Is It Better To Take Big Or Small Hits When Smoking Weed?
There are still plenty of cannabis smokers who believe that gigantic hits from a bong or blunt are a one-way ticket to getting higher than high. But is it true that more smoke means more THC? Let’s take a look at what separates the huge hits from the small.
It’s likely that you’ve heard the old myth about how you’re supposed to smoke weed the “right” way. How exactly is that done? Well, some say that you must take extra-large hits and hold them in the lungs for as long as possible to achieve maximum effects. If you’re in this camp, we hate to break it to you, but this is not doing what you think it is. Here’s why you don’t need to take huge hits to enjoy your weed.
WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO TAKE BIG HITS
To get a better perspective on things, let’s take a look at how our lungs function. When we breathe, we are actually not very efficient at absorbing oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Although our lungs can hold about 6 litres of air with one large breath, we’re expelling a good portion of that oxygen when we exhale. If our lungs absorbed oxygen super-efficiently, we could potentially take in these 6 litres in one go and wouldn’t need another breath for a while. Instead, we breathe more often and with shorter breaths.
The fact is, your lungs can only absorb 5–6ml of oxygen per minute, and the same principle is true when you smoke weed. Or said differently, it’s not possible for you to force more THC into your system when you’re holding smoke in your lungs.
“TAKING BIG HITS MAKES ME HIGHER!”
You may indeed “feel higher” when taking larger hits and holding them in, but this is because you’re depriving your brain of oxygen. The lightheadedness or dizziness that you feel will be compounded further by carbon monoxide in the smoke. Simply by inhaling a larger hit of smoke, it may trick you into feeling as though the quantity of THC being received is also higher. Point blank, this is not the case.
OUR BODY ABSORBS THC INSTANTLY
Our lungs transfer oxygen from the air (or THC from smoke) almost instantly. As soon as you have taken a hit, almost all the THC from your weed (95%) has already entered your body. This means there is no point in holding your smoke for an extended period, or at all for that matter.
HOLDING IN YOUR SMOKE IS UNHEALTHY
The active compounds in cannabis (THC, CBD, terpenes, flavonoids) only comprise a small portion of what is contained in weed smoke. The rest of its contents is made up different substances, many of which are harmful. The longer you hold the smoke in, the more toxic byproducts settle in your body. If you think this sounds unhealthy, you’re spot on.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET AS HIGH AS POSSIBLE?
Simple answer here: smoke more. Or, if you think that your current weed might not cut it for your desired effect, consider stronger strains. You can also consider dabbing concentrates or taking edibles, both of which result in much more potent experiences.
Now that you realise taking smaller hits is healthier, it might make sense to try vaping. Vaporizers don’t combust the pant material or concentrates, but simply heat them to the desired range for cannabinoids to become active. This results in a healthier consumption experience that some people believe is more intense. The smooth draws should also make your lungs feel better after becoming acquainted with your vape.
OTHER BENEFITS OF SMALLER DOSES OF CANNABIS
Not everyone who smokes weed does so because they want to get as high as possible. Different folks have different reasons, and that’s okay. Microdosing has recently become quite popular among medicinal users, and it’s even gaining traction amongst recreational consumers.
WHAT IS MICRODOSING?
Microdosing involves taking a small, “sub-perceptual” dose of a substance (in this case THC), so you can experience its benefits without feeling high. A normal THC microdose is around 2–3mg. So, rather than smoking your entire joint or bowl, you’d just take a small puff or two. Some users microdose this way throughout the day to enjoy cannabis without the negative side effects that come with high doses of THC.
KEEP IT EASY AND HEALTHY
Fortunately, smoking cannabis isn’t some type of competition where you need to strain your body to get the most out of it. However you choose to do it, keep it easy with small puffs. If you smoke a lot, look into switching to a vaporizer instead. A decent vape can last a while and reduce harm to your lungs. It’s a win-win!
We dispel the old myth that you need to take huge hits to get higher. Learn why smaller hits hits of cannabis are smarter.
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:
- 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.