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:
Though cannabis has not been linked to lung cancer, marijuana smoke still contains many of the same carcinogens and irritants as tobacco. Smoke in general causes tar buildup in your lungs, and this can lead to increased levels of mucus and cough-inducing inflammation.
When you breathe in small 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. This stimulates coughing, which is your body’s natural attempt clear out mucus and other irritants.
Switching to a vaporizer, or smoking out of a bubbler or a bong limits coughing caused by tar and ashen plant particles.
No matter what method you use, excessive heat can also trigger coughing. When you take fire to a bowl or heat up a high-temperature dab, you are heating your material up to around 1000 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.
3. Hit size
If you’re a giant dude, you’re probably physically able to take giant hits. But, if you’re not than 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 of these 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.
4. Product irritants
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 it 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 product 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 product will help you avoid minutes of misery while enjoying your favorite herb.
How do you avoid coughing fits while smoking? Any preferred method? Share your thoughts with us on social media or in the comments below.