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.
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  • Robert Nielsen

    Now that pot is legal here in Washington, and (due to completion) the price has come down to $25 an eighth $7 a gram?), I no longer need to worry about how long I hold it. I can stop by the store on the way home, pick up 5-7 days of weed, and not have to hold a hit at that price; thereby avoiding the whole controversy. Now I take a full hit then let it out. I would point out that none of my friends that smoke cigarettes hold their hits in. Because tobacco is stronger? The pot we’re smoking out of the stores here typically run 22-25% THC. I finally got used to it, but at first I had a problem with staring at the ceiling and drooling.

    By the Bye, after smoking pot illegally for 40 years, it still feels so weird to walk into store, look at the menu on the wall (usually about 30 stains), and order it over the counter; as much as I like, up to a limit of one ounce a day!


      Wish I could get it like that – easy. Jealous!!

  • Sorryviller

    Ky Is never going to legalize it because the only way the cops can get it is by TAKING it from the farmers. I’ve been wondering forever about this! How many seconds exactly? Some chic told me 16. Lol, been wasting a lot of time! O well… good tines!


    Haha! It depends on how much I have, I think. If have more than enough, I’ll roll a joint and hold it in for less time. If I don’t have that much, I’ll pack a bowl and hold it in my lungs for 10-15 secs.

  • Noodle

    Holding longer means more oxygen deprivation which of cause will spin you out. I’m not sure if that’s a good method especially with all the dying brain cells popping.
    It’s like smoking a bong. You only actually need to smoke half a cone as the initial and subsequent heat from the top half vaporizes the THC crystals before the rest of the cone ignites. Tap a cone out half way or 2/3’s of the way thru. If you’ve ever vaped before you’ll recognise the colour and dryness of the herb. What this means is that for half the cone you get twice as stoned.

    • Stefan

      Completely dependent on the ratio of smoke to oxygen.

      Latest research says 7 seconds for best absorption of CBD and THC. Brain cells begin to die around one minute. So use common sense.

  • S Michael Broderson

    7 seconds is how long it takes for the thc and CBd to reach your brain. So hold for 7 seconds or longer

    • Annoh

      Yes, but it dossnt take more time then it takes to your lungs to be absorbd in your blood stream, so holding it down wil realy only make you more dizzy ;)

  • Ray Golden

    I prefer small puffs and long exhales :)

  • brandon

    As the study show yes it is pointless to hold your breath for more than 5 seconds at the most….95% of thc /cbd. Is absorbed the first 2-3 seconds….i think its the same with dabz too I’ve dabbed and blew it out right away and was high asf and wasn’t choking to

  • Pádráig O’Gáirmléadháigh


  • Cæsar_Had_Epilepsy

    It’s oxygen deprivation.

  • Skyy16

    Ive spent like 15min resetting my password now ive forgotten what i was going to type . but im still going to write shit just cause

    • Skyy17

      Ive spent 15min creating my account so i could respond to you .

  • Ryan Schilling

    I’ve found that taking a half breath during a hit gets you the most bang for your buck. Its done by slightly exhaling through your nose than inhaling through your mouth than repeat till you need to actually breathe in. Common sense says this is how you “seem to hold your breath longer” your basically taking gradually smaller breathes in than out until you how no more air, mathematically it would be represented by 1/2^n+1, n cannot be less than or equal to zero, n must be a whole number. Unlike math you cannot breathe like this forever eventually your fraction gets to decimally close to 0 so I only recommend no more than 2 half breathes. Also there is no tar from marijuana and if you think resin is tar you’re a fool do you think tar would get you high. Its just clumped up thc crystals covered it soot from smoke. That’s why resin is so harsh, it’s cause your reheating oil mixed with whatever smoke residue is on it. Honestly I think it’s an alright idea to scrape your resin but only before thoroughly cleaning it. Don’t just scrape it and call it clean. A clean piece means a smoother, mellower smoke. Its not about the quantity, it’s about the quality.(of smoke)

  • Quotidian, Man

    Yes, holding it in increases THC blood plasma levels as well as heart rate, but there is a ceiling at 10 sec beyond which there is no effect.