Published: March 22nd, 2017
Categories: Other subjects
Many stoners have experienced applying for a new job, attending the interview and succeeding due to their charisma and expertise. However, there is one final step before the job is confirmed to be theirs. The dreaded drug test. And they don’t stop here, sometimes they continue testing on a regular basis. So it’s not all bad, you have a decent job and can still smoke every now and then as long as you use certain methods to not show up on this test.
Yet sometimes it is not as simple as this. Marijuana does play a rather large role among some social circles. All of us have been in a hot-boxed room with friends to the degree that it is hard to make out the face of who is sitting opposite you at the other side of the room. Times like this are fun, but not if you know you have a drug test looming. But is it actually possible for cannabis to show up on a drug test if you didn’t smoke, but did sit in a room full of smoke, that you're stoned buddies were blowing out all night long? Let us take a look into this question, starting with passive smoke.
Passive smoke, or secondhand smoke, is the recycled smoke that is exhaled after you have already taken a toke. If you are smoking indoors or in a car, this is the smoke that will start to fill the room and create a hazy atmosphere. A so-called contact high is when you inhale so much passive smoke, that you yourself feel the effects of the THC, without taking a single toke of a joint or hit of a bowl.
Obviously, the amount of smoke present in the air and the amount of ventilation available are factors that will dictate how high a person can become from inhaling passive smoke, if at all. There isn’t exact research to conclude that this is possible, but there have been enough stoners completely hot-boxing cars to oblivion to make it a fact as far as anecdotes are concerned.
So aside from potentially getting stoned without consent in a room full of herbal combustion, is inhaling this smoke enough to make you fail a drug test and risk getting fired from your job? Well, it just so happens there is research, that exists in this area. As cannabis strains are becoming increasingly stronger as breeding and growing methods become more refined and stronger strains are genetically mixed, a group of scientists thought it would be worthwhile to see if this was actually a possibility.
The most common tests performed in working environments to detect the presence of drugs take urine samples. When it comes to cannabis, these tests are looking for a metabolite of THC, that is found in the bloodstream after smoking weed. This substance is called 9-carboxy-THC.
A study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology was designed to see if 9-carboxy-THC was detectable after subjects had been exposed to passive, or second-hand smoke. During the study, 6 experienced stoners were sealed in a chamber for an hour with drug-free participants in alternating order where they would smoke a marijuana cigarette containing a strong strain of cannabis. The drug-free subjects were then required to pee into a cup 13 times over the next 34 hours.
And the results? Well, it turns out you probably can still enjoy the company of your hot-boxing friends without fearing the loss of your job. The researchers found the levels in the majority of participants would not have been detectable. There was one participant who had a detectable reading of 50 nanograms per milliliter, however, this test was taken only 4 to 6 hours after exposure had occurred. Also, when the chamber was ventilated, detectable levels were lower as the passive smoke was less concentrated.
The authors of this study stated in conclusion, “These results demonstrate that extreme cannabis smoke exposure can produce positive urine tests at commonly utilized cutoff concentrations. However, positive tests are likely to be rare, limited to the hours immediately post-exposure, and occur only under environmental circumstances where exposure is obvious”.
This statement can basically be rendered down to: Do not sit in a car full of friends constantly hitting bongs and joints hours on end before turning up to work to do a drug test.
These results do not mean that there is absolutely no trace of THC in your bloodstream after being exposed to such an environment. More accurate tests, that work with blood samples instead of urine, were used during research performed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Here, researchers could detect THC levels in the blood above 20 nanograms per milliliter, several hours after exposure to passive smoke. However, these tests are rarely used by employers when carrying out drugs testing.
So the takeaway here is simple. Just be sensible and responsible. If you have a drug test coming up, or suspect one might be waiting around the corner, maybe leave the party early or do not go at all. It’s just one night.