Can You Get a Secondhand High or Contact High?
Every time you are exposed to marijuana smoke, you risk getting high, regardless of whether or not you’re the one smoking. This includes secondhand smoke, which can lead to an effect known as a secondhand high or contact high.
However, contact highs are rarer than most people think. Although infrequent, you should always be aware of the potential risks of secondhand marijuana smoke. Remember that if you are near someone who smokes weed, it’s still possible to get contact high, which will affect how well you drive or perform other tasks involving coordination.
This article will go over the basics about contact highs, how they are possible, and why most people don’t get them.
What Is a Secondhand or Contact High?
A contact high occurs when marijuana smoke is inhaled by someone who isn’t smoking it directly. Your chances of getting a secondhand high will depend on several factors, including how much marijuana is smoked, how potent the smoke is, and how many other people are smoking in the room you’re in.
Since smoke lingers in the air, it can affect your chances of exposure via inhalation, even if it’s hours after marijuana has been smoked.
If you experience a contact high, it may go away within minutes. But it’s important to note that some people have reported feeling the effects of a secondhand or contact high for hours.
Who Should Avoid Marijuana Smoke?
If you’re around someone that’s pregnant or nursing, be especially mindful to avoid exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke. Marijuana has been shown to cross the placental barrier, which means your baby could get exposed if their mother uses it while she’s pregnant.
It must also be avoided by anyone who doesn’t want to become intoxicated. It’s also not a good idea for anyone with a heart condition, lung disease, high blood pressure, asthma, or kidney problems. If you have any of these disorders or plan on being around someone who does, it’s imperative to avoid exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke.
Not everyone reacts the same way when they come into close contact with marijuana smoke—some people may feel nothing. In contrast, others notice feeling lightheaded or dizzy after being around someone smoking weed for just a few minutes. Additional research still needs to be performed on how secondhand marijuana smoke compares to other types of secondhand smoke, but it’s best to exercise caution if you are unsure.
If you happen to be around someone smoking weed and end up feeling high, there is no health risk from it unless you have one of the conditions that marijuana is known to be harmful to. Secondhand smoke is not recommended for anyone with a heart condition, lung disease, high blood pressure, or kidney problems. It can also make asthma symptoms worse.
If you feel high due to secondhand marijuana smoke, avoid doing tasks that require full attention, like driving or operating machinery. If you feel high after inhaling the smoke, wait until it wears off, and your reaction time and ability to drive will return to normal.