This one will puzzle non-smokers who have cannabis smoking friends. Yes, while it seems unfair, your urine samples can actually reveal you have been…well, smoking or sitting next to someone who was smoking. However, it depends on the ventilation of the room.
The same study proves that people who are exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke can feel some of the “high” that comes with the drug. They might be slightly impaired by the drug and even have detectable levels of the substance in their urine.
According to Evan S. Herrmann, fellow at psychiatry and behavioural sciences at john Hopkins School of Medicine, if you breathe in significant amounts of marijuana to feel high and quite impaired, you could actually fail a drug test but only under extreme conditions.
Cannabis is the world’s most commonly used illicit substance. It is usually smoked in small, confined places with poor ventilation, as revealed by the study.
In the 1980s, studies showed that “social exposure” to marijuana could indicate positive drug tests for the main psychoactive component of marijuana, tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC). But the study had a lot of limitations. For one, they used low potency marijuana than what is available today, and they didn’t take into account the normal levels for ventilation in rooms. They also didn’t study how people may feel or behave before and after such experience.
In the new study, they addressed a question people have been asking for years; “Do people really get high from the “hot room” effect? And if so, does it affect your capabilities or make you fail a drug screening?
Carrying out the study
In the study, which was the first of its kind, Herrmann and his team examined 20 healthy people between the ages of 18 to 45, including regular marijuana smokers and those who didn’t use the substance. The scientists tested the subjects’ fluids such as blood, saliva, urine and hair samples for evidence of cannabis. Then they asked six smokers and six non-smokers to relax in a Plexiglas and aluminium smoke chamber, no bigger than a dorm room. The subjects underwent two separate sessions, each for one hour.
The researchers gave each of the six smokers 10 cannabis cigarettes, each sample containing 1 gram of high potency weed, and directed them to smoke as the wished for one hour, in the presence of six non-smokers in the chamber.
As a control, in one test session, the room’s ventilation unit was switched on to allow cross ventilation of air at standard office-building rate. In the other test, the scientists limited airflow in the chamber. After one hour, every subject was tested for different biological, cognitive and subjective changes for regular periods of up to 34 hours after the experiment.
The Final Result
According to Herrmann, the results were in line with their expectations. The new research confirmed that it is difficult to get a positive drug test from passive smokers unless they are exposed to extreme conditions. For non-smokers in the unventilated “hot-room”, they exhibited signs of impairments and affected cognitive functions as well as detectable levels of THC in their blood and urine for up to 22 hours after exposure.
Non-smokers who were in the well-ventilated chamber had significantly lower levels of THC in their blood, and did not feel impaired or high. Their urine was also negative for THC.
So, the next time you have a looming drug test in the horizon, and your cannabis-smoking friend decides to light-up a joint, get up and open the windows.