Non-smoker exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke II: Effect of room ventilation on the physiological, subjective, and behavioral/cognitive effects

Evan S. Herrmann, Edward J. Cone, John M. Mitchell, George E. Bigelow, Charles LoDico, Ron Flegel, Ryan Vandrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug. Many individuals are incidentally exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke, but little is known about the effects of this exposure. This report examines the physiological, subjective, and behavioral/cognitive effects of secondhand cannabis exposure, and the influence of room ventilation on these effects. Methods: Non-cannabis-using individuals were exposed to secondhand cannabis smoke from six individuals smoking cannabis (11.3% THC) ad libitum in a specially constructed chamber for 1 h. Chamber ventilation was experimentally manipulated so that participants were exposed under unventilated conditions or with ventilation at a rate of 11 air exchanges/h. Physiological, subjective and behavioral/cognitive measures of cannabis exposure assessed after exposure sessions were compared to baseline measures. Results: Exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke under unventilated conditions produced detectable cannabinoid levels in blood and urine, minor increases in heart rate, mild to moderate self-reported sedative drug effects, and impaired performance on the digit symbol substitution task (DSST). One urine specimen tested positive at using a 50 ng/ml cut-off and several specimens were positive at 20. ng/ml. Exposure under ventilated conditions resulted in much lower blood cannabinoid levels, and did not produce sedative drug effects, impairments in performance, or positive urine screen results. Conclusions: Room ventilation has a pronounced effect on exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke. Under extreme, unventilated conditions, secondhand cannabis smoke exposure can produce detectable levels of THC in blood and urine, minor physiological and subjective drug effects, and minor impairment on a task requiring psychomotor ability and working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume151
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Keywords

  • Cannabis
  • Cognitive
  • Exposure
  • Marijuana
  • Secondhand
  • THC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Non-smoker exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke II: Effect of room ventilation on the physiological, subjective, and behavioral/cognitive effects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this