Dangers of Second-Hand Marijuana Smoke

If you think breathing second-hand marijuana smoke is safer than cigarette smoke because it’s natural, think again. Although the effects have yet to be studied in depth, it appears that breathing second-hand marijuana smoke is every bit as harmful as breathing cigarette smoke.

Effects of Cannabis on the Body: Second-Hand Smoke

One study in 2016 indicated that the function of blood vessels in rats exposed to marijuana smoke was diminished as severely as rats that were exposed to cigarette smoke, and the detrimental effects lasted considerably longer.

The marijuana used in the study contained no stems or seeds and hadn’t been exposed to pesticides or toxic chemicals. No rolling papers were used.

Similar results were noted even when CBD and THC, the active chemicals in cannabis, were removed. Researchers are quick to point out that problems caused by second-hand smoke aren’t caused by compounds within the marijuana, but by the smoke produced by burning plant matter.

It’s possible that vaping may be safer, but this hasn’t been established with any certainty.

Second-Hand Marijuana Smoke May Cause Slight Impairment

There are also indications that breathing second-hand marijuana smoke may cause a mild high, and in some cases, might even show up on a routine drug test.

One study performed at John Hopkins University School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence measured the THC level in the blood of non-smoking individuals who spent three hours in a well-ventilated room with a group of marijuana smokers.

Although there was THC in the blood of the non-smokers, it was well below the levels detected on standardized blood tests. However, non-smokers exposed to marijuana smoke in an unventilated room tested positive at higher levels. Some experienced mild marijuana “highs” and were slightly impaired when asked to perform various tests involving their motor skills.

Dangers of Second-Hand Smoke for Young Children

Although use of marijuana is becoming more acceptable (and often legal), parents shouldn’t be deceived that smoking marijuana around children is a safe practice. This thinking is erroneous and very dangerous.

In the United States, a substantial number of children have been hospitalized for lower respiratory infections after being exposed to marijuana smoke. It appears that the risk is highest in children between one month and two years of age. Many of those children were also exposed to tobacco smoke, which creates a type of double jeopardy.

Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke can also trigger bronchitis, pneumonia, severe asthma attacks and painful ear infections. The risks are even higher for kids with allergies or other pre-existing health problems.

If you use marijuana, it may be a good idea to cut down, especially if you’re in the habit of smoking around young children. If you’re concerned that you’re smoking more than you should, cannabis addiction treatment or drug rehab can help you get your dependence under control.

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