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How to inhale weed without going overboard

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Contents

  1. How to inhale weed properly
  2. 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

How Long Does a Cannabis High Last?

A cannabis high can last anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, depending on a range of factors.

  • how much you consume
  • how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it contains
  • your body weight and body fat percentage
  • your metabolism
  • whether or not you’ve eaten
  • your tolerance

Cannabis contains more than 113 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of those cannabinoids, and it’s the ingredient responsible for making you feel high.

Here’s a closer look at the timeline of a delta-9 THC high and tips for cutting things short.

How quickly you feel the effects mostly depends on your method of use:

  • Smoking or vaping. You can begin to feel the effects of cannabis within 2 to 10 minutes. It kicks in quickly because it enters your bloodstream via your lungs within minutes of inhaling it.
  • Eating. Your digestive system metabolizes pot when you eat it, which can take a while. Edibles usually kick in within 30 to 60 minutes, but can sometimes take as long as 2 hours.
  • Dabbing. With this method, a highly concentrated form of marijuana is smoked through a special pipe. Dabs have a higher THC content than other forms of cannabis, so the high kicks in almost instantly.

How long the effects last can vary greatly depending on the dose and potency. The more you use and the higher the THC content, the longer the effects will stick around.

How you consume cannabis also affects when the effects peak and how long they last.

Here’s a breakdown, according to Drugs and Me, a site by the Mental Health Education Foundation:

  • Smoking or vaping. The effects peak around 10 minutes after consumption and typically last 1 to 3 hours, though they can linger for up to 8 hours.
  • Eating. The effects of edibles usually peak around 2 hours after consumption and can last up to 24 hours.
  • Dabbing. Similar to smoking, the effects of dabbing usually last 1 to 3 hours. If using a high THC concentrate, you could feel the effects for an entire day.

Cannabis hits everyone differently, so while your high may only last for a couple of hours, you could potentially feel the comedown or aftereffects for several hours or through the next day. It’s best to go low and slow if you’re new to cannabis.

If you need to cut things short, there are a few things you can try.

Keep in mind that these tips are designed to reduce the effects, not eliminate them altogether. That means you’ll likely still experience lingering effects, including a reduced reaction time, so you’ll still want to avoid driving.

Here are a few pointers based on anecdotal evidence and some research:

  • Take a nap. Sleeping can help you relax if your high has you feeling anxious or paranoid. It also gives your body time to process and eliminate the cannabis. You’ll likely wake up feeling refreshed and more alert after a few winks.
  • Try some black pepper. There’s some evidence that caryophyllene, a compound in peppercorn, increases the sedative effects of THC, which could calm you. Just take a container of black pepper and have a sniff without inhaling it. Chewing on a couple of whole peppercorns also works.
  • Eat some pine nuts. Some research shows that pinene, a compound in pine nuts, has a calming effect and improves clarity. Skip this method if you have a tree nut allergy, though.
  • Try some CBD. Yep, it may sound counterintuitive, but CBD may counteract the effects of THC. Like THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid. The difference is the receptors in your brain that they interact with. THC causes the high you get from cannabis, but CBD has a calming effect that may help dull your high.
  • Have some lemon peel. Lemons, especially the peel, contain compounds that have a calming effect. In theory, ingesting some lemon peel could counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC and help you come down. Try steeping some in hot water for a few minutes, then remove them and take some sips.

If you’re looking for a longer-lasting high, consider sticking with edibles. They take longer to kick in, but the effects will hang around longer, which can be a big help if you’re using cannabis for medical purposes.

You could also re-dose or try a higher THC strain for a longer high, but know that you’ll also have to deal with more intense effects. For a seasoned consumer, this is probably not a big deal, but a newbie may find the effects of a bigger dose to be a bit much.

There are some anecdotal methods for extending your high on the Internet, like eating mango, but there’s no evidence to back any of these.

Some websites recommend drinking alcohol with cannabis to extend your high, but it isn’t the best idea.

Drinking before using cannabis — even just one drink — can heighten the effects of THC. This combo can cause some folks to “green out” and experience some pretty unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • increased impairment

This combo doesn’t work great in the other direction, either. Using cannabis before drinking can minimize the effects of alcohol, meaning you’ll feel less drunk than you are. This makes it easy to get overly intoxicated.

Plus, using cannabis and alcohol together may increase your risk of dependence on one or both substances.

Find out how long it takes for weed’s effects to kick in and how long they last. We’ve also got tips for cutting things short or extending them.