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Can You Get High From the Smell of Cannabis?

Bjorn Dawson December 03, 2020

Can I get high from the smell of cannabis?


Every year, more states have been legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in the United States.

While this is exciting for veteran users and new users alike, many people or quickly realizing how expensive it is to purchase cannabis from dispensaries.

Luckily, however, cannabis is a plant that users can easily grow for themselves and many states where marijuana is legal allow cultivation for personal use.

Both marijuana smoke and the plant have a strong and distinct smell. Can you get high from secondhand marijuana smoke? What about the smell of marijuana growing?

Let's take a look at everything you need to know.

Can You Get High From the Smell of Marijuana?

It is possible to get high even when you are not smoking marijuana yourself. This is particularly true if you are in a poorly ventilated area, such as a small bedroom without a fan or a car with the windows closed. This is called a contact high.

If you simply can smell marijuana emanating from a nearby apartment or when you enter a room where people had been smoking cannabis many hours before, however, it is unlikely it's not impossible for you to get high from the smell of marijuana in this manner.

There have been several studies to try and discern whether people exposed to marijuana smoke without inhaling it themselves would test positive on a drug test. The results of the drug test depended heavily on how often the person was exposed and the vent elation of the space in which they were exposed to marijuana.

There is a big difference between catching a wave of cannabis smoke and living with a person who regularly smokes in your presence, particularly in an unventilated space.

Is Secondhand Marijuana Smoke Bad For You?

It is a well-known fact that secondhand tobacco smoke can be harmful. There has been much less research done in order to determine whether or not secondhand cannabis smoke is similarly unhealthy.

The American lung Association recommends avoiding being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. This is because they have found that smoking cannabis regularly can we can your immune system and damage your lungs. They suggest that secondhand marijuana smoke likely exposes you to the same chemicals you are exposed to if you directly smoke it.

What Are the Side Effects of Secondhand Cannabis Smoke?

While getting contact high as possible, it depends on a number of different factors. Simply smelling marijuana smoke in passing is not likely to make a person feel high. However, if someone does become contact high, they might experience some of the following symptoms.


If a person is spending time and unventilated space where marijuana is being smoked they may begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Delayed Reflexes

It is a known side effect of smoking marijuana that your reaction time can be slowed. This is one of the reasons that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. If second hand marijuana smoke has caused you to have high levels of THC in your bloodstream, then it's possible that you would similarly experience delayed reaction time and reflexes.


There does appear to be some connection between mental health and excessive marijuana exposure. This is a topic that researchers are still working to understand.

It does appear that cannabis use can worsen or trigger certain mental health disorders of which depression is one.

That being said, there is no evidence to suggest that there is a connection between the secondhand cannabis smoke exposure and depression.


Different individuals react differently to the effects of smoking cannabis. One person may find that marijuana is calming while another might find that it causes them to feel tired and lethargic. If you are exposed to a high quantity of cannabis smoke in an unventilated area, it is possible that you could experience feelings of lethargy.

Does Growing Weed Smell?

Some people choose to cultivate their own cannabis plants. If you are considering doing this, you may be wondering if the smell of marijuana is present on the living plants.

There is in fact a strong and distinctive odor that comes from growing marijuana. While many people find the smell pleasant, they may be concerned about the discreteness of their growing operation. Others might find that living with the same strong smell every day is unpleasant and those that are sensitive to strong odors might find that it causes uncomfortable feelings such as nausea or headaches.

Different strains of marijuana can have different distinct smells. In general, though, cannabis is often described as smelling woody, Skunky, and herbal.

The reason that cannabis has a distinct smell is mostly because of the Terpenes produced by the plant. Terpenes are responsible for the aroma of nearly any flowers, plants, or fruits.

The cannabis plant has a particularly high concentration of terpenes compared to other plants. Some of the most common terpenes that can be found in the marijuana plant include:

  • Myrcene: this oil is responsible for the famous skunky smell of cannabis and has medicinal uses as a muscle relaxant, pain reliever, and sedative
  • Limonene: Found in both lemon trees and cannabis, this oil is known for its strong citrus scent and is used to treat convulsions, gall stones, acid reflux, and depression
  • Alpha-pinene: this oil is used by some people as a treatment for asthma and to sharpen their memory. It's also common and rosemary, lavender, pine, and eucalyptus
  • Caryophyllene: this oil is found in many herbs and vegetables and add notes of clothes and black pepper to the smell of cannabis

Each strain of marijuana has its own unique terpene and aroma profile. There are other factors that can affect what a cannabis plant smells like including the environment and the growth stage.

Can You Get High From the Smell of Marijuana Plants?

When growing cannabis for the first time, an individual might be surprised by how strong the smell is. This might lead them to wonder if the smell of the plants themselves could get you high.

Despite the strong aroma, the smell of marijuana plants cannot get you high. The chemical that is most responsible for cannabis his mind-altering effects is known as THC. THC must be activated by heat and you, therefore, cannot get high simply smelling the aroma of the plants.

If you feel some effects from the smell of cannabis plants, it is likely that you are being affected by the properties of the terpenes. Some of these oils have medicinal qualities of their own and might cause you to feel relaxed or calm. That being said, they will not get you high.

How Can You Reduce the Smell of Growing Cannabis?

Even though the smell of growing marijuana cannot get you high, there are a number of reasons why a grower might want to reduce the smell of their plants.

For one, excess odor in the ground environment can be an indicator of the environment being poor for the health of the plants. This is because cannabis growth requires specific ventilation, air circulation, and temperature needs. Secondly, the smell might bother the grower themselves or they might be concerned about the other members of their household or their neighbors.

Growers have been coming up with creative ways to reduce the smell of cannabis for decades. Through ensuring proper air circulation, installing a carbon filter, using ozone generators, using air and surface purifiers, and using odor-absorbing gels, growers have been creative in their pursuit of reducing the smell of their operation.

A much easier way of reducing the smell of growing marijuana is through using the Grobo automated grow box. You can take a look at our selection of grow boxes here.

Grobo: The Sleek and Discreet Way to Grow Cannabis

If you are interested in growing your own recreational or medical marijuana, it makes sense to have a grow system that is easy, discrete, and effective.

To produce the best cannabis you can grow, it's important to keep the environment supportive to the plant, the pH balanced, and the lighting perfect, and the nutrient dosing on time. Grobo is an automated grow box that cares for your plant from start to finish and saves you the labor and headache of balancing all these different factors.

If people do not have time to become full-time cannabis farmers. However, that doesn't mean they might not be interested in the benefits of growing their own plans. With the Grobo automated box options, you won't need to quit your day job and you won't even need a green thumb.

Interested in growing your own cannabis in a discreet, simple, and hands-off way? If so, check out the Grobo Solid.

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