Good cannabis is expensive. Naturally you want to get the most out of each and every puff.
Most of us were taught to hold in each toke as long as we could. And a lot of people have been doing exactly that for years. Decades even.
Now cannabis consumers are starting to discover they don’t have to hold it in for so long.
And there’s more: A slightly different way of inhaling cannabis that will optimize your consumption of this medicine and preserve your stash.
Read on to learn how to save medicine and money while enhancing your smoking or vaping experience.
Human Lungs & THC Absorption
Before we talk inhalation technique, let’s look at what exactly is happening when we smoke (or vape) cannabis.
When smoke is inhaled, cannabinoids like THC pass through the mouth and toward the trachea before entering the lungs.
Once in the lungs, gases and particles are absorbed by small air sacs called alveoli (there are 300 to 500 million of them in two human lungs).
At this point, the magic occurs of transferring cannabinoids like THC or CBD into the bloodstream, where they almost immediately enter the heart to be pushed onward to the brain.
THC absorption doesn’t begin to occur until cannabis smoke passes the first bronchial split from the trachea and has actually entered the lungs.
Regardless of the rate of this process, it’s important to realize that there is no absorption occurring in the mouth or trachea (at least none of significant volume that reaches the brain via this delivery mechanism).
Your Lungs Are like a Tennis Court
According to Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, a Seattle-based scientist, physician, and cannabinoid integrative medicine specialist, human lungs feature a complex topology. So complex, in fact, that they sport the combined surface area of a tennis court. That’s 540-810 square feet, or about 80 times the surface area of your skin.
It’s easy for us to conceptually analogize our lungs to balloons, or hollow vessels in which we push mostly nitrogen and some oxygen on a continual basis in an effort to stay alive.
However, the lungs are actually extremely thick and meaty organs that are perfect for continual inflation and deflation. These amazing organic devices are full of densely folded, intricate tissue and 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) of air pathways serving a single purpose: The exchange of gases with our environment – most notably inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dioxide.
Following the brain and heart, the lungs are the body’s most important and prioritized organs.
THC Absorption Speed
According to Aggarwal, full THC absorption occurs “within milliseconds” (a few thousandths of a second). To human perceptual standards, absorption is virtually instantaneous during an inhale.
Virtually instantaneous. Hold that thought (but not your breath) and read on to learn more.
From the moment of your inhalation, it can take the cannabinoids under a minute to reach the brain where they will permeate, or jump, the blood-brain barrier.
This process is special because it’s something that endorphins and many other molecules simply cannot do. The cannabinoids from cannabis, however, are invited with open arms to enter this critical and highly protected organ.
In other words, the brain is extremely picky about the molecular mates it allows to come over for drinks and dinner. Many chemicals – nay, most – need not apply (they could damage this delicate organ).
Once inside the cerebrum (which includes the frontal lobes, where all strategic and advanced thinking occurs), these medicinal molecules seek out the CB1 cannabinoid receptors.
The THC molecule has what is called a high binding affinity for CB1 receptors, meaning the two fit together perfectly, like a finely crafted lock and key. This is an essential aspect of cannabinoid signaling and the endocannabinoid system throughout the entire body.
Most of us have wasted a considerable amount of cannabis over the years by executing the inhalation process incorrectly. My apologies for going all penny-pinching canna-nerd on you, but the cost of cannabis is no small concern for tens of millions of people.
This is especially true for patients who are too sick to maintain a job and are continually pressured financially.
Because THC and other cannabinoids aren’t absorbed above the first bronchial split, any smoke or vapor that exceeds the capacity of the lungs will naturally fill the trachea and possibly the mouth and nasal passages.
It is all wasted. One hundred silly percent wasted.
I hesitate to think of the amount of cannabis that I have wasted over the years with my sloppy, ignorant toking style.
It’s sadly ironic that holding in a toke was a purposeful strategy designed to maximize the value obtained from one’s medicine when, in fact, it does just the opposite.
In reality, it was simply a misinformed approach resulting from 80 years of prohibition and misinformation.
Another reason to stop holding tokes
You may easily encounter people who swear that holding their breath when toking improves their resulting psychoactive effect or euphoria.
Aside from the effects of oxygen deprivation, we must recognize that this smoke – like any smoke – is filled with toxins and a few carcinogens. Do we really want to hold it in our lungs?
When vaping cannabis, one doesn’t have to worry about all those nefarious molecules found in smoke.
But if tens of millions of Americans are inhaling pot the wrong way, how should they do it? In the end, this really is a personal decision. As usual, however, I have a few suggestions.
Here is the suggested technique!
There are many approaches to ensuring that all of the cannabinoids in smoke or vapor produced by your pipe, joint, or vaporizer will reach your brain.
What must be ensured is that a column of smoke-free air, akin to an invisible plunger, pushes all of the good medicine far enough within the lungs for full absorption – below the trachea.
Personally, I slowly and smoothly inhale, pulling in smoke or vapor for the first two-thirds of the toke. For the last one-third of the inhale, I take in a breath of clean air, inhaling as deeply as possible.
A nice, deep breath also helps ensure that the remote recesses of the lungs are exposed to smoke or vapor, which actually improves lung function (ask any asthmatic who embraces cannabis).
This is because THC and other cannabis compounds function as bronchodilators, meaning they widen passages within the lungs and improve respiration.
In addition to the ‘invisible plunger’ technique, there’s another factor to consider when aiming to get the most out of your cannabis supply.
Most patients and cannabis consumers take more than a single toke when titrating (dosing) their medicine.
After that first puff, consider waiting 5 to 10 minutes for the onset of effects. How does this amount of cannabis make you feel? Do you still need more, or is it the perfect amount for now?
A lot of experienced cannabis consumers will take several puffs in that time span, rarely getting the sense of just one puff.
This is part of what it means to use cannabis mindfully. Why are you using the medicine? How do you want it to help you? What is your intent?
In the end, it’s your choice.
Spread the Word
Experiment with this new method and see for yourself the difference: Greater overall efficiency.
The next time you’re enjoying a smoke or vape session and notice someone toking the wrong way, drop some science on them in an effort to spread your knowledge and help them preserve their precious herb.
As more research is conducted and humans gain additional insight into the complexities and nuances of the cannabis plant, we’ll obviously gain further knowledge into the best methods for consuming and absorbing cannabinoids and terpenes for medical efficacy and cognitive stimulation.
– This article was originally posted at Green Flower
PsychedelicNewsWire (PNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) PsychedelicNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, PNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. PNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, PNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. PNW is where news, content and information converge.
To receive instant SMS alerts, text HEMPWIRE to 21000 (U.S. Mobile Phones Only)
For more information please visit https://www.psychedelicnewswire.com
Do you have a questions or are you interested in working with PNW? Ask our Editor
This article contains Third-Party Content submitted by third parties, including articles submitted through the PNW Premium Partnership Program. All opinions, statements and representations expressed by such third parties are theirs alone and do not express or represent the views and opinions of PNW or its affiliates and owners. Content created by third parties is the sole responsibility of such third parties, and PNW does not endorse, guarantee or make representations concerning the accuracy and completeness of all third-party content. You acknowledge that by PNW providing you with this internet portal that makes accessible to you the ability to view third-party content through the PNW site, PNW does not undertake any obligation to you as a reader of such content or assume any liability relating to such third-party content. PNW expressly disclaims liability relating to such third-party content. PNW and its members, affiliates, successors, assigns, officers, directors, and partners assume no responsibility or liability that may arise from the third-party content, including, but not limited to, responsibility or liability for claims for defamation, libel, slander, infringement, invasion of privacy and publicity rights, fraud, or misrepresentation, or an private right of action under the federal securities laws of the United States or common law. Notwithstanding the foregoing, PNW reserves the right to remove third-party content at any time in its sole discretion.