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Does Holding In Your Hits Longer Get You Higher?

There’s a popular belief that holding in a cannabis hit will get you higher. Here’s what actually happens.

There’s a lot of misconceptions regarding cannabis use. One of the most popular beliefs among amateur and seasoned cannabis users is that the longer a hit is held in the lungs, the stronger the effect. This is not true, although holding in your breath for long periods of time might make you feel as if you were higher.

Why are these beliefs so popular? Here’s an explanation of how your lungs work once cannabis is introduced. 

How Your Lungs Work

Whether you’re inhaling smoke from a joint, a pipe, or a bong, your lungs react in the same way as when you’re breathing. Lungs expand and pick up oxygen. In the case of breathing in cannabis, they pick up on THC and deliver it to your alveoli (the little sacs of air in your lungs). The THC is then passed on to your bloodstream, where it will be delivered to different areas of the body, getting you high in the process. It’s a relatively quick succession of events, resulting in people feeling high within minutes.

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Photo by magicmine/Getty Images

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When it comes to how long you hold in the THC or how much you cough, the effect remains the same. It takes approximately 3 seconds for the THC to make its way through your body.

Why You Feel Lightheaded

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While you’re not making the cannabis affect you more by holding in the smoke, you are depriving your brain of oxygen and accelerating your heart rate. This process will make you feel lightheaded, which might contribute to feeling higher, at least for a couple of seconds as your body takes a minute to rebalance itself. Still, holding in your breath is not an effective way of getting more high.

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If you’re interested in finding a more efficient way to get high, there are several things you could try. A new method of cannabis, whether that’s an edible or smoking from a vape or a bong, might kickstart your body’s relationship with the drug, getting you higher in the meantime. You can also try adding some kief to your joints or bowl, adding more trichomes in the mix, and producing stronger experiences.

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