What’s hotboxing and does it work?


Hotboxing is a common activity for marijuana smokers, especially young or many stoner movies. The term is popular even with non-smokers and is understood as smoking in a small and poorly ventilated room. This practice enables smoke to build up and penetrate all surfaces. But does it work?

Hotboxing is usually done in a car or bathroom with the openings in doors and windows covered with towels or whatever. Typically done with a few friends, hotboxing is efficient, preventing smoke from leaving the room, and getting everyone involved very, very high. Sitting in a puff of smoke sure sounds like a reliable way to ingest as much cannabis as possible, but the little available science says otherwise.

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A 2005 Johns Hopkins study looked at contact heights created by second-hand smoke. The study gathered some participants and divided them into groups to study the effects of hotboxing. In one environment, six smokers and six non-smokers entered a small and poorly ventilated room. Smokers were given 10 joints and asked to smoke within an hour. The second setting encompassed all of these factors with one major difference: the room was ventilated.

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“Data from active smokers who participated in multiple sessions were analyzed together and presented together because their cannabinoid exposure did not differ significantly depending on room ventilation,” the researchers concluded. Despite the different settings and ventilation, there was no difference in the amount of cannabinoid levels among participants with or without hotboxing.

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While research doesn’t support hotboxing, there is scattered evidence that people get taller when smoking in these grouped rooms. There are many theories as to why this could happen, whether it is the amount of smoke that increases eye irritation and makes people feel and look taller, or the fact that you are with friends and experiencing a high level group.

While cannabinoid levels can stay the same when hotboxing, the experience changes and that can make all the difference. As long as you are safe and hotboxing is working for you, continue hotboxing.


Beth Edmonds