Contact highs and urinary cannabinoid excretion after passive exposure to marijuana smoke

Edward J. Cone, Rolley E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Five healthy men were passively exposed under pre- and postplacebo controlled conditions to sidestream smoke from four and 16 standard marijuana cigarettes (2.896 delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol [Δ-9-THC]) for 1 hour each day for 6 consecutive days. Subjective effects produced by the 16-cigarette exposure conditions were similar to those observed after active smoking of one 2.896 Δ-9-THC marijuana cigarette. Effects after the four-cigarette condition were less pronounced. Concurrent physiologic measurements showed no dear trends or effects of smoke exposure for either condition. Daily mean plasma levels of Δ-9-THC ranged from 2.4 to 7.4 ng/ml with an individual high of 18.8 ng/ml for the 16-cigarette condition. With the use of EMIT cannabinoid assays with 20 ng/ml (EMIT 20) and 100 ng/ml (EMIT 100) cutoffs, urines positive per subject under the four- and 16-cigarette passive exposure conditions were 4.6 ± 2.2 and 35.2 ± 3.8, respectively, for the EMIT 20 and 0.0 and 1.0 ± 0.8, respectively, for the EMIT 100 assay. From the results of these studies, caution is clearly indicated for individuals who might be substantially exposed to heavy marijuana cigarette smoke environments and for those interpreting marijuana screening data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalClinical pharmacology and therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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