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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

Can Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Make You Fail a Drug Test?


How worried should we be about hanging out with our stoner friends? Researchers decided to find out.

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Can we relax? Photo via Shutterstock

Can we relax? Photo via Shutterstock

Marijuana legalization is sweeping the states, yet federal law still prohibits pot and drug testing for marijuana remains the norm at many companies and elsewhere. The potency of pot is also on the rise. So should we be worried that inhaling another person’s secondhand pot smoke could get us into trouble?

Scientists are apparently as worried about this as we are, and the Journal of Analytical Toxicology recently published the results of a study designed to put our minds at rest—or on edge. Although the general scientific consensus agrees that secondhand marijuana smoke wouldn’t effect a standard drug test, this study tested it to the max by putting a non-smoker in a sealed compartment with a regular pot smoker, while the toker smoked a joint containing a strong strain of weed. For an hour.

The 12 non-smokers were then required to pee in a cup 13 times over the course of 34 hours. Heroic stuff.

After measuring the test subjects’ 9-caboxy-THC levels, researchers found that the non-smokers were all in the clear—expect for one individual, who failed tests taken four-to-six hours after exposure.

So unless you lock yourself in a closet with a group of pot-smokers hours before a drug test, the scientists conclude that your possibility of testing positive is “likely to be very rare.”