If you play “smoking games”, often as a younger person, one of the familiar tropes is that holding smoke in your lungs for a longer period of time produces a stronger effect.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Once the vapor has been in your lungs for a second or two – some research says it actually only requires milliseconds – your lungs have already had time to do their work.
But is there any reason to hold vapor or smoke in your lungs with a disposable THC vape? Is there any other way to produce a more potent effect?
In this article, we’ll find out.
A note on smoke vs vapor
Before we start, it’s worth understanding that vapor and smoke are two different things. Although many people talk about holding “smoke” in your lungs after inhaling from their vape, what they are actually inhaling is vapor. This sounds like a pretty tiny difference. But it’s not.
- Smoke – is the burning remnants of plant material, often still combusting (that’s “on fire” to you and me) or created by combustion. Smoke contains molecules of carbon (that you can usually see), molecules of what we’re burning, and other nasty side-products of combustion.
- Vapor – is the result of liquid that has been heated to the point where it turns to vapor. Technically, the “vapor” we all refer to is an “aerosol”. Vaping a liquid turns it into a gas. But the only molecules in there are the ones that were in the liquid in the first place.
That’s why vaping is universally held to be much better for you than smoking. It might not be perfect. But compared to inhaling random combustion products and burnt bits of plant and other materials, there’s no comparison.
Does holding smoke in your lungs get you more “high”?
The answer here is a flat “no”. There is no advantage to holding smoke or vapor in your lungs for a prolonged period. Although a great many urban legends and pop culture would lead you to believe otherwise!
A number of studies have been done to show that the cannabinoids in cannabis are absorbed into the lungs usually in a second or less. Those cannabinoids – the CBD or THC in your oil pen disposable – only need to be present in your lungs very briefly.
After that, they are already starting to pass through the lining of your lungs into your bloodstream, ready to be carried to where they can do the most good.
How to use a THC vape pen
The basic technique for using a disposable THC pen is:
- Inhale – breathe in vapor from your vape.
- Leave some space – you don’t want to completely fill your lungs with vapor.
- Add a little air – take your vape away from your mouth and complete your inhale with some fresh air.
This technique minimizes the chance that an irritant like vapor will prompt your lungs into a cough reaction. This is common for many people who haven’t used a reusable or disposable THC pen before – as well as among those who have previously over-used cigarettes or other smoking methods.
You can then increase the ratio of THC vapor to air you inhale as you become used to using your vape.
This technique doesn’t specify that you hold the vapor in your lungs for a set period of time for one very good reason – you don’t need to. As we found out above, all of the active ingredients in the vapor are absorbed by your lungs in under a second.
Holding smoke in your lungs for more than a second or two is essentially wasting time.
When is holding smoke in your lungs a good idea?
There are very few occasions when actively holding smoke in your lungs is a good idea. In fact, there’s only really one. Unfortunately for overeager teenagers across the country, it’s not because it’s going to get you more “high”.
That one occasion is when teaching someone new how to use a THC pen disposable. In this instance, it is helpful to demonstrate that you have inhaled the vapor all the way into your lungs. Because the natural tendency of most people is to breathe it into their mouths and then blow it out without inhaling.
Otherwise, there is no real reason to do so.
How do I produce a more potent effect with cannabis?
For those among us who are here because they want to produce a more potent effect when consuming cannabis and are now disappointed that holding your breath doesn’t seem to be it, there are a few other things you can try to maximize the potency of your experience:
1) Buy the highest quality products
Look for vapes loaded with full-spectrum or full-plant products. Or choose those that contain extracts that are very pure and have gone through a process that eliminates the solvents and other side-effects of the extraction process.
This isn’t always obvious at a first pass. For example, K.I.N.D. Sweet Karts in disposable THC vape pen format may look like a sweet and cheerful product. Yet inside is a highly pure (regularly tested at 90%+) distillate of THC. They’re made from natural, organically-grown, All-American plants using K.I.N.D.’s proprietary extraction process. They’re a potent product, for all their friendly packaging.
On the flip side, you can come across products from other brands that look like they should knock your socks off. Only when you read the label do you find that they aren’t that potent. Always, always read the label before you buy.
2) Inhale deeper instead of longer
It’s a good idea for most people to start off with smaller inhales and top them up with a bit of air when you’re just getting into vaping.
Later, you can take deeper inhales. The more vapor you have in your lungs, the more THC will be contained in it. You still only need to “hold” it for a second or so.
3) Mix the strains you use
As you acclimatize your body to one strain of cannabis, you’re likely to notice that the effects you experience become less pronounced over time.
The simple way to resolve this is to mix the strains you use. It can be difficult to tell which strains are in some disposable THC vapes you can find. Some products make it easy though. A K.I.N.D. Resin disposable THC vape pen comes in strain-specific varieties so you can simply choose a different experience and return to maximum potency.
Combined with taking deeper inhales and using a high-quality product, you should have everything you need to get the best from your vaping experience. And avoid the false benefits of holding vapor or smoke in your lungs.