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Aug 22 2016
by Natalie Day

The Real Effects of Secondhand Smoke From Marijuana

By Natalie Day - Aug 22 2016
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There are plenty of rumors and theories we’ve all heard about the secondhand effects of marijuana. However, we all wonder what's actually true and what’s just rumor. Here you go – the truth about the secondhand effects of marijuana, in case you happen to be exposed to it in college. 

Can you get high from secondhand marijuana smoke?

In order to get high from exposure to marijuana smoke, you’d have to be in a highly concentrated space. This is often called hotboxing, when a small space is closed off and there is no ventilation for marijuana smoke. Anyone enclosed in the space can experience a high. Recently, John Hopkins School of Medicine did a study confirming this. You can read in depth about the study here. The study also concluded that something as simple as opening a window can eliminate the effects of marijuana on those that aren't partaking in smoking. Only intense exposure causes a high, answering our question. Yes, you can get high from secondhand exposure, however only if you are in a space without ventilation.

Can you fail a drug test after being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke?

Many people wonder if it's possible to fail a drug test after being around others smoking marijuana. When taking a urine test, the THC level in your body is being tested. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. Researchers did a study on the effect of exposure on urine tests in non-smokers. The results, described in detail here, show that some tests were positive in parts of the study that included high concentration and low ventilation. Based on this study, it is unlikely that a non-smoker would fail a urine test outside of these conditions.  

Are there dangerous health risks that come with exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke?

A popular theory of the health risks of marijuana smoke is that exposure can reduce blood vessel function. Reduced blood vessel function can lead to hardened arteries and potentially a heart attack. The American Heart Association studied this theory on rats. They compared a minute of tobacco smoke inhalation to a minute of marijuana smoke inhalation. The results were scary in that it took three times as long for the blood to return to normal in the rats exposed to marijuana smoke. This research is a huge breakthrough because it is the first time it has been proved that marijuana smoke can be harmful. This is something to be careful of with more states legalizing it's medical and recreational use.

The effects of secondhand marijuana smoke are very significant if the exposure is in a highly concentrated, enclosed environment. However, with new research, we are beginning to become aware if the health risks of inhalation. It’s important to be careful if you choose to smoke or be around secondhand smoke, as you may be putting yourself at risk.

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Natalie Day - Columbia College Chicago

Natalie Day is a freshman at Columbia College Chicago and is double majoring in acting and writing. She has traveled to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Jamaica for mission trips. Natalie spends her free time binge watching Netflix and working on her life long goal of becoming an old dog lady. Follow Natalie on Twitter and Instagram @nat__day.

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