Study Warns About Second Hand Marijuana Smoke Around Children

Dr. Karen Wilson, the Division Chief of General Pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital, recently finished authoring a study showing that children absorb chemicals from secondhand marijuana smoke.

According to this article on NPR.org, this study looked at children, ages 1 month to 2 years, who were hospitalized for bronchiolitis. They all lived in Colorado, a state where recreational marijuana is legal, and their urine samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a screening that detects low levels of marijuana metabolites.

Unsurprisingly, 75 percent of the children whose caregivers indicated they’d been in a home where they’d been exposed to cannabis had traces of marijuana in their urine.

Wilson concluded that “There is a strong association between those who said there was someone in the home who used marijuana or a caretaker who used marijuana and the child having detectable marijuana levels.”

“Our hypothesis is that it is not good for kids,” she says. “We strongly believe that once we do the research to document secondhand marijuana exposure that we will see there is a negative effect on children.”

Dr. David Beuther, a pulmonologist and associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver, agrees with Dr. Wilson about the potential negative effects of marijuana smoke. “There is no reason to believe that it is any safer than tobacco smoke exposure,” he says, citing research done by the Journal of the American Heart Association which shows that rats exposed to marijuana smoke have the same negative effects as those exposed to tobacco smoke.

His belief is that children who are around second-hand marijuana smoke, or vapor, will be at an increased risk of viral infections, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, as well as for developing chronic conditions like heart disease and stroke later in life.

In case you’re wondering if he really feels this strongly about it – or if he’s just blowing smoke – his final words about the subject are as follows:

“Get it out of the house and away from your baby,” Beuther says. “Not in the car, not in the home. If someone wants to smoke marijuana, they need to do it outside, far away from your baby or your child, because at this point we believe the adverse health effects are probably as bad as secondhand cigarette smoke.”



  • Shaneee



    MYTH ONE-You get high from just being in the room with cannabis being smoked.

    One article stated this:
    “In a study released in December in the journal Pediatric Research, babies and toddlers in Colorado showed traces of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in their urine.
    Of the children, who were all between 1 month and 2 years old, 16 percent had been exposed to marijuana smoke.”

    This is simply not the case. These children would have to been in a small and non ventilated area to test positive for THC. (I.e. a car with the windows rolled up, or “hot boxing”.

    See here:

    “Second hand smoke, or “passive exposure” to marijuana produces THC levels that are much different than those produced under active exposure. When a smoker exhales, very low levels of THC are released back into the air. This makes it extremely unlikely under normal circumstances for a non-smoker to inhale enough THC for an oral fluid test to turn positive.”

    Only in a confined space with no ventilation could it be possible. So, if you’re smoking cannabis in an open room with somebody else, they will NOT get a contact high or absorb any THC, NOR will they test positive for THC.

    “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.”

    CONCLUSION: THC in cannabis smoke in an open room or area is NOT absorbed or inhaled by anyone but the smoker.