Many have heard the term “smoker’s cough” in reference to people that have an ongoing, lingering cough from years of smoking tobacco. But those who aren’t strangers to smoking marijuana are also familiar with the ‘cannabis cough’. It’s fairly common for marijuana users to experience a tickle in the back of their throat causing them to cough after inhalation. There is one long-standing debate, however, within the marijuana community on whether or not coughing while smoking cannabis actually gets you higher. The answer may not be as cut and dry as you think.
The physical act of coughing itself involves expelling air from your lungs in a very large burst. Since the inhalation of smoke from a marijuana joint is the way you get high, there’s physically no way to get high from coughing. However, coughing and smoking marijuana have a close connection. Smoking, in general, irritates your lungs and generates the need to cough. This is particularly true for inexperienced smokers, who aren’t acclimated to the sensation of breathing in smoke.
Marijuana smoke contains microscopic liquid particles that irritate the lungs, forcing you to cough in order to expel the irritant. Heat and lung capacity, too, contribute to a cannabis cough. The lungs are sensitive to heat in addition to particulate irritants, which can compound the effect of smoking-related coughing fits and can be mitigated by smoking through a water-based inhalation system, such as a bong. In addition, inhaling too much smoke at one time will cause your lungs to force the excess out through extensive coughing.
Aside from the physical act of coughing, coughing fits while smoking marijuana could possibly produce the sensation of a more intense high.
It has been suggested that the preparation that your body undergoes in order to begin coughing is the activity that actually helps you to get higher. The main idea is that the sharp inhale that occurs before a cough promotes greater smoke intake, which may expose your lungs to an increased amount of cannabinoids and THC.
Additionally, it’s possible that because a coughing fit causes you to sputter and the lungs to repeatedly compress, the lack of oxygen to your brain helps to simulate some of the feelings that you get while high. A drop in blood pressure, dizziness, and lightheadedness accompanied with this lack of oxygen accents some of the feelings of obtaining a high from marijuana use.
Overall, discussions surrounding the cannabis cough theory are mostly speculation at this point. More often than not, the extra kick in an individual’s high is caused by the mechanics of a cough itself. Whether this is true or not, it’s important to remember that if you continue to have excessive coughing fits while smoking, that is your body telling you to slow down or take a break. The most effective way of experiencing an enhanced high is by discussing your strain options, a method of smoking, and dosage of marijuana with your doctor.
The medical professionals at MedWell Health & Wellness Centers can help you determine what strain and dosage of medical cannabis work the best for your specific ailment. If you’re a new patient considering medical marijuana as a treatment option or you are an existing patient that needs a simple certification renewal, contact our office in Brockton, Massachusetts at (774) 517-5195.