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Photo by Mouthwash Studios / Death to the Stock

Learn | 12.02.2021

Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Cough When You Take A Hit (And How To Avoid It)

Coughing is one of the biggest downsides of smoking. Here's why it happens and how to avoid it.

Nearly every cannabis smoker has experienced it. You take a hit, you feel a tickle in your throat, and the coughing fits begin.

But, why exactly does this happen?

Turns out, there are a few culprits behind the dreaded marijuana cough.

Here are four reasons why you cough when you take a hit and a way to avoid it.

Want To Avoid Coughing? Use A Trident

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Photo courtesy of Hitoki

If you feel like smoke is too harsh on your lungs during your session, there are many alternatives to try with devices like bubblers, bongs, or vaporizers. 

These help by giving you a lighter, less dense smoke that is far more enjoyable. You could even try a nail or some accessories to try wax with smoother dabs, but they sometimes need special equipment to heat them, like a butane lighter.

There are many options to have a better experience, but consider a device like the Hitoki Laser Bong that mixes the vaporizer and bong without risking flavor or having to buy way too many different things. 

It uses a laser to heat the flower to the best temperature almost instantaneously, and it comes with an integrated superior quality acrylic glass.

This device is excellent for regulating the type of smoke you want while keeping the flavor profiles of your favorite flower.

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Photo by Mouthwash Studios / Death to the Stock

Though cannabis has not been linked to lung cancer, marijuana smoke still contains many carcinogens and irritants as tobacco.

Smoke in general causes tar buildup in your lungs, which can lead to increased mucus levels and cough-inducing inflammation.

When you breathe in tiny particles of ash, that ash then dusts your throat and hits the tissue in your lungs.

To get rid of the tar, the body starts producing mucus to clean itself off, which stimulates coughing, which is your body’s natural attempt to clear out mucus and other irritants.

Switching to a vaporizer or using a bubbler or bong limits coughing caused by tar and ashen plant particles.


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Photo by Mouthwash Studios / Death to the Stock

No matter what method you use, excessive heat can also trigger coughing. When you take fire to a bowl or heat a high-temperature dab, you heat your material to around 1,000 degrees (537.8 C).

While the water in a dab rig, bong, or bubbler cools the vapor down, you’re ultimately still inhaling something super hot into your lungs.

This heat can be very irritating to the sensitive tissues in your throat and lungs. This irritation, again, can trigger coughing.

Adding ice cubes or chips to a bong or rig can drastically reduce vapor temperature and make your hit much more comfortable.

Sticking to low-temp dabs or setting your vaporizer to a lower temperature can also reduce coughing fits.

Hit Size

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Photo by Georgia Love for Herb

If you’re a giant dude, you’re probably physically able to take big hits. But, if you’re not, then you might want to take hits that fit your body size.

Everyone has a different lung capacity. If you fill yourself with more smoke than you’re able to handle, you’ll find yourself coughing for quite a while.

You’re most at risk for taking a hit that’s too large with a bong or a dab rig.

While both methods give you more control over heat and limit the amount of ash you inhale, it’s also easy to get a little overzealous with the amount you smoke.

Using a carb cap when you dab can help you break up a long hit into smaller, more manageable ones.

Sticking to smaller, personal hits with a bong can also prevent you from accidentally inhaling a fully-loaded bowl.

Irritant Products

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Photo by Mouthwash Studios / Death to the Stock

Finally, if you’re smoking some poor-quality flower, you can bet that you’ll start coughing.

Mildew, residual pesticides, dust, and other random particles that managed to hitch a ride on your bud can make your smoking experience downright awful.

Marijuana is sticky because of the resin it produces. When you smoke it, you’re smoking small pieces of the growing environment along with it.

Weed that feels especially harsh when you smoke is a sign that something is a little off.

To avoid this problem, try your best to make sure you know where your product is coming from. Mildews and residual pesticides can cause allergic reactions, igniting an uncomfortable cough.

Unfortunately, in these cases, bunk products can also have other harmful health effects.

Everyone has their preferred methods for consuming marijuana. If you’re looking to avoid a cough, edibles and low-temp vaporization are the easiest on your throat and lungs.

But, regardless of how you partake, finding high-quality products will help you avoid minutes of misery while enjoying your favorite herb.

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