“Those who sneeze without a tissue…take matter into their own hands.” Now that the terrible pun is out of the way, we can get down to the matter at hand (which is hopefully not the remnants of your sneeze) on why certain THC vapes make you sneeze. Most users are familiar with the more prominent side effects of vaping THC, such as hacking coughs, dry mouth, and red eyes. Yet if you find yourself sneezing after you take your initial hit of your THC vape pen, you may be wondering why. There are several possible reasons and we’ll tackle those in just a few short paragraphs. Before we get into that, it’s important to understand what many THC vapes contain and how they’re made.
Defining “THC Vapes”
For the sole purpose of clarification in this article, when the term “THC vape” is used, it’s simply referring to a vape that contains THC and only 0.3% at that. There are vape pens out there that contain much high quantities of THC, but those aren’t typically legal unless you live in a marijuana-friendly state or live near a dispensary. For all hemp-derived cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC, Farm Bill Compliant Delta-9 THC, THC-O, HHC, and others, the amount of THC found in these compounds will be at 0.3% or below to be considered federally legal.
What Are THC Vapes?
Several years ago, it became increasingly popular to add liquid THC to traditional vape e-liquid to deliver a more intense vaping experience for the user. Unfortunately, poor judgment and inexperience caused many users to become severely ill, leading to a media frenzy where both THC and vaping were condemned as vile and dangerous devices. While it’s true that this was indeed a major faux pas for both vaping and THC, manufacturers have since perfected the art of combining THC cannabinoids and vape oil into a safe product known as an inhalable product called a THC vape.
According to the NCBI, THC vapes are a glass tank or disposable cartridge that contains a battery-operated power source, a heating element, and a wick. The liquid within these cartridges is a proprietary blend of various cannabinoids (either psychoactive or non-psychoactive), terpenes, solvents that act as thinning agents, and may have flavor added to them. These vapes can be draw-activated or utilize a firing button that transforms the liquid into a vapor. The user inhales the vapor and exhales after a few seconds, thus delivering a fast-acting high in a matter of minutes.
Possible Reasons For Sneezing After Using Vapes
There are several reasons why you might feel the familiar tickling sensation in your nose after taking your initial puff. Some of them are unique to the user while others may be a tell-tale sign of certain ingredients in the vape. Here’s some possible culprits that may explain why you can’t resist the noisy “Achoo!” after you use a THC inhalable.
Did you know that it’s possible to be allergic to cannabis? Granted, this allergy isn’t all that common, but it’s worth noting that some people may be susceptible to the strong aroma of cannabis proteins in the plant. Certain individuals may have an immune system that detects these proteins and incorrectly label them as allergens, thus causing you to sneeze. This is why it’s always a good idea to consult with your primary care physician prior to trying a product for the first time. If you do find yourself sneezing, consider going to see your doctor for a full panel of allergy tests.
We’ve touched on what terpenes are in a previous article entitled “What Are Terpenes?” If you’re not familiar with what terpenes are or what they do, feel free to read the article to enhance your understanding of these fascinating elements. For those just looking for the abridged definition, terpenes are responsible for the taste, scent, and flavor of the cannabis plant. Terpene flavors can be skunky, citrusy, piney, etc., but play a major role in what you taste and ultimately, what you smell.
Many brands use the naturally occurring terpenes but may occasionally add additional terpenes in for a richer flavor. Certain terpenes that carry a strong citrus or pine scent can be more irritating once oxidized, causing you to sneeze uncontrollably upon smelling the vapor. Terpenes can also become more irritating as they’re heated, which is why most THC vapers will limit their wattage and temperatures to the lowest setting.
THC Oil Ingredients
We mentioned earlier the ingredient list of common THC vapes, one of which was a thinning agent. Back in the early days of THC vapes, many companies would incorporate polyethylene glycol as a filler to make the oil not as viscous. Using PEG as a thinning agent allowed the thick oil to pass more fluidly through the atomizer and heating element, thus allowing an easier vaping experience. The majority of brands have opted to use pure extracts rather than thinning agents. However, there are a handful of brands that continue to use PEG in their vape cartridges.
Scientists have since realized that PEG has a tendency to break down into formaldehyde, a toxic gas that can cause coughing and choking from even the slightest inhalation. PEG can also be tainted with ethylene oxide, a chemical that is known to burn the tissue in the lungs. To avoid consuming these toxins, it’s important that the brand you’re considering buying from has a complete list of test results for their vape cartridges. Not only do these tests ensure purity and potency, but the independent labs will also test for harmful pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and more.
Can Heat Make You Sneeze?
If you’ve confirmed that the THC vape you’re using is both pure and potent and you’re still feeling that nasal tickle, there’s another possibility. Cannabis concentrates like THC oil, live resin, and other inhalable products require some form of heat in order to use. You’ll remember that vape cartridges require a heating element to transform the liquid into a vapor. There are different wattages and temperatures that are required in order to heat the liquid properly without burning it. Depending on how high of a temperature or wattage the device (whether it be pre-set by the manufacturer or specifically setup on your device), the high heat may cause the irresistible urge to sneeze.
How Long Of A Hit You Take
Another thing to consider is how long of a drag you take. The longer the pull, the amount of vapor (and heat) will be greater. If your wattage is set somewhat low but your hits consist of more than a second or two, the growing intensity of the hit may cause you to quite literally wrinkle your nose in discomfort and “achoo!” Even if the cannabis concentrate or oil is pure, the amount of vapor inhaled may trigger your inner sneeze detector and launch you into a sneezing frenzy.
Trying A New THC Vape Strain For The First Time
Brand loyalty runs deep in the cannabis community as users find their favorite strains and stick with them. Yet every so often, users will get the itch to branch out with different companies and products. Depending on the ingredients and strains in new products, you may find yourself sneezing as your lungs are introduced to a new product for the first time. The sneezing fits may subside as your body becomes more accustomed to the vapor, which is why brands cautiously advise 1-3 puffs as an initial dosage.
There are many reasons why you may find yourself sneezing without warning when you inhale the vapor from a THC vape. We’ve listed several possible explanations, but there’s no exact reason that applies to everyone. The same is true of coughing, reddened eyes, dry mouth, munchies, and any of the other side effects brought on by consuming a psychoactive cannabinoid. If you realize that a particular strain or flavor of THC vape causes you to sneeze, make sure you have a glass of water and tissues within arms reach.
Here at TwoHawk Extracts, our exquisite collection of vape cartridges and disposables comes in a variety of flavors, strains, and cannabinoids. From Delta-8 THC, Farm Bill Compliant Delta-9 THC, HHC, and THC-O, we’ve got sativas, indicas, and hybrids ready and waiting for you. Our entire catalog has been subjected to testing by independent third-party labs to ensure the absence of harmful pesticides, thinners, filler, heavy metals, and other toxins. The resulting product is a pure and potent experience that will deliver a blissful euphoria in a matter of minutes. In our next article, we’ll be discussing a new cannabinoid that’s recently hit the markets: Delta-9o. Be sure to check back soon for this and other cannabis-related topics in the very near future. Hope to see you there!