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© 2020 Arkansas Marijuana Card

  • Ashley Slimak

Can You Really Get a Contact High from Marijuana Smoke?


Can you get contact high from secondhand smoke? [Source: NPR]

You have likely heard people talk about the possibility of getting high from being near someone who is smoking or vaping marijuana products. This is known as a contact high or secondhand high.


Patients who now have access to medical marijuana in Arkansas may hear concerns about a contact high from their family or friends. There are people who are worried that they will get high and test positive for marijuana on a drug test if they are near someone smoking or vaping cannabis.


This begs the question, can you really get high from secondhand marijuana smoke?


Scientists have examined the effects of secondhand cannabis smoke. In a 2015 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, researchers enlisted the help of cannabis smokers and non-smokers to determine how exactly inhaled cannabis smoke could impact bystanders.


This study consisted of two iterations. In the first, six smokers and six non-smokers entered a small, unventilated room for one hour. During this hour, each of the smokers was required to smoke ten cannabis joints with 11.3% marijuana (this is a very large quantity of cannabis).

In the second part of the study, six smokers and six different non-smokers entered the same room, but this time it was ventilated. In one hour, the smokers were required to smoke the same quantity as in the first iteration.

To prevent contact highs, it is best to smoke in a well ventilated room. [Source: Healthline]

What the researchers found was that exposure to high levels of secondhand cannabis smoke in a small, unventilated room can lead to a contact high. Not only did the non-smokers exhibit behavioral, cognitive, and psychological symptoms of inebriation, but some of them also tested positive for THC in a urine test.


Under ventilated conditions, however, no symptoms of inebriation were found and the levels of THC in the non-smokers’ systems were far less. This low level would not result in a failed drug test.


This research demonstrates that you can get high from contact with medical marijuana smoke, but it would need to be excessive quantities of smoke in a poorly ventilated area.


Tips to Avoid a Contact High


If it incredibly unlikely that a medical marijuana patient will find themselves in a situation with the level and duration of secondhand cannabis smoke that would lead to a contact high. But if you have someone close to you who is concerned about secondhand smoke, it is best to ensure that they feel comfortable.


To limit exposure, smoke in a well-ventilated area. The outdoors is the best choice, but you can increase ventilation indoors by opening a window or door, or by using a fan to increase air circulation.


Arkansas Marijuana Card Doctor

If you are an Arkansan suffering from one of these 18 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.


Click here to learn more about what Arkansas Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (844-249-8714) and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.