In 1998, Ross Rebagliati won the gold medal in the men’s giant slalom snowboarding event at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. However, he was stripped of his medal the day after due to a positive drug test for marijuana. Rebagliati claimed that the positive test was caused by secondhand smoke he inhaled at a party the night before he left for the Olympics. The controversy raised questions about the potency of secondhand cannabis smoke and the associated health risks.
Research suggests that secondhand cannabis smoke presents two significant risks for non-smokers. Firstly, individuals who inhale secondhand weed smoke may become mildly intoxicated from THC. Secondly, cannabis smoke contains hundreds of different types of chemicals and particulates that can be toxic to those who inhale it whether secondhand or not. However, there is no direct causal link between secondhand smoke and any illness or disorder.
The effects of secondhand cannabis smoke and tobacco smoke are similar, with evidence suggesting that both can trigger respiratory issues. Cannabis may produce more particulate matter than tobacco, potentially contributing to many health problems for those exposed to secondhand smoke, not to mention the smokers themselves. However, research also suggests that tobacco smoke is significantly more carcinogenic than cannabis smoke.
Regarding secondhand weed vapor, evidence available indicates that it may also present risks. A recent study found that vaping produced particulate concentrations high enough to impact cardiovascular health, although cannabis vapor is thought to produce fewer toxic compounds than cannabis smoke.