Coughing woman holding a joint

It’s happening again — you’re coughing so hard from a hit that you can no longer breathe. Nothing makes you feel like a newbie more, even for the veteran smokers out there. As you choke back tears, you wonder: is there a way to avoid coughing while smoking? And to that, we happily say: yes, there sure is.

It’s completely possible to avoid coughing when smoking. We all know the dreaded cough involved in some good bud. Some users even claim that it gets them higher. But does that belief hold true?

In this guide today, we want to explain why smoking weed causes a cough and how to avoid coughing when smoking.

What happens when you inhale pot? It’s time to get down to the details. We’ll even answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the topic at the end. Let’s dive in.

Girl smokes cannabis and coughs

Why does smoking weed cause coughing?

First, a question you may be wondering: why does smoking weed cause coughing in the first place? What triggers us to cough, sometimes every time we smoke pot?

We get into the science side for the answer.

The sensory nerves in our airways produce a cough reflex when we inhale cannabis smoke a certain way. Essentially, it’s the body’s way of protecting itself against irritating substances.

doctor and a woman

Coughing while smoking is a perfectly normal, natural response that occurs when we inhale any kind of smoke. If you don’t cough while you smoke, you may just not be triggering the nerves in your airways.

Researchers are still learning how cannabis affects the lungs through smoke, and so are we. In the meantime, we know that smoker’s cough is because of our body’s natural immune response to smoke.

Fortunately, there are ways to minimize or altogether avoid coughing while smoking. Likewise, a 2013 research study from UCLA shows coughing from smoking weed is a short-term issue. There’s little to no lasting health impact to coughing from smoking weed. Still, some users might not want to do it!

cigarette talking to a man

How to avoid coughing when smoking

1. Take smaller (but deeper) hits

Take it easy when you smoke. There’s no need to chief a bowl. Instead, take smaller, gentler hits. The gentler of a hit you take, the less likely you are to cough.

Some users opt to corner their bowls and light carefully around to ensure an even distribution of smoke.

Likewise, cornering a bowl helps you take those smaller, safer hits to keep from coughing.

snapping fingers

2. Don’t hold in your hits

On that same note, don’t hold in your hits when you smoke. No, really — the age-old tried-and-true method of holding in your hits is a myth. There’s actually little evidence that pot is a function of breath-hold duration.

In layman's terms, there’s no evidence that you get higher by holding in your hits. If anything, it just increases the chances that you’re damaging your lungs from the smoke.

You can do without it and still have a finely stoned time; just try it out! Inhale the smoke, then exhale after that big inhale. You won't regret making the switch if you’re one to currently hold in your hits.

man holding down smoke

3. Add a filter

You can add a filter to any smoking piece — even a joint or blunt. There are glass tip filters that help make hits smoother. As a bonus, the hits often taste better, too. There’s a lot to love about glass filters.

If you’re smoking out of a bowl, such as with a pipe or bong, we recommend staying away from metal filters.

Glass filters work better for flavor and smoother hits. If the goal is to avoid coughing, stick with glass filters no matter the piece. Plus, they’re reusable. When it’s time to clean your piece, stick the glass filters in the cleaning bag, too. They’ll be good to go for the next session.

man with an air filter in mouth

4. Smoke a smoother strain

Plain and simple, there are some strains that will feel smoother than others. Ideally, you want to choose a strain that will go down the lungs smoothly, offering a cleaner and simpler hit. These hits are much less likely to make you cough.

But what strains are the smoothest? We did our research and compiled a list for you.

Green Crack

A name you may be familiar with, Green Crack is a Sativa-dominant that’s perfectly smooth. In fact, it’s often recommended for beginners because of how easy it is to smoke.

Blue Dream

Another famous name, Blue Dream is well-known for how smoothly it is going down. Innovative, our Blue Dream XTRM takes it up a notch without sacrificing any smoothness.

Ice Cream Cake

Gentle and sweet, Ice Cream Cake rolls down the throat easily. This strain is a beautiful blend of the infamous Wedding Cake and beloved Gelato. The results are something that you’ll remember when it’s time for the next grow project.

OG Kush

Finally, OG Kush comes in to finish up the list. As a legendary strain, it comes as no surprise that many users agree it’s one of the smoothest. Enjoy the superb taste, aroma, and experience that comes with growing such a famously delicious strain.

Does coughing get you higher?

There are many tall tales across the cannabis industry when it comes to coughing. Some users believe that holding in your cough will get you higher. Others believe the harder you cough, the higher you become. And still, others think that holding in the smoke to prevent coughing will do the trick.

All of these are misconceptions because of the science behind coughing. As we mentioned earlier, the sensory nerves in our airways are what cause us to cough. This is a perfectly normal, natural response to something foreign entering our lungs. It’s not causing you to get higher just because you cough in the middle of it.

couging man

What happens when you inhale pot?

When we’re smoking weed, THC, cannabinoids, and other cannabis compounds hit our endocannabinoid system throughout our body. When THC attaches to the CB1 receptors in our brains, we feel high.

That’s how our body processes cannabinoids and other foreign compounds. Cannabis molecules coincidentally mimic the endocannabinoid system’s own endocannabinoids, allowing cannabinoids to attach to the receptors.

In simpler terms, when we inhale pot, the THC hits our brains. That’s how we get high! It’s also how we experience the other benefits of weed. Pain relief, relaxation, and much more are known benefits of pot.

dna strings and a brain

Final thoughts

As you can see, you have a lot of options when it comes to preventing that dreaded cough. If coughing isn’t your thing, we hope you can use these tips and tricks to your advantage. In addition, we hope our strain recommendations are exactly what you were needing.

Frequently asked questions

Does smoker’s cough go away?

Smoker’s cough can go away, but it also might not. The perpetual cough can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, to indefinitely for some users. It depends on how heavily and frequently you smoke weed. Likewise, it depends on if you smoke cigarettes along with weed to help determine if your cough will go away.

Is it normal to cough a lot when you smoke?

Absolutely. Some users are unfamiliar with the harshness that comes from smoking. Other users may be using a particularly strong strain that hits like a freight train. And still, other users may just be susceptible to coughing.

No matter the reason, it’s perfectly normal to cough a lot when you smoke. However, it doesn’t hurt to consult with a medical health professional if you have a perpetual cough that won’t go away after a few weeks. Preventative health is always the go-to.