Can You Get Higher by Holding in Cannabis Smoke for a Long Time?
December 30, 2019 11:00 am ET
Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Many people will try to tell you that you should hold in your cannabis smoke before exhaling in order to get the most out of your toke. This stems from the idea that if you hold in the smoke longer, you give your body more time to absorb the cannabinoids through your lungs’ alveoli (the air sacs in your lungs). Despite how logical that may seem, science does not support that theory. In fact, the reason why you may feel an intensified effect from holding in your smoke has nothing to do with absorbing more cannabinoids.
Why Holding in Cannabis Smoke Doesn’t Get You Higher
Some consumers claim that the longer they hold in their smoke, the more they feel the cannabis. However, you will not get higher the longer you hold in smoke because more than 90% of the THC is absorbed instantly as you inhale. The feeling of getting higher from holding in smoke has nothing to do with the cannabis itself; what is actually happening is the deprivation of oxygen to your brain.
Depriving your brain of oxygen by holding in your smoke longer can make you feel lightheaded. The carbon monoxide and toxins from combustion with smoking and holding it in only intensify the lightheadedness. The more you hold in, the more elevated your heart rate gets and blood gets pumped in faster to compensate for the low oxygen levels, contributing to the feeling of getting more out of your smoke.
Holding in your smoke longer than necessary results in the absorption of unwanted smoke and tars. Consuming your cannabis through joints and bongs and holding that smoke in allows the tar to stick to your lungs more. Holding your cannabis smoke in longer does NOT mean you’re absorbing more cannabinoids; 3 seconds is all it takes for your alveoli to absorb the optimal amount of cannabis and move the cannabinoids into your bloodstream.
Check out this article for some ways to consume cannabis without smoking altogether: How to Get High Without Smoking: 8 Ways to Consume Cannabis
Tips for Optimal Cannabis Absorption
Consider doing the following to ensure the optimal intake of cannabinoids with minimal risk of oxygen deprivation:
- Inhaling cannabis works the same as inhaling air. Rather than inhaling shorter hits and holding them in, try to inhale DEEPER. This allows more cannabinoids to enter your lungs without giving time for unwanted smoke and tar to be absorbed.
- Allow yourself some time and fresh air in between inhalation.
- Consider different methods of cannabis consumption, such as dabbing and edibles.
- Vaporizers do not combust cannabis but rather heats it up in order to activate the cannabinoids, resulting in healthier and optimal absorption.
- Try microdosing! Everyone consumes cannabis for various reasons, but this method of consumption allows you to reap some of the benefits of cannabis while consuming a minimal amount for the optimum effect.
Cannabis will have the same effect on your body whether you hold in your hits for 3 seconds or 10 seconds—the only difference is the amount of oxygen and blood flowing through your body. No matter how long or deep you inhale, there is still a limit on cannabis absorption, which does not take longer than 3 seconds to reach.
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