Can You Get High If You’re Near a Burning Marijuana Field?

If you happen to be near a location where a conflagration has just taken place, you would likely know that there was a fire without anyone telling you about it. The atmosphere in an area where there has been a major fire feels very different (scientifically, this is actually true). Visit a vast farm, where a large chunk of a field has been just set fire to in order to get rid of the expendable remnants of the harvested crop, or for whatever other reason, and you would feel awfully hot almost immediately. Some people even feel uneasy or nauseous in such conditions.

A Burning Marijuana Field

A urning marijuana field (Photo Credits:Everett Historical/Shutterstock)

However, what if you happen to be near a burning field that contains a rather controversial crop, such as marijuana? It’s well known that many people who use marijuana light it on fire before consuming it. In that case, what if an entire field of marijuana plants, which when harvested and treated would be burnt to get you high, is set on fire? Would you get high if you were nearby?

A little something about Marijuana

Marijuana (medically known as Cannabis) is made from the Cannabis plant. It has many other names and is said to have pronounced mental and physical effects. Some of its many mental effects include relaxation, a feeling of elation, heightened self-worth and so on. It is immensely popular among drug users.

marijuana field

A marijuana field (Photo Credit: Pavel Vakhrushev / Shutterstock)

Marijuana can be consumed in many different methods. The most common methods involve smoking the cannabis through pipes or hookahs, burning it and inhaling its vapor, baking it into edible materials, and various other, less popular methods. Since marijuana involves burning in many of the methods, what effect would it have on a person standing near a burning cannabis field?

Will a burning marijuana field have any effect on you (if you’re close)?

There will be NO effect!

Ryan Vandrey, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore argues that marijuana plants don’t give you a high if you happen to be near a burning marijuana field. “Unfortunately, no. Or fortunately, no, depending on your perspective,” he says. “It’s very unlikely that a non-smoking individual will suddenly get the munchies or experience any of the other reported effects of the intoxicating plant.”

Not That Easy to Get High

To demonstrate this argument, Vandrey carried out an experiment involving 12 subjects in a hot-box, which is a room without any windows or any other source of ventilation. He gave 6 of them marijuana cigarettes to smoke in the same room. Even though it was a hot-box, the ones who were not given a cigarette, but were constantly in the presence of the smoke, did not get high or feel any ‘buzz.’ This is because enough smoke filtered out of the room, thus having no significant effect on any of the non-smoking subjects.

Now, this was a hot-box – a confined space – and still, there were no significant impacts.

When we are instead talking about a vast and open space, such as a field, there is no chance that people near the field will feel the heat or experience the reported effects of consuming marijuana, as the smoke will be scattered and diffused in different directions without impacting any one area in particular.

Still, Vandrey says it’s better to stay indoors, not just in the case of a burning marijuana field, but of any field, as thick clouds of ash and soot can potentially have adverse effects on the body.


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Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spends a lot of time watching movies, and an awful lot more time discussing them. He likes Harry Potter and the Avengers, and obsesses over how thoroughly Science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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