It’s happening again — coughing so hard from a hit you can’t breathe. Nothing makes you feel like a newbie, even veteran smokers. As you choke back tears, you wonder: is there a way to avoid coughing while smoking? And to that, we happily say: yes, there sure is. 

Whether you’re smoking the regular stuff or some of our delicious hemp flower, we want to help improve your experience. This guide explains why smoking makes you cough so much and why users believe it enhances a high. Let’s get into our tips and tricks.

8 Top Tips to Avoid Coughing While Smoking or Vaping

Let’s look at some of the best ways you can avoid an itchy throat and the urge to cough your lungs out while smoking.

1. Take Smaller (But Deeper) HitsTake smaller hits

Take it easy when you smoke. There’s no need to chief a bowl. Instead, take more gentle hits. The more delicate of a hit you take, the less likely you are to cough. 

Some users opt to corner their bowls and light carefully around to ensure an even distribution of smoke. 

Likewise, cornering a bowl helps you take those more minor, safer hits to keep from coughing. 

As long as you manage the burn in your bowl or joint and don’t let the contents burn away, it’s just as effective to take a series of more minor hits as it is to one large. 

The lungs can only absorb so much per inhale, anyway. You may achieve better results with a bunch of lighter hits than a handful of large coughing ones.

2. Don’t Hold in Your Hits!don't hold in your hits

On that same note, don’t hold in your hits when you smoke. No, the age-old tried-and-true method of holding in your hits is a myth. Moreover, there’s little evidence that pot (or delta 8) is a function of breath-hold duration. 

In layman’s terms, there’s no evidence that you get higher by holding in your hits. If anything, it just increases the chances that you’re damaging your lungs from the smoke.

You can do without it and still have a finely stoned time; try it out! Inhale the smoke, then exhale after that big inhale. You won’t regret making the switch if you’re one to hold in your hits currently.

3. Add a Filter

You can add a filter to any smoking piece — even a joint or blunt. Glass tip filters help make hits smoother. As a bonus, the hits often taste better, too. There’s a lot to love about glass filters.

If you’re smoking out of a bowl, such as with a pipe or bong, we recommend straying away from metal filters. 

Glass filters work better for flavor and smoother hits. If the goal is to avoid coughing, stick with glass filters, no matter the piece. Plus, they’re reusable. When it’s time to clean your piece, stick the glass filters in the cleaning bag. They’ll be good to go for the next session.

4. Use an Option Besides Smoking

Traditional smoking is iconic, yes, but not necessarily the best option for everyone. Sometimes smoking causes issues for some people, and the side effects aren’t worth the trouble. Another easy trick to avoid coughing while smoking is, well, to simply not smoke.

If coughing becomes too much for you, many options to replace smoking don’t involve inhaling rough and raw burning plant material. 

Below, we’ll cover a few popular options to help narrow down the best suitable alternative to smoking.   


Vaping has quickly established itself in the cannabis world. With the ease of access and mass-produced vaping oil, it was only a matter of time before cannabis distillate was added to the mix. 

As far as intensity goes, vaping makes your hits much more manageable. Where smoking involves the combustion of flower, vaping is the vaporization of oil. 

The first significant benefit of vaping comes from its vaporized oil nature. It doesn’t hit the lungs nearly as hard as burning flower particles. Intrigued? Be sure to check out our vape products.


Oils as an option stray further from cough-inducing smoke by removing your lungs from the equation. 

Oils usually come in natural and unflavored, allowing them to mix into various drinks and foods. While the oil tends to taste less than desirable, the small amount needed means a good drink can mask the aftertaste.

Oil can also be used orally by dripping under the tongue. Taking it directly by mouth is one of the quickest ways to get effects since it’s absorbed into the blood.


Edibles are the pinnacle of avoiding any of the hassle that comes with smoking and bad taste. The new slew of cannabis dispensaries has given rise to as many edible food options as there are strains. 

Edibles come in baked goods as well as hard candies, drinks, and an assortment of other food options.

If smoking constantly causes issues with coughing, it may be time to try a tasty treat that serves as both your new form of getting high, as well as a nice treat. 

5. Grind Your Bud Finelygrind your bud finely

The finer you grind your bud, the smoother and slower your hit will be. Grinding your bud finely ensures a smoother, slower hit every time, so it’s certainly worth a try. Thanks to a more consistent size, the flower will burn evenly and have less flareup. 

Getting a fine grind is easiest to do with a grinder. While breaking up flower is often done by hand, the size of each piece will vary and burn at different speeds. 

If griding bud yourself is a bit more work than you are wanting to do, some brands do sell pre ground cannabis. 

6. Relieve the Throat with a Hard Candydelta-9-hardcandy-detail

This one might seem like a no-brainer for when you aren’t feeling well, but it just as easily applies to smoking too. When the throat becomes agitated or inflamed, the body has a natural reaction to cough and clear anything that could be caught. –

Coughing is our body’s natural way to protect the lungs from harmful foreign bodies. Both disease and materials like smoke and fine particulates can activate the body’s natural defense so it’s no wonder the irritation from taking a hard drag can cause a reaction. 

Plus, use this tip as an excuse to eat a hard candy every now and then. It helps that we have our own hard candies to help extend your smoke’s effects. Check out our CBD+THC hard candies for a fantastic feeling.

stay hydrated7. Stay Hydrated to Avoid Coughing While Smoking

While this might be a no-brainer for some, it might not be so apparent for others. A common reason people end up coughing is lung and throat agitation. An often overlooked cause of this agitation stems from inadequate hydration. 

Telling when your lips are dry, or your mouth feels a bit parched tends to be easier than knowing when your lower throat or lungs may need a bit of hydration. 

If you find your hits are causing more coughing than usual, the fix may be as simple as drinking a full glass of water and giving it a little time. You may find you’re avoiding coughing while smoking easier once hydrated.

Hydration plays a vital role in our body being ready to deal with new and taxing activities. Just like how exercise can be a lot more difficult if you don’t keep fluids on hand for the intense activity.

8. Learn What the Origin of Your Cough Is

Depending on the intensity of the cough and how long it lasts, the origin may not even be smoking. Sometimes underlying issues can be exacerbated and become more pronounced when smoke is introduced. 

If the coughing is becoming problematic, it’s best to stop smoking for a few days and see if your throat feels better. While a few days isn’t generally the ideal wait time since it’s so short, it may give you enough time to see if smoking is the main cause. 

If it continues regardless, go visit your doc. Things like bronchitis and other sicknesses don’t clear up on their own. Medication may be needed alongside a smoke break to help fix the issue. We’re not doctors, so be sure to speak to your medical health professional.

Bonus Trick: Use Warm Water in Your Bong to Avoid Coughing While Smoking

You might be thinking — warm water? Ice cubes and cold water are the stereotypical go-to for bongs. 

However, if you’re looking for an even smoother hit, you have to try warm water. You’ll more readily avoid coughing while smoking with this water temp instead.

The steam from warmer water soothes the throat, making for a smooth experience overall. More resin passes into the lungs, providing a deeper high. 

Meanwhile, cold water quickly cools down hot smoke. It creates a thicker, milkier smoke than warm water, leading to a harsh experience overall. Plus, it potentially catches more resin inside the bong, causing you to waste precious parts of your product.

Simply put, hot or warm water filters the smoke differently. It also changes the water’s viscosity, preventing the THC from crystallizing in the water. Again, that means less wasting of your product, which means more bang for your buck! The more potent the product, the less you are to consume at a time.

Why Does Smoking Make You Cough So Much?why does smoking make you cough so hard

It’s important to note that just about everyone coughs. Even the most experienced veteran smokers will cough on occasion. It may be even more persistent if they have a smoker’s cough. It’s hard to avoid coughing while smoking entirely, for this reason.

But why does smoking make you cough so much? If you’re prone to coughing harder than most users when smoking, let’s look at the science side for the answer.

First, coughing is a natural, normal response when inhaling any foreign substance. That means anything that isn’t the typical air we breathe can trigger a cough. If you’re not prone to coughing while smoking, you likely don’t trigger the nerves in your airways.

Interestingly, researchers are still learning how cannabis affects the lungs through smoke – and so are we, as a result. In the meantime, we know that the “smoker’s cough” is our body’s natural immune response to smoke.

On the bright side, as long as you smoke cannabis, the cough isn’t permanent. A 2013 UCLA study finds that coughing from smoking weed is a short-term, albeit annoying, problem. Fortunately, coughing from smoking weed has little to no lasting health impact.

Does Coughing Get You Higher?

It’s another age-old thought, like holding in your hits, that coughing somehow gets you higher. The harder you cough, the higher you get– right? Well, that’s likely another misconception. And it started because of a misunderstanding about coughing.

avoid coughing while smokingAs we mentioned above, the sensory nerves in our airways are what trigger a cough. While this is a natural immune response, it’s not causing you to get higher just because you’re coughing in the middle of it. We chalk this to a placebo effect if you feel higher afterward.

As far as research goes, there’s no connection between coughing and benefiting more during a smoke session. 

Although there seems to be anecdotal evidence that suggests otherwise, coughing is not great for you or your throat. Anything you can do to help mitigate it is good.

Wrapping Up: How to Avoid Coughing While Smoking

As you can see, avoiding coughing while smoking is easy with the right tips and tricks. Take smaller, but deeper, hits, don’t hold in your hits, and use a filter. Try an alternative to smoking, like edibles or tinctures. Grind your bud finer, and try to use warm water in your bongs. Don’t forget to stay hydrated! With all these tips combined, you’ll be smooth-hitting your pieces in no time.