holding weed

Busting The Myth Of Whether Holding In Weed Smoke Longer Gets You Higher

There seems to be a common misconception among stoners that holding in weed smoke for longer periods can somehow get you higher. Many believe that the longer you hold in the smoke, the more THC can enter your bloodstream, and therefore the higher you will be. In this article, we will explain how this is another cannabis myth and how long you actually need to be holding smoke in during your smoke sessions.

Why Holding In Smoke Doesn’t Get You Higher

If you’re a regular weed smoker, you may have heard that holding in weed smoke for longer amounts of time gets you higher. In actuality, holding in smoke for more than a few seconds is unnecessary. Human lungs can only hold about 5-6 milliliters of oxygen per minute. This is why when we smoke cannabis, 95% of THC is absorbed within the first few seconds. In the end, it doesn’t matter how long you hold in the smoke. Be it 3 seconds or 15, you’re already absorbing as much THC as you can in one breath.

Then Why Do I Feel Like It Works?

Why does it feel like holding in weed smoke gets you higher the longer you hold it in? The answer is, simply put, that you are getting lightheaded. The body needs to constantly filter oxygen through the lungs, and when you hold in a hit, you’re stopping your body from absorbing oxygen. This causes oxygen to be momentarily cut off from reaching your brain, which causes you to feel lightheaded. Lightheadedness, along with tingling sensations in the face or limbs, is often mistaken for getting extra blazed.

So How Long Should I Hold It In For?

You actually don’t need to hold in smoke for long to get all of the full effects of THC. The common consensus is that within the first 3 seconds of inhaling, about 95% of the cannabinoids have already been absorbed into the bloodstream. So if you’ve ever wondered if holding in weed smoke for longer will get you higher, the answer is no. The majority of the THC has already been absorbed.

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Alternatives To Holding In Smoke

If you want to get extra blazed when smoking, but are a little bummed now that you know how long to hold in weed to get as high as you can, you may be wondering if there are other ways to maximize your high. Here are three methods to try out yourself.

Practice Deep Breathing

One method you could try is to practice deep breathing. Usually, we take short, continuous breaths because our lungs can only hold so much air and oxygen. If you take the time to breathe deeper, your lungs can eventually develop the capacity to hold up to as much as 6 liters of air in one breath. Breathing deeper between hits can enlarge your lung capacity, and therefore the amount of THC you can consume in one breath.

Pack Another Bowl

Another method you can probably achieve in the moment is to just smoke more weed. If your tolerance is higher than others, you’ve probably been looking for shortcuts for weed to make you higher. Be kind to your lungs and stop holding in weed smoke to make you higher; instead, just smoke a little bit extra.

Try Smoking Something Stronger

If you’re short on weed and don’t want to smoke a little bit extra every time just to get extra high, you can try smoking stronger strains. There are plenty of strains that have high THC content for you to try out. You can also try stronger methods of cannabis use such as vaping or dabbing.

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So, Should I Keep Holding In All That Smoke?

So, should you? The answer is quite simply, no. Does holding in weed smoke get you higher? Unfortunately, it does not. However. there are other ways to get higher if you’re looking for a stronger psychoactive experience. Try stronger strains or simply smoking more. Either way, save yourself the trouble and only hold your smoke in for a few seconds – your lungs will thank you for it.

You may have heard that holding in weed smoke for longer amounts of time gets you higher. In this article, we will explain how this is another cannabis myth and how long you actually need to be holding smoke in during your smoke sessions.

Debunking The Myth Of Holding A Hit Of Marijuana

The age-old myth of holding in a hit of weed smoke is said to make you feel higher. But does science back up these claims? Read on to find out what holding a hit does to your body.

Surely you have witnessed this numerous times. Maybe you even do it yourself. Firing up a joint, taking a few hits, and holding it in stronger than the vaults at Fort Knox. You proceed to pass the joint along to your friends while holding the hit in, mimicking Houdini’s underwater escape.

It is the standard no-cost approach to getting higher, right? Hold the smoke in for longer, and the body will have extra time to absorb more THC through the lung’s alveoli. Unfortunately, despite the apparent logical reasoning behind this notion, this theory does not hold up.

Air contains approximately 20% oxygen. Our lungs on average can hold 6 litres of air in one breath. When we exhale, the air that escapes our body holds approximately 15% oxygen. We are not all that efficient at absorbing oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide, and that is why we breathe rhythmically and do not hold 6 litres of air for several minutes to absorb as much oxygen as we can in one go.

The same principle applies to smoking weed.


Regrettably, that is not what is going on. The lungs can transfer gas in very small quantities at the nanosecond level. It occurs almost instantly. According to some sources, 95% of all possible THC is absorbed near instantly upon inhale.

If you hold in your toke, you may feel it hits you stronger, but what is really going on is you are depriving oxygen content to your brain, making you feel a little lightheaded. If you add carbon monoxide and toxins from combustion to the mix, this lightheadedness is intensified.


You can quickly test this for yourself. If you smoke tobacco, consider taking a joint-like hit and holding it in as long as you can. You will feel the same tingling or slight dizziness happen, even though there is no weed in the mix.

If you don’t smoke cigarettes, sit on a chair, legs parallel. Grab your legs and put your head between your knees, looking down. Take a few good deep breaths, then exhale as much as you can and hold it for as long as you can. Right before releasing, pull yourself back into normal sitting position as you let yourself breathe. If you do this intensely enough, not only will you feel dizzy, you may even faint! So make sure to do this under the watch of a friend and take it easy.

There is a game where kids induce fainting from oxygen deprivation. Same principal as the chair exercise, they stand back against a wall, exhale, then another kid puts their hand on the victim’s chest, applying slight pressure. In as little as 30 seconds, kids would go lights out, just like when you get a whitey from smoking cannabis.


The more you hold your breath, the more elevated the heart rate gets. Blood is pumped faster to compensate for the low oxygen levels. This has a compounding effect as you hold your breath, since there is no oxygen available. The body starts reacting to this new emergency warning sign. Adrenaline starts getting released to prepare for a flight-or-fight response, which only increases the overall “high” sensation.

Another symptom of oxygen deprivation is the tingling sensation of your skin and face – often also falsely associated with getting extra-blazed.


If you want to get extra high, the answer is pretty straightforward. Smoke more weed. Or smoke stronger strains, or even consider concentrates. If you really want to achieve new levels of psychotropic euphoria, try edibles. But be aware; they will hit you in different ways, and are often quite strong.

Consider vaping and dabbing concentrates. These are the least harmful methods of inhaling THC and other cannabinoids. As there is no combustion happening, you will not breathe in carbon monoxide, tar, and other toxins. With a vape, you will be able to smoke a much larger quantity of weed without the harmful oxygen depriving interception caused by carbon monoxide.

Being that concentrates have very high levels of THC, the same volume of inhaled toke will also contain a much higher concentration of THC, resulting in a bigger and stronger hit.

The old saying “less is more” applies perfectly here. The less you hold the smoke in, the more chances you have to take another toke.

The formula is quite simple. The more hits you take, the higher you will get.

Will holding a hit increase how high you get? We look into what exactly is happening when you hold in cannabis smoke.