The room is full of cannabis smoke, there’s a thick skunky fog swirling between you and those actually partaking in the herb. You haven’t so much as touched a joint or bowl, but you feel kinda funny…is it your imagination? Or is it a contact high? Is it possible to be affected by cannabis just by being near it?
Since Colorado legalized cannabis in 2012, its popularity has increased significantly in the United States. With the legal risks eliminated in several states, the stigma of using cannabis fading, and new information about its possible benefits coming out all the time – cannabis has come out of the closet and into the world. But as it’s more accepted in social situations and even cannabis lounges start to open, it’s become increasingly important to know how it affects bystanders.
Putting Contact High to the Test
As it turns out, people have been wondering about this phenomenon for a long time. A study was done in 1986 that exposed non-smokers to the smoke from either 4 or 16 joints in an enclosed room. The results found THC in their urine and plasma. Not surprisingly, there was a higher percentage of it in those exposed to more smoke. However, cannabis has changed significantly since then, with cultivation becoming a careful art and average THC levels nearly doubling. How would that affect the potential of getting a contact high?
In 2015 a group of scientists decided to tackle this gap in information. They conducted a study that used flower with 11.3% THC, compared to only 5.3% in the study nearly three decades earlier. They also tested the effects of ventilation, as cannabis exposure generally happens in less-enclosed situations than previously tested. The study put 6 non-smokers and 6 frequent smokers together in a smallish room, with the smokers puffing away at cannabis joints the whole time – 10 whole joints in an hour! They did this test twice, once without ventilation and once with.
And the Results Are In…
Without ventilation the subjects reported feeling “pleasant,” a “good drug effect” (vs bad), had higher heart rates, and THC showed up in their blood and urine. Ventilation made all the difference though, with that group reporting little effect and having no THC appear in their bodies. Some in the ventilated group did report feeling hungry; though that’s likely incidental and not the munchies, as it was approaching lunch time.
So, all-in-all: You probably aren’t going to get a contact high unless you’re in an extreme situation, a ‘hot box,’ a small unventilated room of some sort. (The car from the movie ‘Up in Smoke’ comes to mind…) But if you find yourself in a cannabis-filled situation and are concerned about getting a contact high because you’re the designated driver, or about THC appearing in your body, be sure that you’re near an open window or another form of ventilation.
If, on the other hand, you’re counting on a contact high for a bit of buzz, it may be better to actually partake in smoking or vaping in order to ensure you get the high you want.
Whatever your goal, Have a Heart has the quality cannabis products you need to help you get the high you want. Stop by your local Have a Heart dispensary location and speak to our friendly budtenders to find your ideal strain or product.