The term “contact high” is defined in one of two ways. First, it describes feeling a drug’s psychoactive effects without physically consuming it, such as sitting in close quarters and inhaling secondhand smoke. The second meaning, which is more obscure, refers to an individual experiencing the psychoactive effects by just being in the presence of another individual who’s under a mind-altering drug’s influence. However, the first meaning makes more sense from a scientific perspective.
The second meaning tends to raise more eyebrows. However, it may have some grounding in science. In any event, there are a range of factors that contribute to the experience including the physical and social settings. For one, contact highs resulting from inhaling secondhand smoke are definitely real, but what about the “psychogenic” type? While it seems unlikely, many variables could make it a possibility. Studies comparing placebos with psychedelics have led to some interesting results.
Thus, the question remains. Can a person get high from secondhand cannabis smoke? Yes, they can. Look at it like this. When you’re sitting in close quarters, you’re basically smoking cannabis – although it’s only indirectly. Granted, you’re not ingesting the same amount of THC compared to hitting a blunt or bong. However, you’re still inhaling THC that is floating in the air around you. If you remain in this type of setting, you’ll start to feel that moderate high creeping in. Although it feels good, you need to ensure that doing that often can
You really don’t need to be in such close quarters to experience a contact high. In fact, just sitting close enough to a group of smokers in a regular room will yield the same results though not as significant. On an interesting side note, researchers have actually created similar close quarter situations to test this hypothesis. Is it possible to get high from just smelling cannabis buds? No. Cannabinoids don’t volatize in ambient temps and second, THC exists as THCA in raw flowers and is a non-psychotropic molecule.
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