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Why Does Vaping Make You Cough?

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Tens of thousands of cannabis consumers have made the switch from smoking to vaping. And it’s not hard to understand the rationale. Vaping, rather than forcing you to inhale bits of burning plant matter and clouds of carcinogenic gas, heats up bud to a high-enough temperature that the THC is released, sans smoke.

But while vaping is — according to most research — healthier, some people find they’re still hacking up a lung after a particularly satisfying hit on their Volcano or Pax 2. Here’s why.

1. It’s hot and dry

Your lungs were designed to inhale air, not hot, dry cannabis vapour. Even though it’s less irritating than traditional consumption methods, the temperature and low-humidity of vapour is still jarring to the delicate tissues of your lungs, and can cause coughing. Many people find it helpful to set the vaporizer to a lower temperature — say, between 350 and 375 degrees. Conversely, a hose attachment cools down the vapour before it hits your lungs. Many users also suggest keeping water or tea on hand during your session.

2. Old habits die hard

Many smokers who make the switch try to hit the device as if it were a joint: you may have to adjust your approach. Try taking smaller, shallower hits, pausing as you inhale either before the vapour fills your lungs, or after you sense you’re almost at your limit. Remove your mouth from the device and inhale some fresh air afterward. Slow and steady wins the space race.

3. It’s the THC

No matter how you’re consuming, THC and other cannabinoids act as irritants on the throat. If you can’t take the heat, get into the kitchen and whip up some edibles instead.

4. Your lungs are sensitive

If you’ve regularly smoked joints, bongs, or — god forbid — cigarettes for years, we hate to break it to you: the delicate membranes in your throat and lungs are already irritated. Though vapour is easier on the lungs, smokers (and soon-to-be-ex-smokers) may still feel some irritation. Take some measure of comfort, at least, in the fact that vaping is less likely to give you cancer.

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