Why Am I Coughing when Smoking Weed?

Many novice smokers and experienced tokers alike often experience coughing while smoking marijuana. A particularly strong hit or inhale can even make stoners hack up a lung because of the potency. Coughing is just the body’s natural way of protecting itself from irritants as it releases these unwanted particles from your lungs.

But no one likes a harsh coughing fit or sore throat after smoking marijuana. The good news is that there are a few techniques that can help reduce coughing when you smoke.

Why does smoking pot make people cough, and how do you prevent it?

When you inhale smoke, it irritates the lining of the throat and esophagus, especially if you’re not used to the process of inhaling smoke. If you take a hit and immediately start coughing, then that tells you that your lungs are trying to release the smoke and refill your body with oxygen.

If you cough even when you’re not smoking, your body is telling you it’s had enough. New marijuana smokers can potentially cough up to a week after a smoke sesh. Eventually, the body adjusts and gets used to inhaling smoke.

Another reason someone might cough is because they’re hungry. If this is you, feel free to eat some munchies. Try a smoothie, bowl of yogurt, some fruit or a glass of milk. These can help stimulate the swallowing reflex and put your cough at ease.

One more reason someone might cough is if they’re a cigarette smoker and need some tobacco.

Also, you might just cough because everyone else is coughing. This is normal and to be expected like laughing or yawning.

How do I stop coughing while smoking?

It’s all in your head. The best way to remedy coughing is to train your body and lungs to relax when you’re smoking pot. Reading and learning about meditation and visualisation can help increase awareness of your body’s process and increase your mindfulness. Simply visualize some sort of calm energy washing over you, and that may help you smoke without a coughing reaction.

Breathing Techniques

Another trick to try is to work on deep breathing before you smoke, or any time of the day. Simply focus on your breathing before you take a hit, and you’ll be less likely to cough. Also, try inhaling the smoke more slowly to allow your reflexes to adjust and allow the smoke to flow into your lungs.

Smoking Instrument

Changing the piece you smoke from can also help reduce your coughing fits. You might find that a bong or water pipe will help ease the coughing symptoms. With these, smoke passes through the water and cools it down, so the temperature is lower as it hits your lungs. It also adds some moisture to the toke which could be helpful. Try new pipes, bongs, bowls, or papers to see what works for you. A bigger bong means that there is more airflow, and it might be easier for you to inhale.

Vaporizers are another alternative that may help you cough less. These devices vaporize the marijuana and release cannabinoids without combustion or carbon inhalation. The vapor released is much cooler and gentler than the smoke produced by traditional methods.

Smaller Hits

You could try taking smaller hits. Try cornering the bowl and only lighting part of the weed, or pulling for only a couple seconds. Another way to cough less is to smoke less. Balance is key, and if you are constantly coughing, then maybe you should take a break.

Change the Torch

Changing the way you light up could impact your health and affect your coughing. Lighters are the most common and convenient way to spark up, however it uses butane or propane and could irritate the respiratory system. Try using hemp wicks, matches, or light the joint without directly inhaling from the lighter.


Drinking more water is another way to prevent coughing. It helps revitalize your system and is a crucial element in oxygenation in the body.

Switch It Up

You can try a different strain. Cannabis is grown in a variety of ways and it is possible that something in the cultivation process has you coughing, whether it is a chemical sprayed on it or the way it way cured.

If you change the way you consume cannabis altogether you can alleviate the coughing. For example, eating marijuana will get you high and not irritate your lungs. Many long time smokers switch to edibles because the smoke is too harsh for them. If you’re coughing while smoking flower, maybe try hash or another concentrate. It will get  higher and you will smoke less.

Is it true? Does coughing make me higher?

Yes and no. It depends on your perspective. While coughing does help your lungs to expand more and take in more smoke, you can also stretch your lungs with natural breathing methods. If lungs are stretched and more blood flow is stimulated to the alveoli, this means they can absorb more cannabinoids.

However, with this same logic a headstand will also cause more lung expansion. You might get more lightheaded if you cough but you are distracted from really enjoying the high. You’re also more likely to blow all the smoke out that should be getting you high.

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