California and Washington wildfires burned up big chunks of land in recent years, and certain blazes affected areas with significant cannabis farms and crops. For people within distance of the fumes, it begs the question, will the secondhand cannabis smoke get me high?
In theory, if people set up hot box-style tents near the flames, the smoke could arguably get them high, but this would be an unimaginably stupid stunt to attempt. Besides the risks of lethal smoke inhalation and getting burnt to a crisp, the fumes can contain poison oak, chemicals and other undesirable substances that can make people sick, per Hezekiah Allen of Emerald Growers Association via The Guardian. Furthermore, the American Lung Association notes that not even standard dust masks will help because “they still allow the more dangerous smaller particles to pass through.”
And for those smart enough not to run toward the flames, the wildfire cannabis smoke definitely will not get you high. A study published by the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal in 2014 noted, “Under extreme, unventilated conditions, secondhand cannabis smoke exposure can produce detectable levels of THC in blood and urine,” but it required an extreme amount of inhalation in a sealed room. Live Science recently confirmed this with John Hopkins University professor Ryan Vandrey, who co-authored the study. The professor said, “Unfortunately, no,” adding that the constant circulation of outdoor air prevents the type of enclosed setting required for psychoactive responses from secondhand cannabis smoke.
Illustration by DC Sammy