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How Long To Hold In a Hit of Weed; Does Holding a Hit Make You Higher? 

By Cheri Sicard
August 28, 2019

Dear Cheri,

My friend and I are having an argument and we hope you can settle a bet for us. When smoking marijuana, I was always taught to inhale a hit and hold it for as long as possible before exhaling in order to get the most from it. My friend says you can inhale and immediately exhale and get the same effect or better. There’s an 8th of top-shelf riding on this.  Who’s right?  How long do you need to hold a hit of marijuana?


Sorry Doug,  you’re going to need to buy your friend that 8th!

How long to hold in a hit of weed?  Not long!

According to Dr. Sunil Agarwal, a cannabinoid integrative medicine specialist, THC absorption occurs within milliseconds.  In other words almost instantly upon inhalation.  

From there it can take a minute or so before the effects are felt by the brain. But as to the lungs and how long you need to hold the hit, you don’t.

When smoking marijuana, inhale deeply and immediately begin to exhale. I say inhale deeply because THC is absorbed in the lungs, not the mouth or trachea.

However, holding that smoke in your lungs, once you have inhaled, serves no practical purpose. To the contrary, it only exposes you to more tar, toxins, and carcinogens.  

Yes, cannabis smoke does contain all of these scary things. But unlike cigarette smoke, no link to smoking cannabis and increased cancer risk has been established.  For more details, check out  marijuana smoking and lung health.

How Long to Hold a Vape Hit or a Dab Hit

The same principles apply when you are using a vaporizer or dabbing (inhaling concentrates).  Especially when you are dabbing because dabs are so expansive.  Inhale deeply and immediately let it out.

What about water pipes?  How long do you need to hold a bong hit?  Again, same answer, you do not hold the hit.  Inhale deeply and let it out.  

Does holding in a hit make you higher?

This is a myth that just won't die!

I know after so many years of being taught to hold hits in, this might be a difficult habit to break. So much so that some people on my YouTube channel have argued the point, insisting I am wrong.  and lack of oxygen.

Honestly, you are doing yourself no favors but continuing to hold marijuana smoke in your lungs.

So repeat after me:

For best results when smoking or vaping cannabis, inhale deeply, and let it out.

How Long To Hold In a Hit of Weed

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About the author

Cheri Sicard is the author of Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women, and The Easy Cannabis Cookbook.  Her online courses at have educated 1000s of students about marijuana, cannabis cooking for home cooks, and making infused topicals.

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