Does Hotboxing Really Make You Higher?

Stephen Andrews
23 Apr 2024

Hotboxing has its own special place in weed culture. The stereotypical scene that might strike everyone’s mind when someone says hotboxing is: you’re sitting with your friend in the car at the parking, sharing a joint together, the windows are sealed and the whole point is to get even higher by just breathing in all that smoke that cannot escape anywhere. But does hotboxing with weed really enhance the sensation of high?

Hotboxing is all about smoking in a small, unventilated space. Most often it’s a car, a closet, a barn or any space in the house where smoke would be difficult to go away. Friends just do it for fun sometimes, just to check it off as an experience they’ve had.

Those hotboxing basically inhale both the smoke from the joint and the secondhand smoke that is trapped in the closed space. The reason why people sometimes do this is to get more high than usual. 

Breathing in secondhand smoke can get you high, although not as much as a direct toke. Hotboxing is seen as a double dose of weed smoke. 

Hotboxing may also happen simply because the smoke fills up the room where you smoke and it takes time to disperse, exposing everyone in the room to secondhand smoke. 

There are also those who don’t like to smoke directly from the joint, but still want a little buzz from the weed, so they join the hotboxing session for that reason. 

If you don’t mind the pungent smell or you are not allergic to weed, you will probably be fine with the experience in case you hadn’t tried it before. 

All of the ways hotboxing is done are fun (when they are done at a reasonable level), but whether it really makes you higher has been a dilemma for a long time. Until the scientists stepped in to prove what everybody knew. 

Does Hotboxing Really Enhance the High from Weed? 

The scientific answer to this question is yes! Hotboxing increases the levels of cannabinoids even when you are not taking a direct hit from the joint, therefore just staying in the area where the hotboxing happens might be enough for some.

A study from 2015 from John Hopkins University invited six nonsmokers in a small, enclosed, unventilated space, together with six smokers. 

The smokers were handed dozens of joints each and they toked over the course of one hour, hotboxing the shared chamber. 

In their report, the researchers wrote that “exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke under unventilated conditions produced detectable cannabinoid levels in blood and urine,” as well as other symptoms such as a minor increase in heart rate and mild sedative effect from the inhale. 

In urine-testing, several of the non-smokers returned positive tests for THC presence. 

As part of the research, the same group of participants also smoked in a properly ventilated space. However, exposure resulted in much lower blood cannabinoid levels and did not produce any sedative effects, the researchers wrote. 

Should You Try Hotboxing? 

So, there’s no doubt about it. Hotboxing can indeed enhance the effects of weed. The other question then is should you really do it? 

While it’s fine to try it sometimes, you probably don’t want to make a habit out of it. After all, smoke is not the healthiest thing in the world, and combined with secondhand smoke it’s even more harmful. 

If you have allergies, asthma, cough or similar health issues, avoid activities such as hotboxing as that can only worsen the condition. 

If you do it in a car, be smart and don’t drive after that. In a car also be careful because you just might be breaking the law. While it can be exciting it’s not worth the risk if you can hotbox weed at home. 

Finally, don’t forget to take a breath of fresh air after that. Even for the most enthusiastic smokers, too much smoke and THC can be overwhelming and oxygen will freshen you up. 

Also read on Soft Secrets:

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Is It Possible to Extract Cannabinoids from Smoke?

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Stephen Andrews