The right technique of smoking weed involves holding in the smoke for a few seconds before you finally exhale, right? Novices will spend a lot of time trying to muster how to do this correctly so they can intensify the high. The belief is that
And sure enough, holding the smoke in may intensify the cerebral buzz. The belief is that doing this will allow more time for the alveoli to absorb THC, the compound that is responsible for the typical marijuana high.
Is there any science to back up this belief?
Unfortunately, this is all unsubstantiated and is therefore hogwash. If anything, holding in the smoke only increases your chances of inhaling unwanted smoke and tar. The cerebral effect is likely a result of carbon monoxide getting to your brain.
You might have heard it from someone or even probably had a personal experience where holding in the smoke gave you a mind-blowing high. Then you must have thought that this is the right way to smoke weed. That is wrong.
Cannabinoids, such as THC, are absorbed within a few seconds of taking a puff. The inhaled smoke gets to the lungs almost immediately and is absorbed through the alveoli. The cannabinoids are then delivered to the bloodstream and find their way to the brain and within a few seconds to minutes, you should be feeling the cerebral effects. Usually, the effects peak at about 30 seconds; at this point, you will experience the most intense mental intoxication. Depending on several factors, the effects may last for 4-6 hours with residual effects persisting up to 24 hours.
When you hold the smoke in you deprive your brain of oxygen because you stop breathing in and out. Consequently, carbon monoxide builds up in your system and this may trigger the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
Holding the smoke in causes tar and unwanted smoke to fill up in your lungs. This is especially the case when you are using joints and bongs. Vaporizing the cannabis will provide a “cleaner” experience with less contamination.
Holding cannabis smoke for a longer duration before you exhale will not intensify the high feeling. If you feel any heightened effects it is likely due to the accumulation of carbon monoxide in your system which your body will have to work extra hard to exhale. Generally, it takes a few seconds for the cannabinoids such as THC, to be absorbed into the system.
Some researchers have investigated the impact of holding your breath after smoking marijuana on the effects produced. From this study, it appeared that there was no correlation between the psychological and cognitive effects produced and the breath-holding duration.
The first explanation is that the heightened level of intoxication is subjective; you expect to feel that way and so you imagine that it has happened. The second explanation has to do with the accumulation of carbon monoxide in your system.
- Carbon monoxide toxicity may cause the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate (adrenalin rush)
- Tingling sensation on skin
- Stomach upset
These symptoms may be confused with THC intoxication which causes the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate
- Red eyes and mouth
- Distorted senses
If you are not a regular smoker you are likely to mistake the symptoms of carbon monoxide toxicity with those of THC intoxication.
At this point, it should be clear that you do not need to hold in weed smoke to get a more intense high. Smoking cannabis involves combustion and consequently the production of unwanted byproducts that might irritate the lungs. Therefore, you should strive to minimize any potential harm to your lungs while at the same time trying to maximize the inhalation of cannabinoids.
- The first thing is to be calm and confident.
- Light the joint and bring the opposite end to your mouth. Remember not to inhale during ignition.
- Begin with small hits that you hold for a short duration like 15 seconds and exhale.
- To increase the absorption of THC, take breaks in between and inhale fresh air. The air will push down the smoke deeper into the lungs and increase the rate of absorption of THC and other cannabinoids.
As much as this has been considered the holy grail of puff-puff-pass, there is really no science to justify the practice. If anything, holding in your breath might increase your exposure to harmful smoke components, so desist from this wrongful habit. All you need to do is to take moderate hits and exhale soon after. In a short while, you will begin to feel the full effects of the weed, without having to hold in your breath.