Is a contact high a real thing?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2023 | blog, Criminal Defense

Minnesota has yet to legalize recreational marijuana on a broad scale, but not everyone obeys the law. There are many consequences for those violating controlled substance laws, though a conditional discharge might happen for first-time offenders.

If you spend time with individuals who smoke marijuana, you might wonder about developing a contact high. If this happens and there are traces of cannabis in your system, are you likely to face charges?

The legitimacy of a contact high

Marijuana has psychoactive effects on those who smoke it, but it could also have an impact on those exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. A contact high is a term used to describe the effect of breathing in secondhand smoke and experiencing psychoactive alterations on account of the compounds contained in the drug. Research indicates that only about 50% of the cannabinoids found in marijuana find their way into the lungs and the bloodstream, with indirect exposure significantly weakening this percentage.

The damage of a contact high

While the exhaled smoke would contain some of the cannabinoid compounds, the levels are typically not high enough to cause a failed drug test. However, the more potent the cannabis, the more likely those inhaling the secondhand smoke are to display mild performance impairment with motor tasks or other effects similar to a drug high.

Like many states, Minnesota criminalizes driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. By state law, any operation of a motor vehicle with a detectable level of a drug or drug compound above the legal threshold is impaired driving and punishable.