Do you ever think that you could get high by sitting around people smoking cannabis? Well, it’s not just you who wonders about it. For medical patients who are continuously around people while smoking cannabis, this question takes a fraction of their worries too. There are reports about people developing lung and respiratory diseases after inhaling secondhand smoke from tobacco smokers. So what’s so different about cannabis? Is the concept of passive smoking true for medical cannabis too?
Well, we are going to dive into it today. So read along to find out if contact high is real and what an MMJ doctor has to stay about it.
What is Contact High?
Before we get into the details, it is best to understand the concept of contact high first. As you must have deciphered from the name, contact high is the concept of getting high by coming in contact with cannabis smoke.
Now, cannabis is psychoactive and is full of cannabinoids that cause an intoxicating feeling in the consumer. For a smoker, the inhalation does the trick of delivering the chemicals to the blood and causing a psychoactive effect or a high. But according to the concept of contact high, inhaling the exhaled smoke of cannabis can also cause a non-smoker to get high. So, if you have someone around you while you smoke your daily dose of medical herb, they may or may not end up feeling the same effects as you.
But this situation of contact high is concluded assuming the presence of cannabinoids in the exhaled smoke. So, are there any cannabinoids or THC left in the exhaled smoke? The answer is not straightforward.
Presence of THC in Exhaled Smoke
Contact high will stand true only if we can prove that the exhaled smoke is potent enough to affect a non-smoker. So is the exhaled cannabis smoke potent? A faint yes.
All the cannabis that one consumes is not 100 percent bioavailable. In simple words, not all cannabinoids in the smoke will be absorbed in the blood. In that case, there will be some level of THC and other cannabinoids present in the exhaled smoke. However, the level of the same is very subjective.
The potency of exhaled smoke will be based on a number of determining factors. For starters, let’s talk about the smoking technique of the consumer. If a smoker is experienced, he or she will know how much to inhale and for how long to get the best effects. In that case, you may not get a lot of residual cannabinoids in the smoke. But, in the case of a beginner, the exhaled smoke’s potency may be more. Similarly, factors such as the potency of the strain and the delivery method (joints or vapes) also affect the final result.
So is this potency enough to get a non-smoker high? Here’s the answer.
Will You Get High From Secondhand Smoke?
The answer to this question is yes and no. It’ll make sense when you read ahead.
Many experiments have been conducted to understand the concept of contact smoke. One of the most famously known studies is the one published by NCBI where two groups, consisting of both smokers and non-smokers are kept in a ventilated as well as non ventilated rooms. The smokers are given a joint to smoke while the other half of the people are still in the room. The results were surprising in both cases.
In the former scenario, THC was present in the body but not enough to get a positive drug test and get high. In the second setup, the non-smokers experienced mild effects with traces of THC in their urine test too.
What’s The Conclusion?
If you are smoking around people in a ventilated setting such as an open room or garden, there is little to no risk of contact high. However, there may be some degree of contact high in case the smokers and non-smokers are in an enclosed space with no ventilation. In urban slang, this scenario is called a hot box.
A cannabis doctor suggests being considerate of the comfort of other people and smoking in a private space only.
So, next time you are smoking around your family or are around cannabis smokers, remember to be in a ventilated area to avoid contact high.