Do you have iron lungs or do you have a chronic cough? Perhaps you clear your throat before you take a rip or shortly thereafter. Sometimes that bong rip hits a little harder than usual, sending you into a coughing fit, which makes you think – do you get higher when you cough?
The answer, although it would be cool, it actually does not!
Lungs are amazing organs that keep us alive by pulling air into our body, extracting oxygen, and sending it to cells. The lungs also extract cannabinoids and THC and send them through your body to give you bodily pain relief or uplift your spirits.
At some point during your hits, you will need to exhale and breathe a new breath. The same goes with the hit that it will contain a certain amount of THC which will affect you and your lungs can only pull out a certain amount. Once your lungs hit their absorption limit it's time to take a new hit. It's less important if coughing will get you high as it is if you have more buds to load.
For some people, the cough before a bong rip is essential to help them take a big full breath of some delicious smoke or vapor of their favorite strain. For others, the cough is a completion of that same smokey pull to push out all of the smoke from their lungs.
There are some people who can suppress their coughs or who have trained themselves to take short shallow breaths instead of coughing. Others can simply hold their breath until their urge to cough goes away.
[Weed] smoke has some toxins and the body has natural defenses to get it out, such as coughing. But coughing could also be a mechanism to help get you more oxygen. Coughing might help you contract your lungs and prepare for a big inhalation.
As the body works shamelessly and effectively to keep you alive, the act of breathing when interrupted by smoke or vapor will result in an attempt (cough) to expel those things until you are breathing less irritable air. Your lungs will extract THC and CBD just as effectively regardless of coughing or not. There is a limit to the absorption capacity that your lungs max out.
There is not a lot of medical evidence surrounding the claim that coughing will get you higher due to the Federal legal status of marijuana products. The anecdotal evidence is as wide-ranging as the colors of your favorite hippie’s hair. “Coughing gets you higher,” “holding your hit in longer will get you higher,” “blowing out smoke rings will get you higher,” and “you will float through the center of those O’s.”
But, alas, coughing does not get you higher. The lack of oxygen when you take a hit of smoke may make you lightheaded but this is a short-term side effect that will resolve quickly once you take a few breaths of air. The claim that coughing gets you higher, while fun to believe, is false. Coughing might help you inhale bigger breaths but it will not rocket you into outer space.
Someone who was embarrassed by their cough when toking likely came up with this rhyme “cough to get off” to make themselves seem cool. That person may also have not learned how to use a carburetor (pulling out the bong bowl or letting your thumb up to let in some air) and did not inhale enough oxygen during their pull.
So instead of acting like you have a cold or COVID just buy more concentrates or buds and load another bowl. The marginal impact of coughing to get higher is merely the deprivation of oxygen. Although it is a fun myth to believe, it is not a truth, which will replace finding stronger and tastier weed.
Make fun of yourself when you cough and laugh at your friends when they cough. There is nothing to be embarrassed about because your lungs are helping you to survive and as they have done for centuries of evolution – they will inhale and get you high.