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Why Does Weed Make You Cough?

Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Written by: Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Updated on December 5, 2023

A man is coughing while vaping

For many the pleasure of smoking weed is accompanied by an unexpected and sometimes concerning reaction: a persistent cough. Why does this happen and what does it mean for those who enjoy cannabis? This article delves into the science behind the weed-induced cough, explores potential effects on the lungs and offers practical advice on how to manage and prevent this common occurrence. Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or new to the world of cannabis the insights and solutions presented here aim to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of this intriguing herb.

Why Does Weed Make You Cough?

weed vape makes a man cough

Coughing while smoking weed is common but what makes weed induce a cough? The answer lies in various contributing factors:

  • Smoke Inhalation: Inhaling any type of smoke, including cannabis, irritates the throat and lungs, causing a reflexive coughing response. This isn’t unique to cannabis; even tobacco smoke can lead to coughing.
  • Cannabinoids and Terpenes: These cannabis compounds might contribute to coughing, especially when consumed in large quantities. While they have various effects on the body they can also irritate the throat.
  • Method of Consumption: How you consume cannabis can affect coughing. Smoking a joint or using a pipe might cause more irritation compared to using a vaporizer. The method of consumption could be the answer to your cough.
  • Quality of Cannabis: Low-quality cannabis might have impurities or improper curing, leading to harsher smoke and a less enjoyable experience.
  • Individual Sensitivity: Some people may cough more easily due to sensitivity to smoke.

In essence, “why does weed make you cough” is a multifaceted question with various contributing factors. By understanding these, you can learn how to reduce or eliminate coughing when smoking weed, enhancing your overall experience.

Does Cannabis Injure Your Lungs?

Two doctors are discussing the effects of weed on the lungs.

The question of whether cannabis injures the lungs is a concern for many. Let’s explore the factors that may contribute to lung injury and potential precautions:

  • Smoking Method: Traditional smoking methods can lead to irritation and a weed-induced cough, while vaporizing may reduce these effects.
  • Frequency and Duration: Chronic and heavy smoking of cannabis may lead to chronic bronchitis in those who are prone to it and other respiratory problems.
  • Quality of Cannabis: Ensuring quality can mitigate risks related to harsh smoke and increased coughing.
  • Comparison with Tobacco: While there are risks with smoking cannabis, evidence doesn’t suggest it leads to lung cancer like tobacco. However the weed-induced cough and other symptoms can still be concerning.
  • Alternative Consumption Methods: Exploring alternatives like edibles, tinctures or oils might be a solution if coughing is a persistent concern. These methods bypass the lungs, eliminating the risk of coughing and potential lung injury.

While cannabis may not directly injure the lungs the method of consumption, frequency, quality and individual factors can contribute to respiratory issues. Being mindful of these aspects can reduce potential risks to lung health.

Does Coughing Make You Higher?

A popular belief among cannabis users is that “coughing makes you higher.” This view has sparked many discussions and debates. Some are confident while others reject it as a myth. So, what’s the real story?

The theory that arises from the idea that coughing enhances blood flow to the brain, letting more THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) reach it faster. But scientific proof to back this claim is scarce.

Some users report feeling a more intense high after coughing. However, this sensation may be linked more to the act of coughing which can induce lightheadedness or a brief adrenaline rush.

It’s also essential to mention that the weed cough itself could signal irritation from the smoke, not a sign of increased intoxication.

The belief that “coughing makes you higher” is common but lacks scientific backing. The feeling of being higher after coughing might relate more to the physical reaction to coughing than a direct enhancement in the effects of cannabis.

How to Calm Your Throat?

Coughing from smoking weed can be unpleasant. If you’ve faced a weed cough, you might be curious about soothing your throat. Here’s how you can calm your throat:

  • Stay Hydrated: Water can alleviate a dry or irritated throat. Keeping a glass nearby when smoking may offer quick relief.
  • Use a Humidifier: This can moisturize the air and decrease throat irritation, especially if you often cough.
  • Try Different Consumption Methods: Vaporizers or other less irritating options could be the answer if traditional smoking causes discomfort.
  • Choose Quality Cannabis: High-quality products can make the process smoother and less annoying, reducing coughing chances.
  • Use Honey or Herbal Teas: These natural treatments are widely known to relieve irritation.
  • Avoid Hot Smoke: Hot smoke can aggravate the throat. A water pipe or bong may lessen the harshness.
  • Consider Edibles or Tinctures: If coughing remains an issue, edibles or tinctures, bypassing the throat, may be the solution.
  • Practice Mindful Breathing: Coughing might be due to taking hits that are too big. Smaller, more controlled inhales might minimize coughing.
  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: If the coughing persists or becomes worrisome, it’s wise to seek professional medical advice.

Calming your throat after discomfort involves hydration, quality management, alternative methods and natural solutions. Grasping the factors that lead to irritation and taking preventive measures to ease your throat can boost your overall enjoyment and comfort.

How to Prevent Coughing from Smoking Weed?

a lady consume weed with cough

You can prevent or minimize this discomfort. Understanding the causes can help you take preventive steps. Here’s how:

Choose the Right Consumption Method

As previously described, different smoking methods can affect how harsh the smoke is on your throat. If traditional ways make you cough, try using a vaporizer or water pipe to cool the smoke and lessen irritation.

Select Quality Cannabis

As low-quality or improperly cured cannabis might cause a harsher cough. Choosing high-quality products from trustworthy sources can create a smoother experience.

Mind Your Inhalation Technique

Avoid coughing by taking controlled, gentle inhales and allowing time to exhale fully, instead of inhaling too quickly or taking too large a hit.

Stay Hydrated

A dry throat can worsen coughing. Keep water or a soothing drink close by to moisten your throat and ease irritation.

Use a Humidifier

If you frequently cough, using a humidifier to moisten the air may help soothe your throat.

Consider Edibles or Other Alternatives

If smoking continues to bother you, explore alternatives like edibles, tinctures or oils. They bypass the lungs and throat, removing the risk of coughing.

Maintain Your Smoking Devices

Keeping your smoking devices clean and unclogged can prevent a harsh smoking experience.

Listen to Your Body

Individual sensitivity differs so pay attention to how various methods and products affect you and adjust as needed.
Preventing coughing from smoking weed requires understanding the factors that contribute to a weed cough and acting accordingly. From choosing the right way to consume to staying hydrated and seeking professional help these strategies can enhance your comfort and enjoyment.

Understanding Cannabis Strains and Their Impact on Coughing

different cannabis strains

Different strains of cannabis can affect the body in various ways, including the likelihood of causing or preventing coughing. Below, we’ll explore how different strains can shape the coughing experience:

Indica vs. Sativa

Indica strains are often recognized for their calming effects and may create a smoother smoke. In contrast, Sativa strains might be more invigorating and could result in a harsher cough for some.

CBD vs. THC Content

Strains with a higher CBD content might be less prone to triggering irritation and coughing than those rich in THC. If you catch yourself asking, “why do I cough when I smoke weed?”, considering the CBD to THC ratio could offer some clarity.

Terpene Profile

Terpenes the aromatic compounds in cannabis that give it flavor and scent, may either soothe or irritate the throat. Understanding a strain’s terpene profile can assist you in selecting one that lessens coughing.

Growing and Curing Methods

The way cannabis is cultivated and cured can influence its quality and the smoothness of the smoke. Organic growing practices and correct curing may result in milder smoke, diminishing the chance of a weed-induced cough.

Personal Sensitivity

Responses to various strains differ from person to person. By monitoring how individual strains impact you, you can discover those that reduce coughing and enhance your experience.

Consulting with Budtenders or Experts

If you’re uncertain about the best strains for your needs, speaking with informed budtenders or cannabis experts can yield tailored advice based on your likes and sensitivities.

Understanding the connection between different cannabis strains and coughing offers essential insights for those aiming to lessen discomfort while enjoying cannabis. Whether it’s the strain type, chemical makeup or growing method these elements can affect the probability of coughing. If you’ve ever wondered, “why does weed make me cough?”, examining various strains and seeking professional advice may supply the answers and solutions you seek.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or professional advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider or a qualified professional regarding any questions or concerns about your health or the consumption of cannabis. Individual experiences with cannabis may vary and laws related to its use differ by jurisdiction.

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Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)
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