How Long Should You Hold In Your Marijuana Hit?
Saturday July 15, 2017
Y ou may already have your own answer to this question. Or you may be a newbie cannabis consumer and just want to know. While there are certainly a slew of opinions online, we want to get down to the bottom of it.
First things first, we want to start by busting the myth that holding in your hit for longer means you’ll experience a better high. You might be thinking, “I actually do feel higher when I hold it longer.” And yes, this is partially true—but only because you’re depriving your brain of oxygen which means you’re more likely to feel light headed.
A 1997 study determined that our lungs can only take in so much—5-6 ml oxygen per minute to be exact. And Australian studies indicate that 95% of the THC in cannabis is absorbed within the first few seconds of inhaling. So, no matter how deep you breathe or how long you hold, there’s a limit.
Consumption Method Matters
The most important aspect to note when determining how long to hold your hit in is the method of consumption. Cannabinoid absorption differs depending on the type of consumption method because your body absorbs cannabinoids through each technique differently.
One way to explain these differences is by looking at bioavailability. Bioavailability is the process where substances are absorbed by tissues and organs, or rather, how likely it is for the molecules in cannabinoids to pass through the gastrointestinal tract liver filtration system and then be put to work. Smoking delivers cannabinoids at an average bioavailability rate of 30% where edibles deliver cannabinoids at an average bioavailability rate of 5%. This means that only 5% of a product’s cannabinoid content will get absorbed into the bloodstream.
This is also why edibles take much longer to kick in. They have to endure a long process throughout the body first. But because smoking marijuana produces an oxidization process, cannabinoid absorption is relatively high. This is because molecules do not pass through the acidic stomach environment, but rather go into the bloodstream through the lungs.
Long story short: The higher the bioavailability, the lower dosage you need to produce the desired result.
Holding in Your Hits
Cannabinoids from combusted cannabis are absorbed rather quickly, so holding in your hit too long will result in unwanted absorption of smoke and tars. In fact, approximately 88% of combusted smoke gasses (think joints and bongs) contain non-cannabinoid elements.
Smoking produces a rapid effect that lasts for a short time due to its high bioavailability, so the general recommendation is that holding it for a few seconds should do the trick.
Holding it any longer than that is just a waste. Holding a huge hit just produces more smoke than your lungs can handle and it can’t go anywhere but out.
Cannabis that is vaporized or dabbed, on the other hand, is cleaner and contains less tars or other non-cannabis elements (It’s also perceived as much safer than smoking). Some say that nearly 95% of cannabinoids are inhaled through vaporization. But when looking at bioavailability, it’s about the same as combusted cannabis.
Because you’re only consuming vapor though, holding in your hit slightly longer when vaporizing or dabbing won’t absorb any extra tars or smoke. Although each vaporizer and consumer can alter the dosage, you should still generally hold your hit for a few seconds to get the best results.
There is much debate in the cannabis community about how long you should hold in your hit. If you've ever been curious about this topic, check out our article to find the answer!
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