Is It Possible to Get a Secondhand High?

Exposure to secondhand smoke is of concern to many people. However, not many people think about contact highs or secondhand highs to cannabis. Some people can wander around and not get lightheaded from someone else’s smoke. Other people might get really affected. Find out more about secondhand highs and whether there is truth to the idea of getting high from secondhand smoke. 


Can You Get Secondhand High?

Exposure to marijuana can affect a person’s body and mind. They might feel lightheaded or may feel a slight ‘buzz.’ Whether a person feels good or not depends on many factors. Some people never find the effect of cannabis pleasant while others try different kinds to find one that works for them, especially when it is medicinal. The term ‘hotboxing’ is more relevant for secondhand smoke effects where a person sitting in an unventilated space with someone smoking might feel the effects. Walking down the street, a person is less likely to experience any effects. Blood and urine tests might also show up positive for THC when sitting in closed quarters with smokers, even if you never smoked it yourself.


Active Ingredients

The lungs absorb most of the THC when cannabis is inhaled. THC and other cannabinoids make it into the smoke about half the time, which is inhaled into the body. People with experience smoking can inhale, hold the smoke, and ingest the cannabinoids into the bloodstream. A passive inhaler is unlikely to get much effect from this. The cannabinoids mostly disappear before they ever reach someone else. THC potency has also increased with joints having approximately 60-150 mg of THC or more. The potency is far greater than weed from previous decades. Marijuana smoke is less carcinogenic than cigarette smoke.


Is Second Hand Exposure to Weed Dangerous?

Research is still being conducted on whether second-hand exposure to weed is dangerous. For children, any inhalation of smoke from cigarettes or weed will impact them differently than adults. It is best to keep exposure for children to a minimum by using proper ventilation. Although less common, a secondhand high can result in slowed reaction time, dizziness, lethargy, and other effects. As long as the space is ventilated well and people are mindful of others when they smoke, secondhand smoke should not be considered risky.

There is no conclusive evidence most people will feel secondhand smoke effects walking through a cloudy room or open walkway where people smoke. To feel the ‘high,’ most people need to experience it for themselves, or within an unventilated room with lots of smoke. In order to catch a secondhand high, you would have to have extreme conditions that most people won’t experience. The best way to know how secondhand smoke might impact you is to ask friends or family who smoke. If you or a loved one smokes, be aware of those around you. Cannabis users should be mindful of being in ventilated spaces or not smoking too much around others who don’t want to be around the smoke. This is the best way to ensure everyone has a good experience, whether or not they want to be surrounded by the smoke from someone lighting up.



Mary and Main aims to help educate consumers on products and services they can access in Maryland.

Contact us to find out how we can help you select the best products for your situation.


Table of Contents

View More From Our Blog

Scroll to Top

Choose An Option