How To Smoke Marijuana Without Coughing
This one simple trick helped me stop coughing every time I smoke weed.
Do you cough every time you smoke marijuana? I used to. But I found a super-simple solution. Read on…
My name is Pachi, and I’m a recovering cougher. I’ve been smoking weed for decades. And for most of that time, I would cough each and every time I smoked.
Over time all that coughing caught up to me. I came down with chronic bronchitis, GERD, and high blood pressure, and started snoring like a yak. (GERD–aka gastro-intestinal reflux disease–is caused by a weakening of the esophagus that allows food to get into your windpipe making you cough.) And who knows what else all that coughing caused.
However, in the past year, I discovered something exciting — a way to smoke weed without coughing!
Since that time my bronchitis and GERD have cleared up and my blood pressure has fallen back to normal.
So I’d like to share this simple technique for not coughing with all y’all.
Why smoking makes you cough
This might seem obvious. Smoking makes you cough because it irritates your throat and trachea (the tube that leads to your lungs). Your body reacts by coughing in an attempt to expel the irritant.
However, that’s not the entire story–at least when it comes to smoking weed.
Some of us are just natural-born coughers and some of us can inhale a bong-load of smoke without coughing even a little. Why is that? What’s the difference between me and my friend that makes me a cougher and him not so much?
The fact that smoke can be hot can also cause people to cough. However, vaping can make people cough, too. And vapor is far cooler than smoke. So, again, why does smoking marijuana and vaping make some people cough and not others?
Of course, everybody is different. Every body is different.
Here are some of the things that make some people cough when they toke.
Terpenes make some people cough
Marijuana is a highly complex herb. It contains not only cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, it also contains a class of aromatic oily compounds known as terpenes.
Terpenes are what give individual marijuana strains their distinct aromas and flavors. Terpenes are super-powerful active compounds. They have been utilized for millennia in various healing modalities such as aromatherapy. The mere whiff of a particular terpene can cheer you up, give you energy, improve your digestion, calm your nerves, help you focus, and much more.
“Yeah, but cannabinoids are powerful too,” I can hear you thinking.
But the truth is cannabinoids are not nearly as powerful as terpenes. Cannabinoids are measured in milligrams and percentage of the bud. For example, marijuana buds generally contain anywhere from 15 to 30 percent THC by weight. So a one-gram bud (1,000 milligrams) contains 150 to 300 milligrams of THC.
Terpenes, on the other hand, are measured in parts per million (PPM). So, for example, a bud might contain 10 PPM total terpenes. That means for every one million molecules there are only 10 molecules of terpenes. Rather than milligrams, terpenes are measured in micrograms (millionths of a gram, or one-thousandth of a milligram). Most marijuana strains contain a fraction of a percentage point of terpenes.
Also, cannabinoids are basically odorless and flavorless, while terpenes come in a wide array of aromas. So it’s that tiny, tiny fraction of a percentage of terpenes that makes marijuana flower so pungent. If you were to inhale 150 milligrams of any terpene you’d probably barf. It would be like drinking turpentine or Pinesol.
Why am I telling you this? Because some people have adverse reactions to certain terpenes. Simply put, certain terpenes make some people cough.
I’d love to be able to tell you which terpenes make you cough, but, as I said, everyone is different. Terpenes that make one person cough might not make another person cough.
I do know that a terpene called caryophyllene makes me cough. Caryophyllene is found in pepper. If I take a deep whiff of pepper I cough. Every time. Inhaling mustard aroma also makes me cough. Mustard contains a terpene called linalool that’s also found in many cannabis strains. You’ve probably heard of mustard gas. Breathing in mustard gas will make you cough up a lung.
Stale smoke can make you cough
As I said, some pot smokers are able to take huge bong hits and not even hem. I, on the other hand, almost always cough my brains out when I smoke from a bong. But, WHY?!
As soon as weed starts to burn and turns into smoke, as it begins to cool down, the smoke begins going through complicated changes in chemical composition.
Now, I’m no scientist, so I can’t tell you the science behind this, but the longer the smoke sits in the tube, the more it makes me cough. If I inhale the smoke that has been sitting in a bong tube for more than even a second or two, I cough my proverbial brains out.
Most bongs have a hole in the tube often referred to as a “carburetor.” When taking a bong hit you put your finger over the hole. After lighting the bowl, you remove your finger and inhale. Air rushes into the tube clearing out the smoke. If I were to inhale smoke that has been sitting in a bong for more than a few seconds, I damn near cough up a lung! And it takes me quite some time to stop coughing.
I once bought a water pipe with no carb hole. After just a few hits I had to give it away. The smoke would just sit in the tube getting stale between hits. Smoking from it made me cough uncontrollably.
Smoking paper can make you cough
I’ve also found that smoking joints can make me cough more than smoking from a pipe. This is probably the result of smoking what is essentially wood fiber. Not all rolling papers make me cough, and again, I can’t really say which ones and why, and you might respond differently.
Smoking resin can make you cough
The absolute worst thing you can do if smoking makes you cough is to take resin hits off your pipe. That black goo has undergone oodles of chemical reactions and contains all kinds of nasty stuff. It’s also full of microbes. The longer it sits, the more germs thrive. There have been a few times when I’ve run out of weed while on the road and resorted to hitting the resin in my pipe. Every single time, I ended up with a bad case of bronchitis.
How to not cough when smoking weed
Okay, so let’s get down to business here and go over a few ways that you can avoid coughing when smoking weed.
I’m going to give a few common tips but save the secret sauce–the best tip of all–for last.
Don’t smoke bong hits if they make you cough
There’s the old joke about telling your doctor, “it hurts when I do this.” And the doctor says, “don’t do that.” This is pretty much the best advice when it comes to stopping coughing. If bongs make you cough, don’t use bongs. Problem solved. If you simply must use a bong, then make sure the tube is completely empty of smoke before you take a hit–and inhale quickly before the smoke has time to get stale. The bigger the bong, the harder it is to take a quick hit.
Notice which strains make you cough more and don’t smoke them
It might be the terpenes that are making you cough. Make note of the terpenes in the strain you’re smoking. Try strains that don’t contain those terpenes and see if it improves.
Don’t smoke joints if they make you cough, or change your brand of rolling papers
If joints make you cough, just use a pipe. Alternatively, you can experiment with different brands of rolling papers and see if that makes a difference.
Don’t smoke from a nasty, dirty pipe (or bong)
If you’re a pipe person, and you cough a lot, or even if you don’t, for the reasons I mentioned above–pipe resin contains toxic chemicals and germs–you should really try hard to keep your pipe as clean as possible.
Don’t smoke untested cannabis products
Many cannabis products such as shatter and wax are made by extracting the oils from the bud. This extraction process sometimes uses toxic chemicals such as butane. If the butane isn’t fully evaporated from the product, then you are essentially smoking solvents. You should only buy cannabis products from state licensed dispensaries because they have undergone strict lab testing to assure their purity.
The real trick to not coughing when you smoke weed… SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
Okay, now for the real trick that I discovered that helps me not cough when I smoke pot…
One day I was smoking a joint and I realized that when I exhaled through my nose I didn’t cough nearly as much. So I started keeping my mouth shut exhaling through my nose. But I still coughed sometimes.
That went on for some time until I had the idea… Maybe I can also inhale with my mouth closed. Now, I’m no expert in anatomy, so I didn’t even know if it was possible. Well, as it turns out, your nasal passages and your mouth are connected.
What this means is that you can take a hit into your mouth and then keep your mouth closed while you inhale. Then exhale through your nose.
Again, not being an expert in anatomy I cannot say why this works, but it works so well, that I have for the most part stopped coughing altogether (assuming my pipe is clean).
Not only that but my bronchitis is gone, my GERD is gone, and my blood pressure is back to normal! Not only does that mean a better quality of life, it also saves me a ton of money on medical bills and prescriptions.
I’ve noticed that there are two ways that people smoke. Some inhale right off the bat. They breathe in as they are pulling. Other people, like me, draw the smoke first into their mouth–like sucking on a straw–before inhaling. When you use a straw you don’t inhale. If you did you’d get liquid in your lungs and that’s really bad.
If you’re not used to smoking this way it only takes a little practice to get the hang of it. First, as you take a hit, pull back your tongue creating a chamber in your mouth. The smoke will fill the cavity. Then shut your mouth before you inhale. Then exhale through your nose.
Because the nasal passages are connected the smoke is drawn into the lungs even though your mouth is closed.
There is one drawback to this method. Your nose gets a bit resinated. When you blow your nose you’ll see some brownness. This can also dampen your sense of smell a bit. However, if you’re an avid pot smoker with high blood pressure and bronchitis, then losing a little bit of your sense of smell is a small tradeoff.
Again, I’m not sure why this even works, but it works like a charm. If you know why inhaling with your mouth closed makes you cough less, I’d love to hear from you.