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Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher?

08 April 2021
Even in rap songs we hear the typical stoner cough, but does it really get us higher?
08 April 2021
6 min read
Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher?

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  • 1. Why does smoking marijuana make us cough?
  • 1. a. You're drawing smoke into your lungs
  • 1. b. The heat from the hit
  • 1. c. Taking rips too big
  • 2. Will coughing after a weed puff get you higher?
  • 2. a. The bigger the hit, the higher the high
  • 2. b. You're not higher, you're lacking oxygen
  • 2. c. The method of consumption
  • 3. The bottom line

No matter what subject we talk about, as soon as we start to dig in deeper, we find that there are always a couple of urban myths surrounding it. For instance, when it comes to sailing, you're never supposed to change the name of your boat. Why? A lifetime of bad-luck awaits. 

But stoner myths and legends are quite less dramatic than that. There's the white ash myth, that claims good quality weed produces clear-looking ash instead of a darker gray one. And then there's the typical one that if you cough badly after taking a puff, you'll end up higher. 

However, is there any truth in this urban myth? Well, while coughing weed doesn't necessarily mean you'll get higher, there are some factors linked to coughing that could indeed intensify your high, this being, the size of the puff!


Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher? Find out if this is true or a myth.

Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher? Find out if this is true or a myth.


Let's learn all about the 'coughing will get you higher' myth. 

1. Why Does Smoking Marijuana Make Us Cough?

Before we get to the main question, whether coughing after a weed hit gets us higher or not, we should be able to understand why weed makes us cough in the first place. There are several reasons why a cannabis hit can lead us to cough, which are:

  • The fact that you're inhaling smoke;
  • The heat contained in that smoke;
  • And the size of the hit.

Let's get into each of these reasons why smoking weed might be making you cough. 

You're Drawing Smoke Into Your Lungs

So, there should be no surprise really as to why inhaling any sort of combusted smoke is making you cough, you've got the answer right there.


Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher? Drawing smoke can lead the lungs to cough.

Drawing smoke can lead the lungs to cough due to irritation.


Combusted smoke means that the smoke you're drawing into your lungs has reached a heat level high enough so that the plant matter is burnt. Therefore, not only the cannabinoids we seek are released but also lots of extra components that are, well, not too good for the organism,  including half a dozen known PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons).

However, vaping can also make us cough, even stronger than smoking a joint or hitting a bong, and vapor doesn't even contain a quarter of the amount of PAHs that combusted cannabis smoke does. This leads us to the next reason why you're coughing.

The Heat From The Hit

So, yeah maybe we've coughed a couple of times when smoking a joint or hitting a bong, but, after a few of these face slaps, craving for water with coughing tears in our eyes, we've learned the lesson. No more huge rips. 

However, vaporizing can be the biggest traitor when it comes to this. "Oh so it's just vapor", we'll think, and since we can't really feel the smoke traveling inside, we hit it hard. And thinking that nothing's coming in we continue to inhale, but wait for it, and there comes the coughing, and bad. 


Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher? The heat could be the reason you cough.

The heat in the puffs and smoke can cause irritation and therefore coughing.


How can vapor make us smoke if we've emphasized how this heavenly smoke contains little-to-no harmful contaminants? Well, the answer here is heat! The heat contained in either a smoke or vapor draw can be harsh on a sensitive throat and can lead to the typical stoner cough. Even more when you combine this with a big hit. 

Devices such as water bongs, bubblers or dab rigs, the ones that use water for their functioning are better options for those seeking to cool down the smoke, as they filter it through the water. However, when we smoke with these methods we also tend to take huge puffs, which leads us to, guess what, coughing. 

Taking Rips Too Big 

Now, you might have scoffed at that last paragraph saying how those devices cool down smoke and therefore lessen the chances of coughing. As if we've all never coughed so badly we almost spit a lung when we hit all sorts of bongs and bubblers.

The thing is, although the smoke is indeed cooler when we take a bong rip, we also tend to take way bigger rips than in the usual joint, whoops. So no wonder why we've spent half a minute coughing our lungs out, with all those huge hits we've taken we could have replaced a nightclub's smoke machine.


Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher? If you take a puff the size of a house expect coughing.

If you take a puff the size of a house expect coughing.


If you'd rather skip coughing overall, then try taking more but smaller hits instead of one big hit. Or perhaps try vaporizers or water bongs, keep on trying out what works best for you!

2. Will Coughing After A Weed Puff Get You Higher?

Well, there aren't really many scientists looking to figure whether coughing after smoking marijuana gets you higher or not, we haven't reached such acceptance of weed yet. However, some investigations could help us figure out the answer ourselves. 

The Bigger The Hit, The Higher The High

Human lungs have a maximum capacity of the amount of oxygen they can inhale at a given time. This is, approximately and depending on each person, five to six milliliters per minute. But when we smoke cannabis, within the first moments of taking a hit, 95% of THC is being absorbed. 


Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher? Pay your lungs some respect and breathe.

Pay your lungs some respect and breathe, don't overwhelm their capacities.


This means that, when we take a puff that's bigger than the usual hit, it makes sense to conclude that we'll feel higher. And, at the same time, the lungs will feel irritated due to the big amounts of smoke, which causes them to produce coughs, the need to cough is generated when there's the need to expel air in a large burst

You're Not Higher, You're Lacking Oxygen 

Another explanation why coughing is thought to make us higher is because of the effects produced by the physical act of coughing. When we cough, a lack of oxygen is created as we sputter and the lungs compress, and our blood pressure drops. 

During this lack of oxygen and blood pressure drop, the brain may begin to experience the feeling of a high due to the normal lightheadedness and dizziness that coughing produces. The addition of these physiological reactions and the THC making its entrance through the body could lead consumers to feel a more intense high. 


Truth or Myth: Does Coughing Get You Higher? The act of coughing plus the THC may create an illusion of a bigger high.

The act of coughing plus the THC may create an illusion of a bigger high.


This means it's not the actual coughing that intensifies the high but rather the side effects from coughing, alongside the huge size of the rips. Of course, if you take a huge bong rip, then you'll feel like in space. But it's just because you've inhaled much more THC than your usual puff. 

The Method of Consumption

Since we've explained that it's not much about the coughing but rather the size of the hit, here are a couple of methods that will definitely get you sky-high. 

A waterfall bong, which is a bong made out of a plastic bottle, one that plays with gravity and air pressure, is definitely a great source for getting extremely high. This device gathers smoke as water drops from the bottle, and does it gather big amounts.

In the efforts of drawing in all that smoke, before you realize, you'll be so high even the biggest potheads will be surprised. And you're definitely going to cough, so take it easy.

Gravity bongs are also great for this. They're quite similar to the waterfall one but they gather smoke by applying pressure on half a bottle into a bucket with water. Again, so much smoke, a.k.a. such big rips are gathered that they ensure an amazing high. 

Lastly, a sure way to get different cannabis high is taking edibles. Edibles will definitely not make you cough, the lungs sigh in relief, and they'll provide an overall body high that no joint or bong could give. Just make sure you calculate the right dosages. 

3. The Bottom Line

Today we've set ourselves to bust the myth of coughing and getting higher, and the myth was effectively busted. So, give your lungs a breath and don't go for that horrible cough, your throat will be left burning, your eyes into tears and you'll be craving water. 

Take it easy, don't believe everything your friends say, and be careful. Cannabis is best enjoyed when you take it easy, when you sit and chill as you smoke and don't cough. Besides, if you want to get higher, just smoke some more!

Send us your opinions on smoking weed and coughing!