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Can You Get High From Smelling Weed? It’s Possible, But Unlikely

Cannabis, with its distinctive aroma, has been a hot topic in Canada and globally due to its increasing acceptance for both medical and recreational use.

But amidst all the hype, there’s a burning question that a lot of people, particularly our fellow Canadians, are asking – “Can you get high from smelling weed?” or what’s often referred to as a “contact high”.

As connoisseurs of high-grade cannabis, BMWO is here to unravel this mystery for you.

Can You Get High From Secondhand Weed Smoke? An In-depth Look

The notion of getting high from secondhand weed smoke often sparks a debate, and the truth is, it’s highly unlikely.

But to provide a more comprehensive understanding, it’s essential to note that the effects of secondhand cannabis smoke are not black and white.

Let’s delve into the nuanced landscape and understand under what circumstances you could potentially get high.

Also read: Do Weed Edibles Smell?

You Can Get High If:

To reiterate, it’s not utterly impossible to experience a ‘contact high’ from secondhand weed smoke, but it requires a confluence of specific conditions.

If these conditions are met, the resulting ‘high’ is typically quite mild and short-lived, unlike the more potent effects experienced by the person directly smoking the cannabis.

1. You’re in a Poorly Ventilated Area

The first factor contributing to a potential contact high is the setting where you’re exposed to the smoke.

Recent scientific studies[1][2] have indicated that unventilated spaces increase the chances of a contact high.

These are spaces where the smoke can’t easily disperse, like small, enclosed rooms. It’s a stark contrast to open-air environments, where you’re likely to encounter secondhand smoke in everyday life.

The chances of getting high from secondhand smoke in open spaces are virtually nil.

2. High Concentration of Smoke

The second critical factor is the amount of smoke present.

A room filled with a high concentration of cannabis smoke increases the likelihood of a contact high.

We’re not talking about an occasional puff of smoke passing by, but an environment so saturated with marijuana smoke you can practically taste it.

3. Prolonged Exposure

Finally, the duration of exposure plays a pivotal role. In order to experience any effects from secondhand cannabis smoke, you’d need to be in the smoke-filled environment for an extended period.

An incidental whiff of marijuana smoke won’t lead to an altered state of consciousness. Instead, prolonged exposure in a confined, smoke-filled space is necessary to potentially experience any effects.

What are the Possible Effects From Secondhand Marijuana Smoking?

So, we’ve already established that catching a ‘contact high’ from secondhand marijuana smoke is highly unlikely.

However, that doesn’t mean that exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke is entirely consequence-free.

Read also: Do True Feelings Come Out When High

It’s important to remember that, just like any type of smoke, marijuana smoke contains a multitude of different compounds, some of which can impact non-smokers in various ways.

Short-term Effects

The short-term effects of exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke are usually mild and fleeting.

These may include a dry cough, irritated eyes, or a scratchy throat – the typical symptoms you’d associate with being in a smoky environment.

It’s also worth noting that, if the conditions are right (as in a closed, poorly ventilated space with a high concentration of smoke), some individuals might experience a slight and temporary light-headedness or feelings of euphoria.

Recommended article: Why Does My Poo Smell Like Marijuana?

Long-term Effects

As for the long-term effects, the research is still evolving.

What we know for sure is that marijuana smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals as tobacco smoke, including carcinogens. That’s a bit alarming, given what we know about the long-term effects of secondhand tobacco smoke.

But it’s essential to keep in mind that the level of exposure most people have to secondhand marijuana smoke is nowhere near the level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. As such, while it’s a topic that certainly warrants further research, it’s not a cause for panic.

The primary concern here is respiratory health.

Just like any smoke, marijuana smoke can irritate the lungs and could potentially exacerbate pre-existing conditions like asthma.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you’re regularly exposed to large amounts of secondhand marijuana smoke, it might be worth having a chat with your doctor about how to protect your lungs.

Also check: Why Does My Smell Suddenly Smell Like Weed?


One lesser-known potential effect of secondhand marijuana smoke is the possibility of an allergic reaction.

Marijuana, like any plant, has proteins that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

So if you find yourself sneezing or developing a rash after exposure to marijuana smoke, you might have an allergy.

FAQs about Smelling Cannabis

Okay, here are some related questions about ‘can smelling weed get you high’ that you might want to look into as well before we end this topic.

Can you get high from smelling raw weed?

No, smelling raw marijuana does not cause a high.

The psychoactive effects of marijuana are caused by the compound THC, which is activated through the process of decarboxylation, typically occurring when the plant is heated (such as in smoking or cooking).

Therefore, simply smelling the plant in its raw form won’t result in the psychoactive effects associated with THC.

Does secondhand weed smoking show up on drug tests?

It’s theoretically possible, but highly unlikely.

A 2015 study showed that non-smokers in a small, unventilated room with heavy marijuana smoke did have detectable levels of THC in their urine. However, typical levels of exposure are usually far less and unlikely to lead to a positive result on a drug test.

Can secondhand weed smoke affect a child’s health?

Yes, exposure to secondhand smoke, including marijuana smoke, can impact a child’s health.

Secondhand smoke can cause various respiratory problems and exacerbate conditions such as asthma. In addition, there’s ongoing research into the potential impact of secondhand marijuana smoke on cognitive and neurological development.

As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid exposing children to any kind of smoke.

In conclusion, while it’s theoretically possible to get high from secondhand weed smoke, the reality is that the stars really have to align for it to happen. The key takeaway here? You can rest easy knowing that walking past someone smoking a joint isn’t going to leave you feeling buzzed.

At BMWO, we believe in the power of knowledge and the importance of safe cannabis consumption. Your well-being is paramount to us, and we strive to equip you with trustworthy, up-to-date information on all aspects of cannabis.

Our aim? To be your go-to resource for cannabis education and your trusted partner for high-quality products.

So if you’re puffing, passing, or just contemplating cannabis from a distance, remember we’re here to ensure your journey is safe, informed, and enjoyable.

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