Smoke is smoke. When you burn something, it releases dangerous chemicals and marijuana is no different. Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same cancer-causing substances and toxic chemicals as secondhand tobacco smoke. Some of the known carcinogens or toxins present in marijuana smoke include: acetaldehyde, ammonia, arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, lead, mercury, and nickel (1).
Marijuana can be consumed in a solid, liquid or semi-solid (wax) forms. When burned, marijuana smoke can be emitted from many different types of devices and make-shift apparatuses such as bongs, pipes, rolled paper, cans, and e-cigarettes/”vapes”(2).
Knowing the dangers of marijuana smoke is an important first step to helping protect yourself and your children from the harmful effects. As with any other secondhand smoke, the toxic substances and carcinogens can easily be inhaled by children even when they aren’t smoking.
Knowing and understanding the dangers will help you create safe breathing environments as well as inform other parents of the risks, myths, and preventive measures regarding secondhand smoke and aerosols (3).
As with any other type of secondhand smoke, the toxic substances and carcinogens in marijuana secondhand smoke can easily be inhaled by children who are present or frequent the areas where smoking takes place.