contact high

Contact High – Can You Get High Without Smoking?

Can you really get a contact high?

Every time a joint is lit up and consumed, cannabis smoke is exhaled and spread throughout the surrounding area. 

By lighting up cannabis, smokers are able to activate the THC, psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis that gives it its quintessential high. This process is known as decarboxylation — heating and smoking the leaves, flowers, seeds, or stems of the cannabis plant.

That being said, being in close proximity to someone else who is smoking cannabis may have its own side effects and could possibly cause a contact high.

If you’re wondering what a contact high is, keep on reading, and we’ll give you all of the details on how it happens and how to avoid it.

Is Contact High Real?

Marijuana contains a psychoactive compound called THC, which is activated upon being exposed to heat. In itself, THC is known to be a great therapeutic agent in blocking pain and providing the sensation of relaxation to those who consume it. 

The psychoactive effects of cannabis are also known to have stimulant and hallucinogenic properties, which may impair your ability to function throughout the day.

Whenever THC is inhaled, whether by cannabis smoke directly from a joint or bong or by lingering smoke in the air, there lies a possibility of getting high. That said, the intensity of the high will be heavily reliant on the particular effects that THC has on that person, as well as the total amount of the chemical that is consumed.

Studies on the Contact High


In 2015, a small group of researchers conducted a series of experiments on the two groups of people, including 12 people, six cannabis smokers, and six non-smokers. The researchers had tested whether or not the second-hand smoke from cannabis could trigger positive results in blood and urine tests.

The researchers had constructed a specially designed room with ventilation controls for this experiment. For one hour, both groups of participants interacted with one another, while the smoking group consumed cannabis joints.

The researchers had uncovered that environmental factors were significant influencers in determining whether cannabinoids could enter the bloodstream in considerable amounts. 

The researchers concluded that ventilation played a significant role in the experiments. The initial run placed the participants in a non-ventilated chamber, where they subsequently tested positive for THC in their blood and urine. 

The second run had the same situation except with the adage of ventilation, resulting in the non-smokers tested negative for THC in their blood and urine.

Another study had attempted to emulate a more realistic scenario where the participants were to spend 3 hours in a coffee shop with other people smoking marijuana. After the participants had spent 3 hours in the shop, they were subsequently tested for THC presence in their blood. 

Since the participants had been placed in a much more open and realistic area, the THC measured in the participants’ blood and urine was only found in trace amounts; Not enough to trigger a positive in a drug test.

That said, a contact high is a possibility when exposed to extreme amounts in enclosed areas, although during this study, it was highly unlikely that a contact high was achieved.

As tested in the studies above, having access to a ventilated room will greatly reduce THC potency in the air. Being in a larger space also contributes to a lower likelihood of getting a contact high.

While it isn’t entirely possible to avoid exposure to cannabis smoke altogether, you can definitely employ some strategies to minimize and reduce the exposure to it. 

For example, vaporizers have proven themselves as an efficient tool to medicate discreetly without attracting attention. Since vaporizers produce vapour and not smoke, they are odourless and won’t run the risk of affecting others around you with a contact high. 

If you plan to go to a large gathering and don’t want your friends to get high, use Hooti vape pens. These pens will ensure that you cover the smoke of your medicated cannabis while also protecting your friends who don’t smoke from getting a contact high.

Contact High Side Effects

Although a contact high is a relatively rare occurrence, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects and symptoms of it. Here are a few of the most common symptoms of a contact high:

Delayed reflexes

Cannabis has great sedative properties, meaning it puts its users in a more relaxed and calm state. That said, you’ll typically experience delayed reflexes and slowed reactions when THC is consumed.


Building upon THC’s relaxing effects, cannabis is known to put users in a “couch-lock” mode, where the limbs feel heavy, and it feels more comfortable to stay put and relax. You may find yourself wanting to sit down, relax, or sleep if you’ve contracted a contact high.


Aside from the relaxing effects of cannabis, euphoria is another key indicator of the cannabis high. While cannabis can cause anxiety and depression in some, it can also create a state of euphoria in others.


One of the most common signs of a cannabis high is a case of the “munchies.” Cannabis is known to induce a ravenous uproar of hunger in its users, allowing them to consume copious amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods in a short period of time.


Dizziness or a case of the spins may be a potential symptom to look out for, although it usually occurs when excessive amounts of cannabis have been consumed. In the case of a contact high, experiencing dizziness will be a sure-fire way to determine whether you’re high or not.

Can You Get a Contact High?

While a contact high is relatively hard to get, it is still possible, depending on your circumstances. 

From the studies above, we can conclude that a contact high from raw exposure to cannabis smoke is only possible when placed in extreme circumstances. In realistic examples, the likelihood of catching a high someone else’s smoke while passing by is extremely low.

Though, if you do get a contact high, you may experience delayed reflexes, hunger and even dizziness if you have inhaled too much.

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