Does Coughing Make You Higher? | The Effects & Why It Happens

Marijuana has been clinically tested and has shown to have medical benefits regarding weight loss, diabetes and cancer prevention, and more.

Despite its legalization over the past several years, there is still a common debate surrounding cannabis consumption: Does coughing make you higher?

While this question may be more applicable to recreational users, medical users may still find it helpful, especially when used to relieve pain.

Are you curious about the facts behind this question too? Is it simply a normal reaction of the body or something you can try on your next session? Let’s find out!

Does Coughing Make You Higher?

Anyone would cough when taking a puff of cannabis.

The act of coughing is the RESPONSE of our respiratory tract to the marijuana smoke we consume.

This relates to the fact that taking a hit is a form of inhaling. Oxygen deprivation, especially when we hold the smoke for longer, is another cause of our body’s cough reflex.

In other words, coughing does NOT make you higher. It is simply a reflex of taking in the smoke.

What makes you higher is the consumption of more Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is marijuana’s main ingredient responsible for almost all the “weed” effects on the human body.

Thus, it would be best if you focused on using the proper ways to consume more THC. It would be best not to believe the circulating myths, as that will lead to health issues.

What Happens When You Inhale Cannabis Smoke?

Does Coughing Make You Higher

A direct answer to this question is that cannabis smoking makes you high. But how does this happen from the moment you inhale the smoke?

When you smoke marijuana, THC is absorbed, which is one of the main reasons you get high. An increase will then follow this in your heartbeat and endorphins.

After taking a puff, your heart rate can increase by 20-50 beats per minute. You can feel this sensation for as long as three hours which could also affect your blood pressure.

Aside from that, you can expect to feel euphoric due to the increase in endorphins. Endogenous opioids or endorphins are responsible for relieving pain and influencing our mood.

Once the endorphins reach the brain, different people experience the high uniquely. Your lungs may not thank you, hence the coughing, but you will feel an unparalleled sense of bliss.

Why Does Weed Smoke Make You Cough?

As mentioned earlier, inhaling more THC gets you high and not the act of coughing.

This is because coughing while smoking cannabis is a natural response of the respiratory organs when they detect irritating substances.

These irritating substances can come in the form of phlegm, dust, or smoke. You will get a coughing fit when interacting with them. This allows the body to expel them for better breathing.

The same is true for the lack of oxygen when taking a hit and inhaling smoke for too long.

You deprive your body of the oxygen it needs when taking a large burst. What more when inhaling cannabis smoke and holding it in for too long?

In this manner, coughing is a reflex action used to ABSORB fresh air or oxygen. This is to go back to normal functioning after inhaling for an above-normal period.

Some of the other possible causes include:

  • Cannabis from your exclusive deals might not be of good quality
  • Doing other things while smoking
  • Laughing and smoking at the same time
  • Smoking more THC content
  • Consumption of some irritating strains like types of terpenes and caryophyllene

The Science Behind the Cough Reflex When Smoking Cannabis

Throat irritation will make you cough.

This is true not just when smoking weed but also in some instances of vaping and tobacco consumption.

Cannabis smoke is a foreign element in our mouth and throat. Thus, coughing is the respiratory system’s way of recovering and clearing the path.

When you have body coughs after the first few seconds of smoking cannabis, that is an indication that your throat is irritated.

You can also cough when you take a big hit. This means consuming smoke that exceeds your lungs’ maximum capacity, which may lead to chronic bronchitis.

Thus, note that having a coughing fit while you smoke weed is a NATURAL reflex and recovery mechanism of your respiratory system.

It has nothing to do about getting higher.

How Do You Avoid Coughing From Smoking Marijuana?

Now that you know that coughing after smoking cannabis does not make you higher, the next step is knowing how to avoid unnecessary coughing fits as much as possible.

Most of this includes correcting several years worth of misconceptions about smoking cannabis.

Using bong for marijuana

Here are the five most common tips for addressing coughing when smoking weed.

1. Use a Bong Instead of Joints

A bong is a water pipe tool specifically for cannabis use.

Using a bong to smoke weed makes the hits smoother and more friendly to your throat and lungs.

It gives you a desirable space between your mouth and the source of the smoke. The same is true for removing elements that cause coughing due to throat irritation.

You don’t have to worry about the effects. You will still get high.

You just made the smoking session better for your respiratory system and body.

2. Take Smaller Cannabis Hits

The lung capacity of users varies.

Taking several smaller hits is the same as the physical act of taking big weed bursts.

The former ensures that you are within the smoking limit of your lungs. When you don’t keep this in mind, you will cough to expel air, wasting your weed and ruining your session.

It also helps you avoid coughing since minimal irritating substances are introduced into your lungs.

Thus, people should stop thinking about the myth that taking more cannabis smoke will give them a euphoric feeling or high.

Instead, it will make you cough even more and cause throat pain and health problems.

3. Avoid Holding Smoke Too Long

Another myth that needs to be broken is that holding longer makes you higher.

Holding smoke too long is just causing your lungs to be deprived of oxygen.

This is one of the reasons why you cough since you need to inhale and recover the amount of oxygen lost. This is for your lungs and overall body to return to their normal function.

Remember that the AMOUNT of THC in your mix is responsible for making you high when you smoke cannabis. It is not about how big your cannabis hit is or how long you hold the smoke.

4. Inhale and Exhale as You Normally Do

You will still need fresh air when you do cannabis smoking.

Oxygen deprivations make you cough more — so you should avoid holding weed smoke for too long and disrupting your normal breathing flow.

Instead, it would be best to do a sharp inhale to open your lungs more. More THC will be absorbed through this maneuver, allowing you to feel higher.

In other words, you can do other things besides taking a bigger hit, holding smoke longer, and the like to get the same psychoactive effect.

Avoiding these acts can make your breath smoother and better, allow you to cough less, and enjoy smoking more.

5. Do Not Forget to Drink More Water

A dry throat can cause coughing. Even non-weed or cigarette smokers have experienced this.

When you smoke cannabis, it also makes you cough due to a dry throat. More airway irritants from marijuana smoke intake can make that cough worse.

Drinking water while you are smoking cannabis makes your throat wet. This helps wash out unnecessary residue from your last weed hit.

Aside from that, it also lightens mucus build-up, which helps you to avoid coughing.

Upgrading your fluid intake to a herbal tea is an even better alternative.

You would want to breathe better to lessen coughing. Drinking water and tea are one of the best ways to make this possible.

NOTE: Cannabis smokers cough more than tobacco smokers. This is because cannabis users rely more on breath holding and breathing in more smoke per puff.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you still have more questions about the relationship between coughing and smoking marijuana? Here are a few more important facts that you need to know.

What Does Coughing Do When You’re High?

Coughing when you are high has two main purposes.

Coughing while you are high helps eliminate any irritating substance in your throat or lungs. It can boost your euphoria by helping you catch more oxygen between puffs.

The act of coughing helps release more dynorphins that are similar to endorphins.

The brain receptors get this to boost your mood, making you happier, which is why people think they feel higher after a good cough.

Does Holding in Your Cough Make You Higher?

You get high through marijuana’s THC ingredient and its other companions.

You immediately absorb all the cannabis substances in the first few seconds of inhaling. Thus, you don’t get high when you hold the smoke or cough.

It is better to take more THC to your lungs to have higher effects than holding your cough.

You will develop chronic bronchitis when doing the latter. This will result in challenges in your long-term lung function.


You now know the truth behind this cannabis myth of coughing to experience a greater “high” feeling.

Coughing is more of our respiratory tract taking action against cannabis smoking rather than providing better psychoactive effects.

Always remember that coughing does not make you higher. Increasing THC consumption and reducing coughing is best if you want a better cannabis high when smoking weed.