Does Hotboxing Get You Higher? How To Hotbox And Why You Should Give It A Try

Last updated: 11 August 2020


If you’ve ever smoked weed, you’ve most likely heard of hotboxing – a common cannabis term that was popularized by a stoner cult classic, Cheech & Chong’s infamous car hotboxing scene. In fact, whether inadvertently or on purpose, you’ve probably hotboxed yourself and come across the same answer to the question that science is now proving: does hotboxing get you higher? The simple answer is yes. Here, we’ll explore in depth the meaning of hotboxing, how it works, and the best places to hotbox safely.

What Is Hotboxing?

Hotboxing is what occurs when a smoke session or circle partakes in a small and enclosed area. The most popular methods of this are by hotboxing a car, hotboxing a bathroom, or even hotboxing a tent if you’re camping with friends. The act is almost always performed in a group setting, as it takes a lot of smoke to fill up the space you’re hotboxing.

Because the area is enclosed, smoke will linger without any ventilation. The theory is that filling up the space with marijuana smoke maximizes everyone’s high, since you’re breathing in all that ‘secondhand smoke’ along with your own, versus oxygen as normal. Even those who aren’t smoking directly can therefore feel a buzz.

Why Would You Hotbox?

what is hotboxing

People normally hotbox out of discretion or convenience. Due to the pungent aromas of smoking weed, some consumers choose to contain the smoke to one area, especially if they’re actively attempting to keep their session under wraps from others close by. However, hotboxing isn’t exclusive to just smoking a joint, blunt or bowl of regular cannabis flower. Hotboxing can be done with any consumption method that causes an exhale of smoke or vapor.

Once cannabis consumers came to the realization that hotboxing actually did elevate their high, this alone became a good reason to do so. Many smokers now hotbox specifically to amplify the effects of whatever they’re smoking. So, outside of real-life experience, is there actual proof to answer the question, ‘does hotboxing get you higher?’. We’ll cover that next.

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Does Hotboxing Make You Higher?

After years of being a marijuana urban legend, an actual study was conducted on the act of hotboxing and ‘contact highs’ – another term you’re probably familiar with from your experiences using cannabis. John Hopkins University set up two scenarios where weed was smoked in a small space. One scenario was completely enclosed while the second had proper ventilation. Each setting had 6 smoking participants and 6 non-smoking participants.

Over the course of an hour, the smokers consumed 10 joints in the enclosed and ventilated spaces. In the first area where there was no ventilation, the non-smokers reported feeling high. Moreover, detectable levels of THC were found in the blood and urine of the study’s non-smoking participants in the enclosed space, while no THC was found in the non-smokers from the ventilated space.

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So did the smokers also experience an increased high from hotboxing? Technically, no. The researchers could not find a difference in cannabinoid levels in those who actually smoked in the enclosed space. However, just because cannabinoid levels were unchanged in one study doesn’t mean you don’t actually feel higher from hotboxing.

The reason for this actually has to do with oxygen and CO2 levels in your brain. By breathing in the smoke from consuming cannabis, you’re essentially robbing your brain of oxygen and leaving behind abnormal levels of CO2. This elevates the feeling of being high overall. Even more, when exiting your hotboxing space, you’ll get a rush of oxygen on your first breath of fresh air. This causes a feeling of light-headedness that feels similar to an amplification of effects.

Now that you know what you’re getting into when hotboxing, let’s brush up on some tips to do so successfully and safely.

How To Hotbox A Room Or Other Area

hotboxing a car

When hotboxing a car, closet or bathroom, there are a few things to consider before you begin. First, you’ll want to choose a safe and discrete location. For instance, if you’re choosing a stationary car, be sure to do so legally and without having to drive immediately after.

As for the smell, even though you’ll be containing the smoke for a period of time, you’ll eventually have to let yourself out. When you do, be prepared for clouds of smoke to come with you. Not only that, but you may want to have a change of clothes handy, as the billows of smelly smoke will set into the fabrics you’re wearing.

Last but not least, make sure you have enough weed to get the job done. You won’t be able to hotbox an area with just one joint or one smoker. You’ll need plenty of supplies and consumers exhaling in order to achieve the hotboxing effect. However, don’t forget – oxygen is a necessity! If anyone begins to feel woozy or too light-headed, ensure there’s a way to crack open a window or otherwise let in some outside air.                               

Where Can I Hotbox?

Although we’ve given you a few ideas already, there are certain areas where hotboxing is more effective than others. Here are some of the most preferred or easily accessible spots to hotbox that people have discovered over the years.


hawaiian hotbox

Hotboxing a car is a classic! It’s small enough to fill the area with smoke and just big enough to keep having convos in comfort. Again, keep any area laws in mind while consuming cannabis while enclosed in a motor vehicle.


does hotboxing get you higher

This is a popular option for those looking to mask the smell of hotboxing with the steam of a shower. Hot and moist environments also contribute to an unforgettable experience. Hotboxing in the shower is often called a Hawaiian hotbox or Jamaican hotbox.


jamaican hotbox

For those in colder climates, an igloo can be an ideal enclosed and memorable place to hotbox. It’s a complete opposite for hotboxing a hot shower, but the frost can also effectively amplify the experience.


hotboxing a tent

Tents can be dual-purpose when hotboxing on a camping trip, or just setting up in your backyard (or home). Bring friends and joints in, and make sure your tent is properly sealed so that the smoke doesn’t come out.


hotboxing meaning

This is the case when you can actually hotbox alone almost as effectively. Bringing one more friend in shouldn’t be a problem either! When hotboxing a closet, if your closet door has an open space at the bottom, you can stuff a towel into the gap.

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Hotboxing For Elevated Highs

From classic movies to marijuana myth, hotboxing is a common yet controversial cannabis topic. While the one study conducted on hotboxing might not totally prove the term’s elevated highs, real-time use indicates otherwise. Due to the smoke-filled nature of the air in a contained area, hotboxing does actually cause contact highs, while those participating will definitely feel like their head is in the clouds upon leaving. Now you can use the information and tips we’ve provided here to try out hotboxing safely and successfully for yourself.

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