Can You Fail A Drug Test From Secondhand Marijuana Smoke?
Sitting in a confined space like a car or walk-in closet and smoking tons of weed can be an excellent way to get super high. It might also seem like a great way to sneak some cannabis into your system if you’re quitting for a while because you’ll be drug tested. But will sitting in a space like this – even if you don’t smoke anything – cause you to fail a drug test from secondhand marijuana smoke?
Many a debate has been started about contact highs. How high can you get from sitting in a fishbowled (or hotboxed) room? Will you fail a drug test?
According to a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University, you can definitely fail a drug test – at least for a day.
For this study, researchers spent time specifically designing a room of plexiglass. The room was about 10′ x 13′, and contained a specially designed, adjustable ventilation system. This allowed the researchers to study the effects of different levels of smoke in the room.
Seven people ages 18 to 45 who smoked cannabis, but tested negative for other drugs including alcohol were recruited. Nonsmokers (who also tested negative for other drugs) were also subjected to secondhand smoke.
Six nonsmokers and six smokers were both placed on a table in this confined space, filled with secondhand cannabis smoke. Participants were given jumpsuits, booties, and goggles; to keep their clothing clean and smoke from affecting their eyes. Imagine that sight!
The sessions lasted an hour. Researchers ran multiple sessions with different levels of ventilation in the room.
After these procedures, nonsmokers would show symptoms of memory and cognition impairment, just from being in an enclosed space where cannabis was smoked. Smokers with a heavier tolerance would show fewer of these effects.
People are usually exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke at some point in their life – the scenario in this study was an extreme instance. It would be possible for nonsmokers to test positive after a drug test; although it was less likely. Smokers, on the other hand, would.
This study was conducted in 2015. These findings are significant – the last time a comprehensive study of cannabis exposure was conducted was in the 1980s. Since then, cannabis potency has nearly tripled – meaning its effects have as well.
In the 1980s, there were not so many different crossbred potent strains, and the push for legalization was not in full effect yet. The cannabis that was smoked was entirely different when these tests were done. This research, conducted in May of 2015 at Johns Hopkins University, is the first in-depth analysis of the topic in a long time.
Additionally, the study done in the 1980s did not look at whether or not nonsmokers reported effects from cannabis exposure. On the contrary, this study examined the effects that cannabis had on nonsmokers’ behavior. The study noted mild intoxication, as well as mild impairment of cognitive performance.
This study is also the first to look at the quality of the ventilation in a room full of secondhand smoke.
So, if you hotbox a car, or are sitting in a room with others smoking weed and you’re trying to pass a drug test – you may not, at least for a day. Nice to know.