Can You Fail A Drug Test From Secondhand Smoke?

Can You Fail A Drug Test From Secondhand Smoke?


It is possible to fail a drug test from secondhand smoke if you have been exposed to it continuously or if the exposure takes place in an extreme lack of ventilation like a garage or basement, etc. 

Some studies state that frequent exposure to MMJ smoke may cause nonsmokers to experience the drug effects and may sometimes be slightly impaired.

Cannabis is often smoked in inadequately ventilated spaces. Studies show social exposure to weed smoke may trigger a positive drug test for THC in a 4 panel drug test, but these studies had several limitations.

The potency of the drug also plays a role. For instance, if a nonsmoker passively inhales smoke from low-potent MMJ, there are least chances of tracing THC in the blood or urine to fail a drug test.

Contrarily, if the nonsmoker is exposed to highly potent MMJ, it may be possible to detect within a few hours of exposure if the THC is high enough to meet the cut-off levels.

There are several other factors that determine whether you could get a positive test result from secondhand smoke. Learn more about the effects, treatment, military drug test for secondhand smoke, and how long does second hand smoke stay in your system.

Table of Contents

What is Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke is the inhalation of cannabis smoke indirectly by a non-smoking individual. The weed smoke does contain the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which causes a "high." It can adversely impact a person's health if exposed frequently to exhaled smoke. According to a study, secondhand smoke contains more than 100 chemicals, of which 70% of them are toxic, and the remaining 30% can even cause cancer.

A nonsmoker exposed to cannabis smoke under certain conditions such as an enclosed vehicle or unventilated room may also feel the "contact high." With comprehensive smoke-free policies in place, the effect of secondhand smoke is decreasing but not up to a satisfactory level.

Effects of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

Many people have been wondering if exposure to secondhand weed smoke could fail a drug test. Research studies have been performed to measure the THC levels in blood in the nonsmokers exposed to MMJ smoke. The study has revealed that nonsmokers exposed to people smoking MMJ in a well-ventilated area had a low-level presence of THC in the blood compared to the exposure in a confined space. Nonsmokers in a non-ventilated room also reported subjective effects of contact high and mild impairments in motor tasks.

Research on health hazards due to secondhand MMJ exposure is still underway. Studies conducted on rodents have shown that secondhand MMJ smoke caused damage to the blood vessels and the heart, but this hasn't been determined on humans. The effects on a person's health, in the long run, are yet to be determined. It is perceived that children and people with respiratory problems, asthma, lung issues may be vulnerable to MMJ smoke.

Treatment For Secondhand Smoke

To be more specific, there is no particular treatment for secondhand smoke exposure. However, there are specific preventive measures that you can take to control the effects of the smoke from affecting your system. Suppose you believe that you may be exposed to MMJ smoke due to unavoidable circumstances. In that case, you may try dealing with it by taking adequate measures like drinking plenty of water, eating a healthy diet, increasing your exercise levels, and increasing your metabolism to prevent the toxins from causing any adverse effects to your body and health.

Following the below precautionary methods, you may prevent yourself from being exposed to secondhand smoke:

  • You may not be able to prevent getting into places with poor ventilation and confined places all the time, but you may restrain yourself from staying in for a prolonged period.
  • Wear a mask or nose clips to prevent inhalation of smoke during parties.
  • Do regular breathing and aerobic exercises to keep your heart and lungs healthy. It also flushes out the toxins quicker than usual.
  • Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water approximately every day may keep you well hydrated.
  • Taking Zinc could suppress the detection of THC metabolites for about 12 to 18 hours.

Military Drug Test For Secondhand Smoke

If you are going to serve the nation, embrace yourself. There are least chances that secondhand smoke can make you fail your drug test, but the results may differ based on the concentration that you get exposed to. Secondhand MMJ or weed smoke would typically not create much impact since the THC metabolites would be very low to get traced during a drug test.

However, there are chances that some military aspirants fail their drug tests due to secondhand smoke. It might be due to continuous exposure or poor ventilation or in close quarters with the smoker. It is better to take preventive drug testing using home drug testing kits before attending your military drug test. If tested positive, follow the measures indicated below that would help you clear your drug test.

Secondhand Smoke Laws In Texas

There are no specific laws in Texas to prevent smoking in private residential units and condos. It entirely depends upon the property owner's discretion to put a signboard on not to smoke.

Some cities like Houston, Austin, and San Antonio have adopted smoke-free policies in public housing areas and the university premises. Talk to your landowner or property owner about implementing smoke-free policies in private congested housing areas. On the positive side, you can conduct rallies and gather a social group to create awareness on secondhand smoke exposure and its effects.

How Long Can Secondhand Smoke Stay In Your System?

According to some studies, simply breathing the cannabis smoke wouldn't show up on a drug test. You have to inhale the smoke for it to stay in your system directly. You may not test positive unless you have inhaled adequate amounts to feel the effects. After exposure to secondhand smoke, your body may not have detectable THC levels to fail a drug test.

After a series of experiments conducted by some reputed universities and testing labs, exposure to smoke for a particular amount of time in a ventilated space have meager effects on the nonsmoker's body. According to the results, the drug traces were very low, about 7.8 ng/mL to 20 ng/mL, smaller than the detectable trace level - 50 ng/mL for drug testing.

There must be detectable levels of drug traces in your body to get a positive result. Hence, it is unlikely to get that much threshold through secondhand smoke exposure.

How To Pass A Secondhand Smoke Drug Test?

There is no specific method to clear the secondhand smoke drug test. The only way is prevention and prior testing. As previously discussed, it is better to take preventive strategies like preventing yourself from meeting people who use MMJ or weed and live in a congested environment.

Drink lots of water and exercise regularly so that you increase your metabolism if accidentally exposed.

As a precautionary method, you can use Zinc tablets or take zinc-rich foods like bananas, chocolates, etc., that would suppress the presence of THC metabolites during the drug test.

It would be wise to have a stock of home drug testing kits if you have an upcoming drug test. It will help you determine if you have any drug traces in your system and take adequate precautions if you test positive.


Anyone exposed to secondhand smoke may be concerned if it would cause them to test positive on a drug test. It is highly unlikely since the cut-off levels for the drug are set high enough to eliminate the possibility of positive results due to secondhand exposure.

In other words, to grab secondhand exposure, the cut-off levels for any drug test must be set very low. You may have a positive drug test if the THC level in the urine is equal to or higher than 50 ng/mL and saliva is 4 ng/mL or higher.

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