Aug 182013
 August 18, 2013

hold in marijuana hit gets you higherI think we all have that friend that tries to hold in his/her hit of marijuana as long as they possibly can in an attempt to get higher. They swear that if you hold in your hit of marijuana longer, it will make you higher. I have always gone back and forth in regards to which side of the equation I fell into – whether or not I believed holding in my hit of marijuana longer would get me higher. I have many memories of smoking marijuana, hanging out with friends growing up, and watching my friends try to hold in their hit as long as they could. I even witnessed a couple of friends pass out because they held in their hit so long. Luckily, none of them were ever hurt.

We always debated whether or not holding in a hit of marijuana longer would make you higher growing up, and we didn’t have the internet to research things. Everyone’s arguments were usually based upon ‘a guy they heard it from’ which is not exactly a good source. These days we have the internet to shed more light on the subject. I found some

According to Steve Liebke’s 2001 ‘A Cannabis User’s Harm Reduction Handbook,’ “Take small, shallow tokes or pulls. About 95% of THC in cannabis smoke is absorbed in the first few seconds so breath holding is quite pointless. All it really achieves is a far greater amount of tar being deposited in the lungs.”

The excerpt from Steve Liebke’s book didn’t have citation itself, so take that information for what you will. It seems much more reliable of a source than ‘some guy I heard it from’ though. What do readers think? Do you hold in your hit of marijuana longer because you think it makes you higher? Or do you think that it doesn’t matter? I invite others to post links in the comments to other research if they have something good to share! I would like to see a study done about the difference between smoking dabs versus smoking flower, and how holding it in is different (if at all). Because I know when I hold in dab hits, that shiz has some bite!

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
Dissenting opinions are welcome, insults and personal attacks are discouraged and hate speech will not be tolerated. Spammers and people trying to buy or sell cannabis or any drugs will be banned.
  • Larry-Patrick Ripley-Conkright

    To answer the questions below: Hemp in ALL forms including seeds is schedule 1 and subject to Federal Prosecution EVEN in states that have legalized pot. Which for the record is fucking retarded, but please do not mail order even paraphernalia can be classed as illegal…….just watch your back is all!

    • DdC222

      Hemp “products” are legal to sell, just not to grow in the states, as well as sterilized seed and seed oil can be imported and is sold in most better markets. Clothing and Hempcrete, wood and plastic are being used. State Ganja laws keep state cops off of your back but not Feds. Although Feds don’t usually budget for anything less than 100 plants. Plus Obama isn’t enforcing the CSA in states with initiatives. Even if the CSA is totally political. Considering prohibidiots have stolen over a Trillion dollars on the Ganjawar scam. Even if Science has proven what the drug worriers hide from. Even with real life patients finding relief for their seizures and side effects. Some still lie to perpetuate the profits. These are the lowest of lifeforms. Bottom dwelling murderers. Watching kids reduce seizures from 300 to 2 or 3 and they continue to make false claims and predict future hobgoblins that haven’t panned out since their grand pa’s hobgoblins. Obama can remove cannabis as the bogus schedule#1 narcotic Nixon placed it arbitrarily. Without Congress or the profiteers causing the suffering.

  • Freddie

    bull puckie

  • Deano Divers

    If blowing your smoke to another or your dog gets them high, does it not stand to reason their is still THC in what you are exhaling. Although it is almost certainly most likely true that most is absorbed quickly I find the harder it is for me to find marijuana the longer I hold it in.



  • kingfish

    I’m from Ms and I need another way than smokn’

  • XD

    All I know is that I’m stoned asf right now from holding my hits XD

  • Your Name

    I always get higher when I hold my hits.

  • tooken

    You get a better head rush

  • CKV

    It just cuts ur oxygen off holding ur breath. That is y u feel higher lol dumbasses lol lol

  • GlassFish

    I believe you cant toke cannabis like a cig, you have to atleast hold marijuana smoke in for at least 3-5 seconds to get the right amount of buzz, from personal experience, just hitting marijuana and blowing it out like a cigarette doesn’t get you as high as holding it in for a couple seconds, you don’t have to ghost it or anything just saying a few seconds does wonders.

    • Charles

      If you’re just breathing in your cigarette and blowing it out , there’s bo point in smoking, you’re wasting your cigarette . Smoking tobacco uses the same absorption method as marijuana , 3-5 seconds is probably ideal for both

  • Jerry Pritikin The Bleacher

    Somehow, this reminds me of the old It’s bad luck to light 3 cigarets on a single match. After years, it was discovered that match company could sell more match books that way. So when i read this story… I’m not buying it. By taking more puffs quicker… they sell more pot. I’m not complaining!(c) jerry Pritikin

    • MaslowK

      Yeah I agree, I’d love to see more citations for the “95% absorption” figure he had there, it’s really the crux of the entire argument.

      At the very least, even if that does turn out to be true, it could just be some bonus placebo on top of the high for some people. That and oxygen deprivation can leave you light-headed. In any case, I’m willing to bet that if there is a difference in effects, it’s likely negligible and likely more harmful. It’s like car exhaust; things would get get gummed up a hell of a lot faster if it couldn’t release some amount of that exhaust.

    • MacDaill

      In WWI, lighting 3 cigarette on one match at night was considered bad luck. The longer the match is lit, the longer you are a target.
      That’s why it became “bad luck.” :)

      • Jerry Pritikin The Bleacher

        Very wrong… it was the match companies that started the rumor about 3 on a match… they wanted people to use more matches= more profit for the company.

  • Karli Nagy

    okay, this guy is not correct at all, a new study done in 2014 is that the smoke has NO harm on the lungs or body what so ever. but I think holding a hit in only causes lack of oxygen to the brain witch could make it apear as if your getting higher, but really your just light headed

    • James Campbell

      Saying that inhaling any combustable herb doesn’t damage your lungs is proposterous. Where are your sources for this “New study done in 2014”? Im pro weed but I’m not ignorant to the fact that it still is relatively harmful to your lungs as would any form of inhaling smoke.

      • MaslowK

        Thank you for saving me from having to give my “are you fucking kidding me” rant :P

      • ein

        aren’t all herbs combustible? I’m gonna b like every trolling asshole and call u stupid bc thats all u trolls r good 4

        • Cody Hoskins

          Inhaling the pollution we all wallow in is harmful to your lungs as well. Might as well wallow high.

      • pokie1067

        true,pot smoke or any type smoke is harmful to ya lungs…..but good 4 ya head…lol

    • HaydukeLives

      You’ll fucking get lung cancer from inhaling smoke from anything you fucking burn. Fucking idiot.

      • Sharon

        And you heard this where? Let me guess you read it, right?! your the frigging idiot!!! Cannabis does not cause cancer it destroys cancer!! Give actual facts not made up lies!

      • Smokeman8

        Not sure where u got your info or get it but, sorry dude, been using cannabis for over 43 yrs and so has , wife, a lot of friends, and not one ever , ever has had any lung problems, in fact had a ct scan of lungs not to long ago, dr said I had lungs of a 15 yr old, and never any tests or people from any where in the world has ever had cancer or lung desease, so guess u need to learn some more before u go blasting people about any thing burning or smoke giving any thing to your lungs, just look at all the studys , from real people that have used for many yrs, not some idiot like u that has never and thinks he knows all, u don’t know shit, so just shut to fuck up, when u have smoked as much as the rest of us regular old school burners then u can open your trap and give advise, but for know just keep it to your self, you have no ide and it shows in your stuid fucking idiotic response, CANNIbis doesn’t give u cancer, it cures , or helps relieve, fucking dum ass people.. just shut up,

    • Sean Collard

      He’s right, actually. I trust scientists way more than random people on the ‘net.

  • Cptnkush42zero

    Great entertainment lol, I’ll just sit and rip my bong while ya’ll argue over pointless shit. N fuck em if it’s a pig karma will get there worthless ignorant fat donut eatin’ asses.

  • Sarah Anne

    I do but mostly to feel the rush faster but that is for me. To each their own.

  • Satans_ballsack

    I want to be a cop 😂😂 lol jk

  • MendOvale Kidd

    I am from the school of thought that a light pull, deeply inhaled with plenty of air and immediately exhaled through the nose is best…. coughing is not a good thing.

  • bazzzzza

    my hypothesis is that the longer the duration the more is absorbed. surely that way more thc can diffuse into the blood stream though the alveoli. just like how taking deep LONG breaths is the best way to respire and get MORE oxygen into the blood stream. the question is would the same happen with another gaseous chemical as it does air?


    Hold for 3-5 seconds…
    Yes the longer you hold it the more you absorb…
    Ever blown it into someone elses face and they get high too?

    Thats because theirs THC still in the smoke you inhaled…
    Hold it for 3-5 seconds because that is the grace period before you start limiting oxygen to the brain…
    Which will also make you feel high but your not actually getting high… You are just depriving your brain of oxygen…
    Also after each hit take a nice deep breathe to refresh your system with oxygen….

    Don’t breathe from your chest…breathe from your stomach…extent your stomach while you breathe to get your DIAPHRAGM active which will help you absorb more oxygen and THC… Most people breathe wrong and only utilize the top section of their lungs…
    Better for the tar and shit too…rather it evenly redistribute over my lung so it can recover than just the very top half.

    You are welcome.

    • fukinhellnicecomment

      dude, bro, that was solid fuckin advice. sat there and read the whole thing. stoned out of my mind. 10/10 fucking advice

      • Rob

        Bro me too so high I read that shit

      • Grecosc

        My exact thoughts haha

      • Grecosc

        My exact thoughts haha

    • Rumo

      To answer the original question. Based on my personal preference, research, and experience, I find that holding it in longer makes me higher.

      My version of explaining this is that THC is in the smoke. The longer I hold in, the more I can absorb.

      HOWEVER ……

      Lets see if we can contribute to this idea. Because I
      believe a lot of 420 people really stumble across this issue…

      – I googled for world record breath holder. And found this
      guy who after 10 years training got to hold his breath for 22 mins.

      – I googled for how long is it safe to hold your breath.

      And found red-cross website. (.ca website. so numbers may vary depending on your
      country. (lol.. troll..)) 1-2 mins is safe.

      – I then googled for “how long can you go without air before brain damage”
      ==> long behold, google displayed the answer for me: ” 4-6″ minutes.

      So we can conclude that:

      – with training we can build this ability.

      – It is said to be safe for 1-2 mins.

      – And anything over 4 mins (lol…if you can) is considered dangerous.

      Personally I hold mine in for as long as i can. And usually I can hold it for much longer than needed. By the time I have expelled, there’s no
      visual trace of smoke, nor can I smell any. Granted my sense of smell may be
      compromised. I’m not claiming this to be the best method. But I find it efficient. My estimate is 15-30 seconds (depends on the hit). After 30 seconds i find no trace of smoke.

      I read a thread somewhere much like this site. It was relevant
      to efficiency on how much is too much to pack in a bowl. Basically the outcome
      was that several small bowls would be more efficient than one big bowl. ( This is actually a contributing factor to getting more high.)

      1. The lack of oxygen in a huge toke.

      2.Often requires more than one toke to finish the bowl.

      3. That left over smothered patch of green burning away while your holding your breath. “such a waste… “-_- ”

      3.1 That left over patch probably wont react the same since HTC is activated by flame, plus the contributed heat provided by the initial toke should create a
      hot enough field to activate (melt) the THC. Pretty much rendering it almost useless. This may very depending on the kind of bowl you might have. (This may be why that second hit isnt the same as the first)

      4. I also read that the body can only take in so much THC at a time. While the smoke may be in your lungs, some of it is attaching itself to the lining, causing tar. Because your lungs can only take in so much at a time. Like-wise when you breathe you don’t exhale pure CO2. you exhale a mixture of CO2 and whatever O2 your lungs did not process. You can test this breathing into a plastic bag. The remaining air can still be cycled a few times before you feel that the air your breathing is almost like holding your breath. That’s because of the lack of oxygen ====WARNING, I DO NOT RECOMMEND ATTEMPTING THIS ===

      *** RECOMMENDATION ***
      I would recommend 1-3 small controlled portions. It balances out the THC smoke + oxygen. It reduces the waste of unessesary burnt weed. (do us all a favor). It would limit the amount of time needed to hold your breath.

      Furthermore, I would like the 420 community to be aware about how much smoke is being consumed. And about how much tar is being built up.
      I would encourage anyone to hold a white napkin covering your mouth as you blow out the smoke into it. Then see the napkin, and realize that’s what’s
      going into you. I currently haven’t been able to find consistent supporting facts on this topic. So i really don’t know what to advise other than to use your own discretion.

      And to take it a notch further… If you are a patient for legal medical cannabis. Depending on your supplier (like mine) you can get specific stats on the THC levels on your cush!. As far as I’m aware I believe 7% is average? but through proper strands, and growth process this can be significantly increased. I’ve been able to get my hands on up to 23% THC. The highest I’ve ever read about was 33%. I also find a combination of THC and CBD can be a nice buzz. Though THC is known as the couch lock. CBD is known to be more awakening, and actually doesnt give you the head high. more of a body buzz. But both mixed together actually go hand in hand. Im not certain but it would seem to almost amplify the “high” part. Even though CBD is not supposed to get you that “high”.

      My very expensive two cents… lol

      • Ross Thomas

        Had a bowl and read this. Good read, thanks bud! Although I thought THC and CBD were the opposite type of high? THC uplifting etc.

      • Jai G Nexus

        I find now in later years that a 1 hitter suits me just fine. I toke and hold it in a bit then I inhale again so fresh oxygen can carry what’s left into my blood stream. This counters the effect of oxygen deprivation and a sures me that I haven’t wasted anything. When I was growing up I always had to deter people from camping on the pipe or not putting it out in between hits if they weren’t gonna pass it right away. I despise bud abuse. I can get 3 good hits from my 1 hitter if packed and toked properly. Then there is also the resin hits in between. Ok man happy tokking

  • Sean Collard

    I hold for a few seconds, but not because I think it gets me higher. It’s just how I learned to smoke.

  • Sharon

    if smoking cannabis caused lung cancer every baby boomer would be dead!!! Including me!!! I am 58 and a 41 year daily smoker I and I am in perfect health I smoke it daily and I ingest it daily! Always have always will smoking cannabis will not cause lung cancer in fact if you smoke cigs you had better be smoking cannabis or you could get lung cancer!!!!! And as for holding my hit it all depends on how much I pulled up.. And my tip best vape ever is the Vhit Boom we call it the master

    • euphorazine

      Smoking weed does not reduce your risk of lung cancer from cigarettes. Inhaling marijuana smoke is harmful to your lungs. The smoke produced by burning anything contains carbon monoxide and dioxide and other tiny hot particles of whatever you burned


        as a marijuana smoker I can attest to that. you can feel your throat being burned slightly with each hit, and after a couple of days of hardcore smoking i always develop a cough. while they’re may only be a few carcinogens in marijuana smoke burning and inhaling anything obviously is hard on the lungs, that’s why beginners cough.

        • Jai G Nexus

          If Ur coughing that will also irritate Ur tubes man. Try drinking liquids that coat Ur throat like tea and such. That shit will go away Pronto!

  • Robert Allan Clayton

    Try the Pax!

  • Zman

    I want you to picture this. You take a hit, and hold your breath for 22 minutes, capably. Your one hit can only contain so much THC before you would have to take another hit. After a certain amount of time you’re body will have absorbed everything it could. If we can all agree on that, the debate becomes How long is long enough?

  • Zman

    I want you to picture this. You take a hit and hold your breath for 22 minutes, capably. Your one hit can only contain so much THC before you would have to take another hit. After a certain amount of time your body will have absorbed everything it could. If we can all agree on that, the debate becomes – How long is long enough?

    • Shaggy

      Dude I’m too high for this

      • Ganja Panda

        um, its not high how you are its the way you use that high, hello.

    • Heitor Amaral

      Yeah…we really should try to find out how fast the lungs can absorb THC. Google Academic here i come. XD

    • Jai G Nexus

      22 minutes? Nobody can hold their breath for that long Z.


    I don’t think holding it in makes much of a difference for weed, however that is not the case for other substances, such as DMT and salvia. a DMT hit held for 10 seconds might give a little euphoria and small visuals whereas held for 15 seconds often it knocks you on your ass (if it was a proper hit). having experienced the dramatic difference it makes i could imagine that holding the hit might make a difference for weed too. a proper study should be done on this (or rather the mechanics of smoked marijuana in the first place). most studies are on pure THC or vaporized cannabis. the health risk to the lungs is still extremely obscure

  • Brian

    Hey guys, QUICK QUESTION. I recently started smoking green again and when I smoke now I get minor chest pains and this tight feeling in my throat. It sucks, I’m a healthy, active, 24 year old so I’m in good health overall. I smoke out of a small glass pipe. I haven’t smoke in years, it never used to do this to me. Why does it now? Could it be anxiety related like a panic attack or is it just bc I haven’t smoked in a long time? Idk, if anyone has ANY feedback please let me know.

    • Austin

      Smoking can leave you at a higher risk of developing certain lung infections, this can lead to airway damage that could decrease your ability to diffuse air into your blood. You might have just got unlucky really.. if it doesn’t clear up on its own a quick visit to the doctors and some antibiotics should sort you out, but token it easy for a bit would probably help too. Once the infection clears should be smooth sailing. I could of course be wrong, but it’s not unheard of.. Goodluck !

    • Caiya Foster

      You just need to get used to it again.

    • zzzz

      could just be some anxiety from being new to smoking again

    • Clara Neisess

      Consider making the switch to a little bong. The water filtration is a nice step up in terms of flavor, and harshness on your throat.
      The feeling you’re getting is likely just the irritation that occurs from hot smoke entering your airway, ya know? It also sounds like perhaps you have a touch of anxiety about things as it is, so this feeling you have quickly causes you a bit of concern which would make the unpleasant irritation feel even worse.

      I suggest getting a water bong, putting cold water in it, taking a sip of some water, then hitting your bong. After you hit it and exhale, take another sip of water, relax and just see how you feel.

      ALSO! Keep in mind you shouldn’t be holding in your hits for a very long time. Most of the THC is absorbed within like 3 seconds of inhaling, and holding the smoke in longer than 7 seconds just allows more tar to settle in your lungs and throat, causing more irritation and or damage.

      • chan

        this is so spot on I’ve had the exact feeling you’re describing and I since I was stoned
        I sat and thought about what it could be and figured it was the irritation from the harshness that got worse as I thought about it and worried about it, either way it’ll eventually go away try not to think about it and enjoy the high that’s my advice and everything Clara said^^

      • Woodrew

        Is this similar for every substance that you smoke?

        • Clara Neisess

          I only smoke Marijuana. Salvia occasionally and it must be smoked differently.

        • CannaClarawrr

          I only smoke weed. I don’t drink or smoke tobacco or anything else. Though I do smoke Salvia from time to time and you have to do that completely differently.

    • Maheer De Ruyter

      I think it’s a panic attack from getting super baked. Try staying calm and breathe..

    • Tony Johnson

      I had the same issue when I stopped and resumed smoking after a long period of time. It goes away within a week or two, n if not I’d recommend no longer smoking. #SmokeOn

  • Jai G Nexus

    I personally feel like holding it in a little while is sufficient enough to improve my high. The key is to leave some room for a new breath while at the same time holding my hit in. Then the hit gets shoved deeper and I can exhale knowing I haven’t wasted a thing plus not experienceing the light head of oxygen deprivation. I believe any other way is just not efficient.

  • Maheer De Ruyter

    I think it’s just a concept of mind over matter…!!

  • J-P

    If you think about what you’re inhaling, it’s smoke with THC particles floating throughout. As you inhale it, the moisture in your throat and lungs latch on to the smoke and particles and they begin to absorb into the lining of your throat and lungs and they process it. As it processes what’s on it, it then becomes available to process more. The fact that you exhale anything at all is evidence that it doesn’t all absorb. The fact also that you can get another person (or dog) high by exhaling into their mouth is evidence that there was plenty of THC not absorbed. If you hold the hit in long enough, you can theoretically absorb all the THC (and smoke), giving your body sufficient time to absorb and then eat more. This is evident in the fact that the longer you hold it in, the thinner or lighter your exhale is.

    You can easily get pretty baked on a single hit if done properly.

  • zxcymn

    Why do you think Steve Liebke’s book is a more reliable source than some
    other guy? As far as I can tell, he’s just some other guy himself.
    Nothing really comes up about him online except for his book, which
    contains no sources.

  • Taylor Murphy

    You’re supposed to keep inhaling… Inhaling keeps the smoke in motion (which I imagine would help the amount of T.H.C. intake), plus you need the oxygen so you don’t pass out (like your friends) or lose your brain-cells due the lack of oxygen (Hence the old myth “Smoking weed kills brain-cells”… it’s actually due to holding your breath).

    • Alex Scheuerman

      Holy shit u just blew my mind…i should have but never put those 2 facts together…maybe thats why them hippies seem brain dead, years of holding in hits