Can You Really Get High From Secondhand Cannabis Smoking?

Can You Really Get High From Secondhand Cannabis Smoking?

Sometimes just walking into a room full of cannabis smokers is enough to get you high. You may wonder that you haven’t smoked a single toke but still something may just not feel right.

Why’s that?

More non-smokers worry about getting high around someone smoking cannabis.

Well, when you breathe in THC, you may get high. However, the effects of THC may vary from one person to another. Another factor affecting this is the quantity of smoke that you get exposed to.

Medical researchers agree that secondhand high is a rare occurrence. So you may want to step back on cancelling on seeing your stoner friends the next time. Keep reading along to learn what studies reveal about secondhand cannabis high.

What is Secondhand High?

When you inhale cannabis smoke in your lungs for a few seconds, you actually get small amounts of THC, and it may take a lot for you to feel high. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, and is also responsible for the famous euphoric sensation associated with cannabis intake.

Recent studies published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence and the Journal of Analytical Toxicology by researchers at Hopkins University found that contact highs are real in certain circumstances. They studied six smokers who were given 10 cannabis cigarettes and six non-smokers. All the participants were in a 10×13 foot room with ventilation switched off.

After spending an hour in the smoky room, the non-smokers felt pleasant, sleepy and hungry. Neither their blood nor urine showed a significant increase in THC levels.

If you’re at a concert, you may get a little high because of cannabis smoke from other smokers. But, it’s nothing like smoking a joint yourself. And, you will most likely fail a drug test checking for a contact high.

Cannabis smoke contains various toxins and carcinogens that are definitely present in directly inhaled marijuana smoke—however, amounts may vary. There’s not much research available on its health effects. And this is primarily why there’s concern that it can cause harmful effects, especially on children.

What Studies Have to Say?

Studies in the 1980s confirmed that in the case of secondhand high, the acute toxicity of marijuana was extremely low. Thus, it’s difficult to experience the effects when compared with direct inhalation. But a re-examination of the studies is required as cannabis has evolved a lot over time.

Cannabis cultivation techniques and technologies have now become advanced, and this directly has an impact on the THC potency. Now, a joint usually contains 60-150 mg of THC whereas, in the early 1970s, this amount was nowhere more than 10 mg. Thanks to Green revolution we now have dispensaries with more potent cannabis buds and a variety of other products. And this very parameter discards the basis of previous studies in the 60s and 70s.

Some researchers have found that the secondhand high smoke has the same health risks as tobacco smoke. While other researches show that cannabis smoke is less carcinogenic than cigarette smoke, so there’s not much concern about its effect on human health. And, unless you’re in a hot box, you need not be concerned about feeling any high.

And what about smelling marijuana in the air or walking through spaces where someone has smoked cannabis? Well you may get a whiff of it, but your body won’t feel a thing.

A 2016 study found that the answer can be YES or NO. Researchers concluded that room ventilation plays an important role in the exposure to contact a high from secondhand cannabis smoke. In extreme, unventilated conditions, there are higher chances of THC getting into your system, which can be detected in blood and urine.

According to another 2015 Johns Hopkins University study, it’s necessary to be in a space with extreme conditions suffering from poor ventilation to experience secondhand high effects.

What are The Side-Effects of Secondhand High Anyways?


Being around someone who is smoking cannabis for a long period of time can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded.


Medical researchers are discovering the effects of inhaling excessive cannabis smoke on mental health. They believe that marijuana smoke can be linked to some mental illnesses, such as depression. But then again we don’t really have any studies confirming this. Contrary to this you can still find several patients using cannabis to manage their anxiety and depression

Delayed Reaction Time

Smoking marijuana can be linked to delayed reaction time when driving. If your blood contains more THC from the contact high, you may experience similar effects.

Want to Say Goodbye to Secondhand Smoking Blues?

There is a very big difference in cannabis and tobacco smoke. And an even bigger one if it’s firsthand or secondhand smoke. With what we have learned above, you can expect to get bonked out if you are sitting in a small hot box with your beloved friends. Otherwise, secondhand cannabis smoke isn’t really something that should make you avoid your friends.

But if on a general note you feel cautious about smoking, you can always encourage and support your friends to switch to cannabis products. And if you are reluctant about trying cannabis as a medicine because of smoking, then there are several other options on the market shelves. You don’t have to smoke it anymore. You can also medicate yourself without getting high with CBD hemp products now legal across all 50 states in America. With a 420 doctors recommendation they can easily buy great alternative products that are actually much better than smoking. With OnlineMedicalCard, you can easily talk a licensed doctor online and see if you qualify for a medical marijuana card in your state.

The holiday season is almost here and you should surprise your friends with some great gifts that they just can’t say no to. You can easily browse several products online or just have them add something they love on their wishlist.

Moral of the story is that you need to beware of secondhand cannabis smoke if you often end up in a spaced out hotbox. Otherwise, its okay to carry on your social activities however you want to.

Still have questions about secondhand cannabis smoke? We would love to help. Start a conversation below.




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