We hear a lot about secondhand smoke when it comes to puffing on cigarettes, but it’s something that’s just beginning to become a topic of discussion within the world of cannabis. Cigarette smokers are often cautioned to keep clear of their children while smoking—so they won’t endanger them. But when it comes to cannabis, many people are left wondering if there are similar negative effects with secondhand marijuana smoke.
One of the first studies on the issue was published in the Pediatric Resource Journal in December 2016. The study looked at children, ranging in age from one month to two years old, and how they reacted to secondhand smoke from cannabis and tobacco in their household.
The study found that the children didn’t have any cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their system, despite being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. There was, however, small amounts of COOH-THC, a THC metabolite, found in the systems of 16% of the participants. No long-term problems have been associated with COOH-THC. That said, this compound hasn’t been extensively studied.
What the study did show, however, is that its participants absorbed some components found in the smoke of cannabis. The study also found that children exposed to marijuana smoke were far more likely to be exposed to tobacco smoke. This is the first study in which cannabis metabolites have been detected from secondhand marijuana smoke exposure. And yet the study still lacks a clear conclusion on whether there’s a danger associated with secondhand marijuana smoke exposure.
Does Vaporizing Cannabis Flower Have Less of an Impact on Children?
Vaporizing cannabis has become a popular alternative to smoking marijuana in recent years due to its smoke-free nature, but the health effects of secondhand vapor have also been questioned. There have been no studies conducted on secondhand cannabis vapor, but studies on e-cigarettes have shown that there are some negative effects associated with secondhand vapor.
A study by the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health found that vaporizers served to decrease the surrounding air quality. When vaporizers were used in a room, they increased the amount of nicotine, particulate matter, PAH and aluminum in the air. All of the substances found in the air after vaporizing have been associated with health problems. Of course, it’s important to note as previously mentioned that this study involved the use of e-cigarettes rather than the use of cannabis vaporizers.
True Effects of Secondhand Cannabis Smoke Are Still Unknown
Colorado touched on the issue of secondhand smoke in a pamphlet released by the state covering frequently asked questions related to methods of marijuana use after recreational marijuana use was legalized there. The guide warns against smoking marijuana around children, due to similar dangers in cannabis smoke as is found in tobacco smoke.
The pamphlet also warns that vaporizers may lead to secondhand exposure to chemicals that could be potentially harmful to children. Though there isn’t extensive research to back up the recommendations made by the state of Colorado, erring on the side of caution is a good path to take.
The true effects of secondhand marijuana smoke are still unknown. Like many questions related to marijuana, the topic of secondhand smoke and vapor hasn’t been studied to an extent where absolute conclusions can be drawn. What we do know is that there are components of cannabis smoke absorbed by people who are exposed second hand, though the ultimate effect of those components are unknown. While the jury’s still out, it’s best not to expose your children to any secondhand smoke or vapor.
Easy Ways to Avoid Exposing Kids to Secondhand Marijuana Smoke
Cannabis, however, comes in many different forms that don’t cause any secondhand smoke or vapor. Tinctures can be a great alternative to smoking or vaporizing when you need to take doses throughout your day, because they don’t expose the people around to you. Of course, if vaping or smoking are the most effective ways to treat your condition or symptoms, then be sure to do it well away from your kids—outside if at all possible.
One of the most important things to remember is to store all of your cannabis products responsibly, especially in a household with children. Make sure your products are out of reach of children and preferably stored in childproof containers to reduce the possibility of accidental consumption.