effects of smoking cannabis.