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Holding in your hits

Discussion in 'Vaporization Discussion' started by Dragonfly, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

    I agree that holding it in (the longer the better) helps absorb more active ingredient.

    I didn't know this was controversial - it's simple science. More contact time = more absorption.

    This trick saved me a lot of $$ back when it took 2 weeks of wages to buy an ounce.

    mod note: New thread created to remove derail in the Firefly thread.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2014
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  2. cawshook

    cawshook Solod out.

    Yup. Exhaled Vapor is wasted Vapor. Kinda weird the first time you get high without seeing Vapor exhaled, right?
  3. fogbank

    fogbank Well-Known Member

    Not "simple science" at all. "More contact time" only equals "more absorption" if you make one pretty major assumption:

    1. Your lungs don't absorb all of the THC they can in the first several seconds.

    I've read enough scientific opinions on this, as it pertains to smoke, that I am fully convinced that holding a hit more than 5 seconds or so has no benefit whatsoever. Your lungs absorb 95% of the available THC in the first few seconds of inhalation:


    I don't know if the same applies to vapor, but I believe it does.

    Sorry for straying off topic.
  4. Hoover

    Hoover Well-Known Member

    Great article fogbank.

    I have to agree with fogbank on this issue. In a nutshell, there are two things happening in the lung at the time where the gas exchange takes place: Alveoli inflate with fresh air (and other organic compounds) at the beginning of the inhalation; as blood flows by in the pulmonary capillary bed surrounding the alveoli gas exchange takes place by osmosis, movement from an area of high concentration to low. When equilibrium is reached in the alveoli no other transfer is possible until a new supply of fresh air is available. The alveoli are so small that this is done is seconds. any vapor exhaled is from anatomical dead space and is wasted.

    On another note; I just learned that the FF that I returned last Monday was not repairable, they did not tell me what part or parts failed. FF has shipped me a new FF as a warranty replacement. That's what I call great customer service! What disappointed me is I had to contact them, the replacement had already been shipped with no notice to me.
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  5. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

    Interesting reading, for sure. Unfortunately, the author makes numerous claims that are not directly supported by any evidence. No doubt, most of it is grounded in fact but some is personal opinion.

    Interesting analysis but you left out two important facts that are relevant to amount of active ingredients absorbed relative to how long the vapor or smoke is held in.

    1) First, consider the nature of the lungs:

    The right lung has three sections called lobes. The left lung has two lobes. When you breathe, the air enters the body through the nose or the mouth. It then travels down the throat through the larynx (voice box) and trachea (windpipe) and goes into the lungs through tubes called mainstem bronchi.

    One mainstem bronchus leads to the right lung and one to the left lung. In the lungs, the mainstem bronchi divide into smaller bronchi and then into even smaller tubes called bronchioles. Bronchioles end in tiny air sacs called alveoli.

    The relevant fact is that the portion of lung capacity that is within the throat, larynx, trachea, mainstream bronchi and bronchioles is considerable and yet these portions of the total lung capacity are not designed to absorb oxygen and other compounds into the blood via osmosis in an efficient manner. However, oxygen and other compounds trapped in these areas can sill migrate into the alveoli (via diffusion) where they can be absorbed into the blood via osmosis. But this diffusion is not instantaneous, it takes time.

    2) Secondly, the fact that osmosis can only occur from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration is used to make the claim that the blood becomes saturated and can not absorb more. But this ignores that the heart is continuously circulating blood through the lungs alveoli and the new blood entering has a lower concentration of absorbed compounds than the blood exiting the alveoli.

    The result is that holding a hit in longer than 5 seconds will result in more absorption of the compounds inhaled. This is something I've experienced first-hand over the last few decades.

    Excellent news!

    I guess I'm surprised they would allow e-cigars into the event but not an e-pipe or e-vape like the Firefly.

    Because either one could be loaded with tobacco products or marijuana/hash oil.

    I do agree a smaller unit would be easier to conceal.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2014
  6. ShayWhiteGrow

    ShayWhiteGrow vAPEhOPPER

    Longmont, CO
    boy the knowledge of FC members never ceases to amaze me! Bravo!!:)
    VapoShop and Amoreena like this.
  7. fogbank

    fogbank Well-Known Member

    Holding a hit will also increase your C02 level in your blood, as 02 goes into the blood from the alveoli, and C02 goes into the alveoli from the blood. If you hold your hit the C02 is not expelled. The primary drive for humans to breath is not lack of oxygen but increased C02 levels. Increased C02 levels can contribute to a state of sleepiness called C02 narcosis (note the "narco" in the term, denoting "sleep producing"). Maybe this contributed to your experiences over the last few decades? What role does the exchange of C02 play in your gas diffusion argument? Do you know if the gas in the alveoli is saturated with C02 after a few seconds, which could prevent further "diffusion" of the oxygen from the dead space into the alveoli? Also it seems you are assuming that the diffusion of the THC into the blood from the alveoli creates a sufficient osmotic potential to allow more THC (now "diffused" into the alveoli) to pass through the barrier into the capillaries?

    At the end of the day, I think the question is not "do you absorb more THC by holding your hits longer", but rather "is it enough additional THC to make a difference?"

    I would say no.

    But what about how the gas is inhaled in the first place? I know that with my Firefly and my Solo I take loooong hits, 30 second inhalations or longer. That means that much of the gas is already in my lungs for 30 seconds or more, so there is some "hit holding" going on no matter how long I hold it after I complete the inhalation. On my Pinnacle Pro, however, I take very short inhalations and get denser vapor. Maybe there would be more benefit in holding a hit a little longer if your initial inhalation is shorter?

    I held my vapor hits as log as I could for years. I now hold them for 5 seconds maximum. I have noticed no difference in effects.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
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  8. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

    Please! After smoking bud for 35 years, I know the difference between oxygen starvation and being stoned. I figured that out the first time I smoked since I already had a lot of experience snorkeling and also seeing how long I could hold my breath (4 1/2 minutes when I was 14). One difference is that oxygen starvation goes away very quickly while getting more stoned could add an hour or more to your high. And of course one is pleasurable, the other - not so much. I'm guessing you know which is which.

    Of course individuals physiology varies considerably but, for me and any friend I've discussed this topic with, the difference is dramatic. I will say the technique is more useful for reaching a moderate level of "stonededness" with minimum material consumption than it is to get ultra-high.

    I would agree with that.

    Of course many variables affect the level of stonedness but one technique that can help is to take one more inhalation of fresh air to further fill the lungs a few seconds before exhaling. I do this primarily to conserve material while maximizing enjoyment. Others appear to get more enjoyment from letting as much smoke or vapor as possible escape which fills the area with more delicious aromas. Of course you will go through more material this way but different strokes for different folks.
  9. fogbank

    fogbank Well-Known Member

    C02 narcosis is not oxygen starvation. Unless functioning in a diseased state, the human body is compelled to breathe in response to elevated C02 levels, not decreased oxygen levels. I will concede, however, that it is unlikely that you would feel the effects of C02 narcosis for the duration of your high.

    While I still disagree with your belief that holding hits does anything to increase your high (or conserve material), I do agree with this point. The one thing that I think may increase absorption of THC is to draw more fresh air into your lungs before exhaling. I do this fairly often, after holding for a few seconds I draw more air in, hold for a few seconds, then exhale.

    Just to add to what @Adobewan said, the Pax STINKS compared to the Firefly. If there are any glaring deficiencies in the Pax when compared to the Firefly they would be smell and maintenance. And I list maintenance only because the Pax will frequently stop working altogether if not properly maintained. The Firefly requires a good bit of maintenance in the form of cleaning, but I have yet to see it stop working because it's dirty. It's primarily an aesthetic thing, because the Firefly just looks so much sexier when it's clean :)
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  10. Hoover

    Hoover Well-Known Member


    1) Diffusion within the anatomical deadspace is minimal at best; stagnant air, under pressure for short period of time.

    2) The hemoglobin within the blood picks up O² pretty quickly, but since it is moving quickly also, it does not "fill up" at one alveoli and move on, it picks it up O² gradually as it moves through pulmonary capillary bed until equilibrium is reached or is out of the area of gas exchange. It is quite common for arterial blood to leave the heart at less than 100% O² saturation. We inhale ~21% O² and exhale ~14-18%! Very little O² that is inhaled is absorbed by the blood.

    I'm not saying that holding your breath had not beneficial effect on the process, but it is not that big of a deal IMO. It also puts stress on the heart and reduces blood flow in the pulmonary system.

    CO² narcosis is pretty rare, and not relevent to normal semi-healthy people. Slight hypoxia is quite possible though, and may contribute to some of the "head rushes" or "body rushes" people get while medicating.

    Much of what you and I are saying is personal opinion too, along with some common sense, decades of smoking, and medical training. You and fogbank seem to have a good understanding of the functioning of the cardio-pulmonary system, as do I. This is a fun discussion!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2014
  11. fogbank

    fogbank Well-Known Member

    I plead guilty to introducing irrelevant information into the discussion :)

    I was aware that it was highly unlikely that @Dragonfly experienced C02 narcosis during his sessions. Thanks for calling me out on that.

    The information regarding diffusion in the dead space was something I forgot, thanks for bringing that up too.

    I'm curious about your comment "under pressure for short period of time". Air is drawn into the lungs via negative pressure. Perhaps at the apex of the breath, shortly before exhaling, the pressure turns positive? Are you considering negative pressure as being "under pressure"?
  12. syrupy

    syrupy Authorized Buyer

    I love this subject and have spent too much time searching 'holding breath thc absorbption' and other terms. It's amazing how much of the material is just based on a person's personal experiences.

    Apparently there was a study of this topic (at least for smoking cannabis):
    Azorlosa JL, Greenwald MK, Stitzer ML. (1995). Marijuana smoking: effects of varying puff volume and breathhold duration. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 272(2), 560-569.

    I found a summary of this paper.
  13. caliwisp

    caliwisp Cali Dreamin'

    Some bits and pieces for this discussion with info gathered from research on nicotine absorption. It turns out to be kind of an interesting and complex puzzle which no doubt has implications for cannabis.

    Nicotine can be absorbed through the nose (snuff, nasal sprays), oral tissues (nicotine gum, oral sprays, chewing tobacco, snuff), and skin (patches), in addition to the lungs. It can also be eaten and absorbed through the small intestine but the liver only leaves about 30% active in the blood.

    The pH (relative acidity/alkalinity) is a critical factor. If the source of the nicotine is alkaline it will readily be absorbed through oral tissues. This includes cigars, pipe tobacco, and nasal and oral use products. http://rxforchange.ucsf.edu/file_downloads/02 NICOTINE PHARMACOLOGY & PRINCIPLES OF ADDICTION.pdf

    Cigarettes (especially American ones) are acidic and need to be inhaled into the lungs for absorption to take advantage of the lungs' huge surface area (about the size of a tennis court!).

    Noncombusted nicotine (aerosolized as in a vaporizer) is absorbed through the oral mucosa instead of the lungs http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140226/srep04133/full/srep04133.html. Older generation ecigs were very inefficient delivery vehicles but the newer higher power models do a better job of delivering nicotine-saturated vapor.

    So, what is the pH of cannabis flowers? I am still searching. Anybody know? But I imagine as in tobacco, there is variation, due to environment (i.e., outdoor-grown is a more neutral pH environment, whereas hydroponic is usually kept more acidic). The beauty of the plant is that it is super hearty and can grow and thrive in so many different conditions: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cannabis+sativa. There is probably variation due to strain, and definitely curing (temperature and aging change the chemistry).

    The location of absorption might be different for concentrates too.

    Also, as everyone on here knows, vaporization at the right temperature and air to vapor mix makes a huge difference in absorption.

    Perhaps all these factors can explain why people have different opinions and experiences of whether holding in or not is necessary.
  14. syrupy

    syrupy Authorized Buyer

    @caliwisp what do you mean by the ph of flowers? I'm familiar with soil pH, or pH of solutions. How does one measure the pH of a cannabis flower itself? The powerpoint was mentioned that in smoking, nicotine is "distilled" from burning tobacco and carried on tar droplets. Were they measuring the pH of the nicotine-infused droplets or the underlying tobacco product?
  15. caliwisp

    caliwisp Cali Dreamin'

    Hi @syrupy I guess you'd have to munch up the flowers and do some lab tests on them; or whatever way they were able to determine that cigars are basic and cigarettes are acidic. I presumed it was before combustion. Got a lab kit at home? ;)
  16. Vapewithfire

    Vapewithfire Member

    I think its true, that a lot of thc is exhaled and lost, when you don´t wait long enough.

    Vapour is totally clean and not sticky. Means smoke sticks in your lung like a sticker, because it´s dirty and sticky, but vapour will leave your lung, when you don´t wait.

    When i vape a big bowl of 100 mg, i wait at least for some seconds, to exhale.
    When i vape with 2 puffs, it seems as the little amount of thc is absorbed faster.
    May be 10 % thc gets absorbed a second at big bowls, and 20 % at little bowls or puffs. 1 mg the second ?
  17. Been Vapin

    Been Vapin Fringe Class

    I just did a hit out of Sublimator. From inhale to exhale was about 30 seconds. Anymore time on the inhale I probably would pass out right there.
  18. tuk

    tuk Well-Known Member

    Great discussion guys, complicated subject with no obvious answer.

    Why does my vapour wand need weekly cleaning after low/moderate use?
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  19. Vapewithfire

    Vapewithfire Member

    This is no real dirt, it´s just kind of oil, i guezz.
    With dirty i mean condensate or toxic substances.

    You can see how clean normal vapour is, when you exhale through a toilet paper.
    No black or brown point on the paper, just orange or yellow.

    When you smoke and exhale through a toilet paper, you can see the brown or black points. It´s dirty and sticky.

    Sometimes i make vapsmoking, vaped with a bit of burning at the end, to get more stoned. The more is burned, the more brown points or dirt is visable at the paper. Not good for my health, but proofs, that you can see the condensate at the paper. If there is no dirt, i call the vapour clean.
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  20. tuk

    tuk Well-Known Member

    Don't think anyone would disagree that smoking is more dirty than vapour, I'm merely pointing out that vapour is not totally clean and non sticky as you suggest.....& the sticky stuff that collects in my wand is condensate.
  21. Vapewithfire

    Vapewithfire Member

    Than you are doing something wrong or using too high temp.
    The great thing at good vapes is that you don´t get any kind of condensate / tar, i red.
    When you vape with fire or too high temp., there can be condensate residues.

    As long as the weed is not burned, there should be no condensate. Condensate is the product of combustion. No combustion, no condensate / tar, i red.

    When you got a volcano, silver surfer or another good quality vape and use it on regular temp, and you discover some condensate in the vapour, they would have to take it back.

    I still think
    smoking is with much condensate. Brown to black on the paper.
    Vapsmoking ( mixture of both ) with low condensate. Orange to brown...
    Vaping ( with good vape on normal temp. ) with no condensate. Orange.
  22. herbivore21

    herbivore21 Well-Known Member

    We call those brown dirt points the 'skidmarks', my friend :)
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  23. max

    max Out to lunch

    How can the heating method possibly matter? The end product of vaporization is determined by temperature, not the method of heating.

    As for condensate, it's produced any time the temp is high enough to produce vapor. Condensation produces the residue that many reclaim from vape hardware.
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  24. Hoover

    Hoover Well-Known Member

    When you inhale and then hold your breath you are increasing intra-thoracic pressure for the amount of time your breath is held.

    Consider this. The anatomical deadspace works both ways, on inhalation and on exhalation. I think we can all agree that at the end of inhalation the air trapped in the upper airways does not participate in gas exchange. When we exhale we do not empty our lungs, the anatomical deadspace is filled with "old" air which is mixed with the new incoming air when we inhale again. There is still air/vapor left in the upper anatomical deadspace that is mixed with the incoming air.
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  25. Enchantre

    Enchantre Oil Painter

    WA USA
    "Condensate*" in this instance would be "combustion residue"

    As opposed to our usual understanding of it as the solid that settles out onto glass & everything else, when vapor cools.

    *lexicon item
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