Thursday December 14, 2017

By Morgan Smith

Does Hotboxing Really Get You Higher? Health/Science

At the most basic level, hotboxing is smoking cannabis in an enclosed space. This can be in a basement, car, closet, bathroom, tent or basically any walled room or place. Essentially, the area fills with marijuana smoke that subsequently enters your lungs, which has been known to enhance a consumer’s overall experience. It’s something most stoners have experienced in their smoking careers.

For a hot-box to be most successful, you want to be in the smallest area possible. You might also try sparking multiple joints or blunts at once—the methods that produce the most amount of smoke—to get a sufficient amount of hazy plumes in the air. That’s why hotboxing is typically a community-friendly event. The more people there are smoking, the faster and easier it is to get enough cannabis smoke circulating.

It’s actually how the hotboxing trend got started. Because smoking in public and outdoors wasn’t an option, friends needed a discreet place to light up. It was almost an act of rebellion, and quickly made its way into cannabis culture and a prime activity for stoners.

But does hotboxing really get you higher?


Does Hotboxing Get You Higher?

Let’s take a look at the research: A 2015 study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine put six smokers and six non-smokers in a 10-by-13-foot room. The smokers were given 10 blunts and put in either a ventilated or unventilated room.

Results found that all six non-smokers who spent an hour exposed to secondhand smoke in the unventilated room had detectable amounts of THC in their blood and urine as well as mild symptoms of being high.

So to some extent, yes, hotboxing does indeed work.

However, none of the nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke in the ventilated room tested positive for THC. If the air you’re breathing through your lungs has traces of THC in it, you’re going to have some sort of an enriched experience.

How Does Hotboxing Compare to Other Consumption Methods?

If you’re looking for the most effective high, you might be wondering which method of consumption is best between dabbing, vaping, smoking and hotboxing. Remember, there are a plethora of options out there and although it ultimately depends on your preference.

Hotboxing a Car
Hotboxing is a fun way to consume cannabis with a group of friends. Rafael Castillo

So, find what works best for you and stick to it! You can always pepper in some variety by changing up your routine or exploring new methods of consumption, too. Here are some of our favorite ways to consume:


Dabbing is one of the most effective and economical ways to consume cannabis. Marijuana concentrates are extremely potent and contain high amounts of cannabinoids and THC, making them a great option for anyone looking to quickly elevate their senses.

Concentrates have become increasingly popular among consumers and the trend is projected to keep growing. Concentrates have already taken a considerable amount of the market from flower sales and as more consumers take their first dabs there’s no telling how popular they will become. One thing’s for sure though, concentrates are potent products that get the job done.


Vaping is considered one of the healthiest and safest ways to consume cannabis because you are not creating smoke or ingesting calories and sugar. Vaporization creates the purest form of activated, consumable cannabis out there. Some users report that vaping doesn’t create as strong of a high as other methods, but it’s a good option if you’re looking to minimize the impact to your body while still enjoying the effects.


Smoking, or combustion, is arguably the most preferred method out there—and one of the quickest ways to get THC into your bloodstream. Cannabinoids only take a few seconds to hit your system and reach your brain so you can experience symptoms in mere minutes.

Smoking a Joint
While more popular than other methods, smoking is not the most efficient way to consume.

While smoking is probably the most common method around, it lacks in purity compared to vaporization or dabbing. When smoking, there are a fair amount of undesirables being inhaled as opposed to dabbing or vaping which basically only let off cannabinoids into the lungs.

Whatever system you try or prefer, it will affect your endocannabinoid system differently. Each form has different levels of THC, dosage levels and chemical properties that change how your body reacts. The best way to find your preferred method is to try a variety of consumption methods and note the results for each. That way you’ll be able to easily recognize which methods suit your needs best.

What’s your favorite way to consume cannabis? Comment below!

Photo Credit: Lachlanjarvis (license)

Morgan Smith Morgan Smith

A born and raised Hoosier and Indiana University alumna, Morgan Smith is a freelance writer and editor based in the Denver area. Morgan has worked with B2B, nonprofit and regional publications, but especially enjoys learning and educating others about the inner-workings of the cannabis industry. Her freelance writing supported her recent six-month solo backpacking trip to South America where she climbed volcanoes, played with llamas and jumped off a bridge.


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