Cannabis Secondhand Smoke: Will It Show On A Drug Test?
A lot of people worry about how drug tests work concerning THC. Informing yourself about what you can or cannot do will be half the way to passing one successfully. Be sure you know how secondhand smoke from marijuana will affect your chances.
Cannabis has been associated with misconceptions and myths for a long time. Because of this, it’s no surprise that secondhand weed smoke would also be linked with dangerous consequences. Today, we’ll go through whether you can get high from secondhand smoke, and if this is enough to make you fail a drug test.
EFFECTS OF PASSIVE SMOKING
Whether in an intentional hotbox, an indoor sesh, or a cannabis coffeeshop environment, there will often be people present who don’t smoke. These are people that came for the friends and not for a few tokes of the dank. As such, these are also the people that worry researchers and government agencies; is secondhand smoke harming these individuals?
The inhalation of smoke will always be harmful. But if you’re worried about joining your friends on a smoke sesh every once in a while, don’t be. Especially if its cannabis smoke and not tobacco one. Secondhand smoke won’t kill you prematurely, nor will it create any health issues. Just don’t take your child to that environment. Although health consequences are a concern, you can’t really get high from a hotbox if you’re not smoking.
In order for your body to test positive for THC from a hotbox session, you’d have to be surrounded by smoke for hours. And furthermore, the reason hotbox highs are often more intense is mostly due to an abundance of CO₂ and slight oxygen deprivation. If you’re a past smoker or are on a tolerance break, it might also be your brain playing tricks on you. Your brain will link the weed smell to a feeling it remembers.
WILL I FAIL MY DRUG TEST FROM SECONDHAND SMOKE?
So, you were at a party having a conversation with a cool stoner. You inhaled a decent quantity of secondhand smoke and forgot you have that drug test in a couple of days. You obviously don’t want to lose your job. But before you dive into an insane detox to flush out the THC, we have good news for you. A 2004 paper concluded that “. the risk of positive oral fluid tests from passive cannabis smoke inhalation is limited to a period of approximately 30 min following exposure”. This seems fair enough. Just make sure you stay away from joints 30 minutes before your drug test.
A 2010 study also looked at cannabinoid concentrations in the blood and urine of people after being in a highly attended Amsterdam coffeeshop for 3 hours. The results showed that indeed the subject absorbed THC, but in miniscule quantities, not enough to get them high. In the blood, THC was only detectable for less than 6 hours. And this will probably be the closest to reality that a study can be on the subject.
This should be enough to relax you. But you should not take this to the extreme. It would still not be smart to hang around a lot of burning marijuana during the days, if not couple of weeks, leading up to a drug test. Research isn’t abundant on the subject, and there is still a lot for us to learn about cannabis. It will always depend on the THC contents of the weed your friends are smoking, how many are smoking, for how long, and where. All of this to say, you can and should be relaxed about this issue, but use your brain as well.
Find out if joining your friends for a smoke session will make you fail your next drug test, even if you're not partaking. The answer lies within!
Could Second-Hand Pot Smoke Make You Fail a Marijuana Test?
Many people assume that simply being around pot-smokers and marijuana smoke isn’t likely to result in trouble during a drug test, and that has been the general scientific consensus.
But as weed has gotten more potent, scientists decided to investigate if secondhand smoke from strong strains of cannabis could lead to positive drug test results.
Urine tests look for a metabolite, or bodily by-product of THC, the chemical that accounts for many of marijuana’s psychoactive properties. In recent years, many strains of marijuana have been bred to contain more THC.
So researchers paired several regular pot smokers and nonsmokers and put them in a sealed compartment together for an hour, while one smoked a joint containing a relatively strong strain of marijuana.
The 12 nonsmoking participants were then tasked with peeing into a cup 13 times over the next 34 hours. Their urine was tested for 9-carboxy-THC, the marijuana metabolite commonly measured in standard drug tests.
The results, published this month in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, gives nonsmokers with weed-using friends reason to breathe easy. The scientists found urine levels of this metabolite surpassed typically detectable levels (50 nanogram per milliliter) in only one experiment participant, and this happened during a brief window four to six hours after exposure.
Using a more sensitive test, however, which is not usually employed in the workplace, scientists could detect blood THC levels above the 20 nanogram per milliliter in several participants in the hours after exposure. But these concentrations dipped below this threshold for all participants within 24 hours, according to the study, conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and elsewhere.
Positive tests are “likely to be rare” from secondhand smoke, the authors concluded, “limited to the hours immediately post-exposure, and occurring only under environmental circumstances where exposure is obvious.” Like, for example, sealing yourself in a car with several smokers for several hours and then peeing in a cup shortly thereafter.
When researchers ventilated the smoking chamber, thus making the smoke fumes less concentrated, the urine levels of THC’s metabolite did not come close to reaching the 50 nanogram per milliliter threshold for any participant.
Science has the answer.