Does Holding in Vapor Make You Higher?

 A pink neon sign saying "and breathe" surrounded by plants.


There's a persistent myth out there that says when you're vaping or smoking marijuana, you should keep your breath held in after you take a hit. But it's not based on science.

The logic goes something like this: if you want the most THC and/or CBD from your herb, you need to hold the smoke or vapor in your lungs for a longer time. So, after you take a hit, you should wait before exhaling for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, or even for a couple of minutes.

It seems logical that doing this would get you stronger effects from your cannabis, which is maybe why so many people believe it's true. It's also a cliché in TV and movies that holding in smoke for longer lets a user achieve an extra-massive high. But there's no truth to this myth.

How Fast Do Lungs Absorb THC From Cannabis?

Here's the thing: when you take a hit, the effect is basically instantaneous. You'll get most of it right away, and you won't waste weed if you exhale "early".

It could be helpful to do so for approximately an extra second or two, but beyond that, there's really no point. You've absorbed all the THC and CBD you're going to get.


Furna dry herb vapes with pre-packable ovens


There are other ways to get maximum potency out of your herb. For example, smoking is pretty inefficient compared with vaping. A 2018 study showed that people that vaped marijuana had over 40% more THC in their bloodstream compared with people who smoked a joint. 

How long should you hold in smoke and vapor?

Whether you're smoking weed or using a dry herb vape, there's no reason to hold in a hit much longer than a second.

After inhaling, the absorption of the active ingredients from the cannabis takes place immediately. If you exhale right after you inhale, it totally doesn't matter. If you're smoking, holding in smoke might actually cause more damage, and without giving you any benefit or high.

How deep you breathe in matters more than how much you hold it in. If you take shallow hits, you're only taking in a fraction of the air you could be taking in. If you take deeper breaths, you'll get much greater effects from your hits.

If you want to learn more, check out our article on how to hit a dry herb vape.


Diver swimming underwater.

Oxygen Deprivation: Don't Hold Your Breath!

You might feel higher holding your breath, after you've inhaled, or it might just seem that way. But what's actually happening is harmful, in a medical sense.

If you stop breathing, you'll cut your brain off from oxygen, making you feel light-headed. Your heart will start beating faster as it tries to compensate for the lack of oxygen. Adrenaline can also be released, giving you a bit of a rush.

Other ways to maximize the effect of vaping

Instead of giving yourself oxygen deprivation, which is harmful, try switching things up in other ways. If your normal strain isn't cutting it, try a different one to enjoy a different combination of plant cannabinoids.

Stronger strains of marijuana will definitely produce an above average high. Potent cannabis concentrates are another option.

Also, if you're still using combustion to consume cannabis, that is, if you smoke a joint or a pipe, consider switching to vaping. You could be getting a lot more mileage out of your weed with a dry herb vaporizer.


A person climbing an electrical tower, looking at the countryside below.

Does Holding Hits in Your Lungs Get You Higher?

No, it makes no difference how long you hold in the air after taking a hit. Taking fuller, longer breaths is helpful, but there's no reason to hold it in for more than a second.

If you're looking to get higher from your cannabis, you should be thinking about a dry herb vaporizer. Dry herb vapes are easier on the respiratory system compared with smoking a joint, and also create less odor and are more discreet.

The Efficiency of a Dry Herb Vape

With a vaporizer, you're baking the weed, not burning it, and you're able to capture all the THC and CBD in the herb. If you burn herb, you're always going to lose some potency as it goes up in smoke. As shown by the study mentioned above, you get almost 40% more cannabinoids.

Also, you can get one bonus round out of your cannabis even after you’ve vaped it. Already vaped bud (AVB or ABV) can also be used in edibles and other recipes. So between the added potency and AVB, investing in a dry herb vape can pay off quickly in terms of savings on herb.

The best portable dry herb vaporizer

Portability and convenience is usually a top priority for anyone considering a vape. If that's you, check out what Furna is doing with their swappable oven vape. Most vaporizers can be really annoying to reload, especially if you're on the go.

Furna lets you load up several ovens all at once, in the comfort of your home before you head out. Then later, if you need to switch a used oven for a full oven, it can happen instantly. Furna can also vaporize cannabis concentrates with a specialized concentrate oven that's just as easy to swap in.

Learn more about Furna here.


Furna dry herb vape with swappable ovens