Do your friends or family members ever say they’re worried about getting a contact high?
It might have been a passing comment at a concert. Or maybe they leave the room every time you smoke, saying they don’t want to get high or they won’t be able to drive home. Even your usual cannabuddies may worry about secondhand marijuana smoke if they have a drug test coming up and need to abstain from your next joint.
But can secondhand marijuana smoke really get you high?
Let’s look at how much THC enters your bloodstream through secondhand smoke, and whether it’s possible to get a contact high or fail a drug test.
Why You Won’t Get a Contact High (Under Normal Circumstances)
Exhaled cannabis smoke contains very little THC.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, you’d have to sit in an unventilated room with 16 burning joints before you started feeling high.
When a 2015 study out of Johns Hopkins University tested the effects of secondhand cannabis smoke on non-smokers, they concluded that it would require “extreme, unventilated conditions” before enough THC could enter your system to be detectable.
So while it’s possible to get high or test positive for cannabis from secondhand smoke, it’s very unlikely under normal circumstances.
It’s worth noting that the cannabis used in many studies is significantly weaker than the bud you buy from your local marijuana dispensary. You still aren’t likely to feel the effects of secondhand smoke in a large or well-ventilated area, but it is technically possible if you’re in a hot-boxed car… or your friends are prone to blowing smoke directly in your face.
Let’s Say You Do Get a Contact High… What Now?
As we said, chances are you won’t get a contact high from spending time with cannabis smokers. But it is technically possible.
The question at this point becomes one of degrees. How high will you get? And will the cannabinoids that enter your system be enough to test positive in a blood or urine screening?
How high can you get from secondhand smoke? Not very. It takes extreme circumstances (10 joints consumed in an unventilated 10-foot-by-13-foot room in one hour) before non-smokers will experience even “minor physiological and subjective drug effects, and minor impairment on a task requiring psychomotor ability and working memory.”
How high you feel is still subjective, however. If you start to notice the effects of THC from secondhand smoke, try moving to another room or opening a window to give yourself a bit of fresh air.
Can you inhale enough secondhand smoke to fail a drug test? Not likely. You won’t typically inhale enough cannabinoids from exhaled marijuana smoke to show up in a drug screening. If you do inhale enough to be detectable in blood or urine, it’s highly unlikely they’ll surpass the levels needed to fail a drug test (and the cannabinoid levels will decrease after just a few hours anyway).
No Contact High. No Worries.
The next time a friend or family member says they’re worried they’ll get a contact high, just share this article so you can get back to your joint without them leaving early.
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