Taking massive hits is a smoker test of strength thoroughly ingrained in cannabis culture. The surest way to weed out the newbs is to see who holds it like a champ, and who coughs their lungs out. Sure, it isn’t the most efficient way to get the most out of your stash, but like any activity, there are certain things we do just because we can. If you want to have iron lungs at your next smoke sesh and impress your friends, here are 9 secrets that will help you achieve legendary bong rip status.
1. Breathing control
Like a deep water diver, you want control over your lungs. Before taking a big hit, take several deep breaths, using your diaphragm. This will open your lungs and put extra oxygen into your system, allowing you to endure the time it takes to take and hold the hit better. Start with slow, deep breaths, then a few rapid breaths just before the hit.
Another factor in breathing control is alcohol. Your body uses your lungs to expel alcohol from your blood stream. Alcohol in your body only adds to the need to exhale, so don’t make the hold that much harder. You have weed, so who needs it anyway?
2. Cushion the ends of the hit
Any smoke that doesn’t go into your lungs isn’t going to be absorbed, and can irritate the lining of your throat. A simple trick is to cushion your hit with a small breath of fresh air at the end. This forces the smoke all the way down and lets your throat enjoy clean air for the holding period.
3. Stay fresh
The dry tickle in the throat that turns into an unstoppable cough is exactly that: dryness. You can avoid this by having a mint or gum in your mouth. The mint will increase salivation, helping your throat stay moist. It also makes the hit that much smoother. Just don’t choke on it.
4. Temperature variance
The harshest hits are the hottest, so cool you smoke by using a bong rather than a small pipe. Taken a step further, an ice hit is even smoother. Some people even swear by warmer liquids in the percolation chamber which makes the hit less irritating, though also less tasty.
5. Bowl size
The size of the bowl can make a huge difference in the composition of your hit. For bigger hits, use a smaller bowl. This might seem counterintuitive, but a smaller bowl allows less airflow around the herb, giving a better burn and more concentrated smoke.
6. The release
Once you begin to approach the limit, you want to ease off the carb, not open it up all at once. If using a slide, gradually pull it out. If the hit goes from full smoke to clean air in a short space, the lungs don’t have time to adjust, and will try harder to reject the smoke.
7. Let it go right
After holding the hit, you want to release it smoothly and completely. The biggest reasons for a cough are from residual smoke in the lung after the exhale, and trying to speak as smoke travels through your vocal chords. Exhale forcefully, and completely.
You can also try letting half out, taking a small inhale, and then let the rest out. This works like a rinse cycle, making clean air push out the smoke.
8. The follow-up
Your body wants two things after expelling a hit like that. One is to get fresh air, the other is to wet your whistle. Try doing both at once, and your cough will come from saliva or a drink going down the wrong pipe.
After the exhale, take in a couple breaths and have some air in your lungs before trying to drink or swallow. Get that fresh air first, and definitely don’t drink alcohol as a chaser.
9. Vapor is better
Smoke, even highly filtered smoke, holds lots of other chemicals produced by combustion besides THC. A huge hit from a vaporizer will always be easier to take than one the same size of smoke.
If you follow these 9 tips, you can be the Iron Lung champion of your smoke circle and people will swear you have had years of training, but the secret is technique, not tolerance. Just remember, it only takes a second for the THC to be absorbed from the smoke, so holding a hit doesn’t help you absorb more, but bigger hits will if you don’t waste it.
Can you out hit your friends? Share your tales of victory on social media or in the comments below.
His other positions include Co-founder and product design for Cool Vapes and Creative Director for Ergrow Systems.
He is also Founder / President / Creative Director for The Official Cannabis Book of World Records.
Unity through Compassion!