What is Hotboxing? Top 4 Things to Know About Hotboxing

Where's Weed

Published on 2/19/22

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The staple joke of every stoner comedy movie, from Cheech and Chong to Half Baked, is the hotboxing scene, where a car rolls up with every window solid white from as much smoke as the Great Chicago Fire. A character steps out, coughing and eyes reddened, having toked at least several pounds of the strongest stuff on the market. 

What is fun in Hollywood is fun in real life: hotboxing weed is an experience that every pot aficionado should participate in, whether the purpose is good old-fashioned fun or introducing someone to a new strain you particularly enjoy. However, like so many other aspects of stoner culture, there's no true hotboxing definition: instead, you can make it whatever you want it to be. This can come with advantages but also drawbacks. Here is what you should know about the hotbox process and how to best have fun.

A Brief History

Like many aspects of pot culture, Hotboxing goes back much farther than you might think. The first hotbox was, believe it or not, something that took place some 2500 years ago. The ancient Scythians of central Asia would take marijuana and add it to hot stones, creating a steam bath that got them high as a giraffe. It was, the ancient Greeks recalled, something that no civilized bath could match.

The term "hotbox" itself has an uncertain origin. Like many other pieces of cannabis terminology, the term may have originated from an unknown person and simply spread throughout the English-speaking world. By the 1970s, it had become so well known that it was part of the marijuana lifestyle, something that every stoner knew, even if they didn't know where the hotboxing meaning came from.

High or Just Hazy?

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Does hotboxing get you higher? Like so many other things in life, the answer is that it depends. The size of the area, the strain you're smoking, and the number of people around you can all affect how much THC gets in your bloodstream. As a general rule, yes, hotboxing does get you higher than a simple puff of a joint: the constant re-inhalation of smoke, which still has much of its THC, means that you will get more into your system than you would taking a breath of clean air. 

However, hotboxing isn't a guarantee of high-ness. For starters, multiple people inhaling the same smoke can quickly reduce how much THC is being circulated. Additionally, smoke is only as concentrated as the air around it: the more open the space, the less smoke to air ratio you get. Finally, lower oxygen can make you feel different than you would while high: you may feel very sleepy very quickly, without the euphoric feeling, if you drain a room's oxygen too fast.

Tip #1: Know Your Surroundings

A hotboxed car, room, or ferris wheel compartment can all be a fun place to smoke up and smoke out. However, it's always important to remember that you are only in control of your immediate surroundings and that everything the smoke doesn't touch is out of your control. This means don't hotbox in a place at high risk, like a car in a parking lot or a dorm room next to an RA. While it may not be illegal to get high in a parked car, it's illegal to get caught driving one while too stoned to remember your middle name. Don't hotbox another person's property unless you are 100% sure that they won't have a problem with it. Finally, make sure that you can safely get in and out once the smoking is done and that you won't find yourself trapped. 

Tip #2: Go Easy on the Strain

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Hotboxing a car is a fun way to get pretty high. That means you don't have to load up on a super strain because you're sure to get where you want to go. A mid-grade strain can be a better choice, while a strain with low THC will make it possible to partake in an activity afterward, like seeing a movie or going to a party. Only smoke high-grade strains if you don't plan on leaving the vicinity for several hours.

Tip #3: Invite Good Friends

Hotboxing a room may be a fantastic icebreaker, but it can just as often go wrong with a person you don't particularly know well. In general, you want the people you are hotboxing with to be someone you know well, especially people you've already smoked weed with at another place or time. Newbies to marijuana shouldn't hotbox, simply because it can quickly become too much: the last thing you want is someone freaking out about the experience.

Tip #4: Prepare for a Smell

While it's not recommended to use skunk weed for anything, let alone hotboxing, it's especially bad to use low-quality, bad-smelling cannabis for a hotbox session. Why? Simple: because that smell isn't going away any time soon. The smell of cannabis can stay in a car or room for days or even weeks at a time, sinking into every bit of fabric on furniture. Fabreeze will help, as will ventilation, but really the only thing that can take away the pungent smell of cannabis is time - lots of time. Don't hotbox unless you have that time, or else you may find yourself with an embarrassing odor and the need to come up with a convincing alibi.

Do you have any hotboxing stories? Do you find that it gets you higher than a typical smoke session? Let us know in the comments below!