Holding Marijuana Hit Get You Higher
5 min

Does Holding Your Marijuana Hit Get You Higher?

5 min

It's common for stoners to hold in their hits in hopes of getting higher. But does this method really work? We'll answer this question (and provide some background) so you can optimise your smoking experience. We'll even offer you some options for enhancing the strength of your hits, without holding your breath.

Among the vestiges of early stoner culture is a practice many still abide by today: holding one’s breath after toking. The belief is that the longer you keep yourself from exhaling, the harder the THC hits.

But, does this really work? Or is it just another myth brought on by stoned conversations passed down from one generation to another?

This article aims to provide an answer to this question. Hopefully, it will serve you well, whether you’re a rookie or a long-time cannabis smoker.

What Happens When You Take a Hit of Weed?

Hit of Weed

First, we’ll take a look at how our lungs work, in a nutshell. Ultimately, our bodies aren’t as efficient in regard to the absorption and expulsion of oxygen and carbon dioxide, respectively, as we might think.

Let’s get a little scientific here: 20% of the air we breathe is oxygen, which enters the bloodstream through the lungs’ air sacs (alveoli). Upon exhalation, our body retains 15% of it.

It’s why we naturally breathe rhythmically. It’s also why our lungs can’t hold their full capacity of six litres of oxygen in one go.

In regard to smoked cannabis, THC enters the body in the same way as oxygen. And, according to some research, 95% of THC is absorbed almost instantly (in around 3 to 5 seconds) upon inhalation.

Does Marijuana Hit Harder if You Hold Your Breath?

Marijuana Hit Harder Hold Breath

Researchers from a 1989 study found that cannabis smokers were prone to holding in their hit for an average of 10–15 seconds at a time, in hopes of more THC reaching circulation. Putting this theory to the test, the researchers had subjects hold their hits for 0, 10, and 20 seconds before exhaling to see what the results showed. Ultimately, they found no evidence of intensified psychotropic effects through this practice.

What most of these studies did find, however, is a higher rate of carbon monoxide absorption with each breath-hold of smoke. Others discovered an increase in tar retention in the lungs.

If we’re using these studies as a primary basis, we can say that holding your breath isn’t going to get you higher. And, if we consider the potential carbon monoxide and tar buildup from the smoke, it could even be evidence that this practice does more harm than good.

Why Do People Think Holding Your Marijuana Hit Is Better?

People Think Holding Marijuana Hit Is Better

Many long-time smokers will tell you that holding your hit maximises the high. The main premise is that the lungs have time to absorb all the THC, which ultimately intensifies the experience.

Most often, these claims are purely anecdotal. In fact, what actually happens to your body when you hold your breath is a state of hypoxia (aka oxygen deprivation).

Some of the primary symptoms of oxygen deprivation include lightheadedness, dizziness, and mental confusion. If you add in substances like THC, you’re more likely to feel these effects escalate, giving that false sense of a much harder hit.

How To Take the Perfect Weed Hit

How Take Perfect Weed Hit

It’s time to stop believing in these myths. You don’t need to hold in your hit to get desirable psychotropic results. And, there are actually better ways of optimising the experience that are less detrimental to your lungs.

Here are some ways you can achieve the perfect, high-flying hit:

  • Limit your breath-hold to 3 seconds at most: All you need is this short amount of time to feel the full effects of THC.

  • Choose vaporizing over smoking: Combustion immediately burns a good number of cannabinoids. Vaporizing, on the other hand, gives you a more potent high from the same amount of cannabis.

Tips To Make Your Marijuana Hits Stronger

If you’re still not satisfied with the high you’re getting, here are some ways to improve your experience.

High-THC Strains

Make Marijuana Hits Stronger: High-THC Strains

One way to make you feel higher than usual is to smoke strains with higher THC percentages. Here are some of our recommendations.

Banana (Zamnesia Seeds)

Formerly known as Banana OG, this sativa-dominant strain packs power like no other. In fact, it is one of the most powerful smokes on the market today.

How powerful, you ask? As far as THC content goes, the lowest level you’ll find from well-raised plants is 23%. But, if you’re able to maximise her potential, it can rise as high as 30%. You’ll appreciate Banana’s classic sativa terpenes, both for their tropical aroma and for the motivating and uplifting feeling they provide. Over time, this energetic high turns into a relaxing stoned sensation.

Banana (Zamnesia Seeds) Feminized

Parents: OG Kush x Banana
Genetics: 40% Indica / 60% Sativa
Flowering Time: 9-10 weeks
THC: 28%
CBD: 0-1%
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Cookies Gelato (Royal Queen Seeds)

Here’s a THC-rich favourite among all manner of stoners. What makes Cookies Gelato a delight for herb-lovers all-around is its balanced 50/50 split of indica and sativa genetics.

As for the smoke, it clocks in at a whopping 28% THC. That should give you quite some bang for your buck. A single hit of Cookies Gelato will leave you with a euphoric head high that’ll last for hours. Why hold your breath when you can take easy tokes that get you just as high?

Cookies Gelato (Royal Queen Seeds) feminized

Parents: Girl Scout Cookie x Gelato 33
Genetics: Indica/Sativa
Flowering Time: 9-10 weeks
THC: 28%
CBD: Low
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Original Bruce Banner (Dark Horse Genetics)

Just by name alone, you can tell this one packs a mean punch. Named after the Hulk’s alter-ego, you will immediately feel the power of the Original Bruce Banner upon that first toke.

How much power are we talking about? This strain registers at 30% THC and above. Even by today’s standards, such strength is almost unparalleled. An indica-dominant strain, the Original Bruce Banner will leave your body in a pleasantly relaxed state. But its sativa roots will give you an uplifting sensation you won’t want to dissipate.

Original Bruce Banner (Dark Horse Genetics) Regular

Parents: Original OG Kush x Strawberry Diesel
Genetics: Indica/Sativa
Flowering Time: 9-10 weeks
THC: 32%
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Take Deeper Hits, Not Longer

Holding your hits longer may not do much in regard to amplifying your high. However, taking bigger, deeper hits could.

Just take note of our rule of thumb: hold for 2–3 seconds before letting the smoke go.

Try Dabbing Concentrates

Make Marijuana Hits Stronger:: Try Dabbing Concentrates

Want to feel a much, much stronger high? Smoke something stronger! And a good way to start would be to dab concentrates.

As the name suggests, these bad boys contain way more THC than your average bud. We’re talking up to around 80% THC (or more!).

Take that as a word of caution. If you’re dabbing for the first time, prepare yourself for a ride you’ll likely never forget.

Use Food To Get Higher

There are certain foods that could help enhance your psychotropic experience. One of them is mango.

Yes, you read that right. Mangoes are rich in myrcene, an aromatic terpene found in most cannabis strains. Myrcene is also known to increase the transport of THC to the brain, therefore enhancing its effects.

Invest in a Weed Vaporizer

Make Marijuana Hits Stronger: Invest in Weed Vaporizer

In an earlier section, we mentioned how vaporizing could be a better option than smoking in terms of experiencing stronger effects from each hit. That’s because the former doesn’t heat up cannabinoids to the point of burning them off.

Instead, vaporizers reach just the right temperature to release cannabinoids in the form of vapor. As a result, you get a much purer high without the carcinogens that smoking cannabis brings.

The cost of vaporizers varies from one brand and device to another. But that’s nothing a little research can’t help you with.

Experiment With an Ice Bong

There isn’t much of a difference between a regular bong and an ice bong. It’s just that the latter is built to hold ice cubes in its chamber.

What the ice does is reduce the harshness of the cannabis smoke entering your throat. In turn, it allows you to take much bigger hits and ultimately feel a much harder kick.

It also provides a much cooler hit, which makes for a more enjoyable smoking experience.

Related article

What Is An Ice Bong?

So, Does Holding Your Marijuana Hit Get You Higher?

Holding Marijuana Hit Get You Higher

Despite the good amount of research saying “no”, many still choose to die on the hill of holding in their marijuana smoke. If you’re one of those people, do whatever makes you happy.

Or, you can try the alternatives we mentioned in this article. Your lungs will thank you for it in the long run, and you might just discover a new way of toking that suits you even better!

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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