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Hotboxing: A Comprehensive Guide

Whether you’ve seen hotboxing in movies or you’ve seen the word floating around online, hotboxing and marijuana go hand in hand. For many, it’s a right of passage for new smokers and their smoker friends. 

But what is hotboxing exactly? What are the pros and cons? And, probably the most sought-after question, how do you hotbox like a pro? 

This article will teach you everything you need to know about hotboxing – from its first recorded hotbox 2,500 years ago to modern techniques and strategies. 

Exploring The Concept of Hotboxing: What Does Hotboxing Mean?

Hotboxing is the practice of smoking weed (usually a lot) in a small, unventilated area. The weed fumes collect in the small room (like a box), creating a thick and hot THC-laced fog – hence the name hotboxing. 

In pop culture, hotboxing is often shown in cars, but any small room with minimal ventilation will do. Bathrooms, closets, a shed – all these places can work great for collecting the exhaled THC smoke. 

But why would anyone want to lock themselves in a hot, smoggy room to smoke weed when they can do it anywhere else and still get high? 

Because the people in the room are smoking weed (the first round of THC inhalation), exhaling, and inhaling THC-laced smoke again, the marijuana cycles through their system continuously. 

It can lead to intense highs, especially if you use high-quality weed

Many people who don’t want to smoke marijuana also enjoy hotboxing with their friends for a light, contact high. A ‘contact high’ is when someone experiences the effects of a psychoactive substance (such as marijuana) without directly consuming it themselves.

However, the biggest reason people hotbox is because it’s fun. You’ll notice that hotboxing is very rarely done alone. It’s a group activity that many smokers enjoy purely for the bonding experience.   

Hotboxing Through The Ages: The Origins Of Hotboxing

Determining the precise origin of the first hotboxing session is challenging. Humans have been using cannabis for over 10,000 years, and as we’ll explore, the same level of inventiveness and creativity we witness in contemporary cannabis culture has existed throughout its history.

However, the first written account of hotboxing that we know of comes from Nine Books of History by Herodotus, a very popular ancient Greek historian. 

In his account, 2,500 years ago, the Scythians hotboxed themselves in the equivalent of a modern-day Mongolian yurt. They hotboxed the tent by closing it up, throwing marijuana on hot stones, and inhaling the cannabis smoke. They then cried out in ecstasy. 

Cannabis continued to be used throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, where today, we see the modernized version of hotboxing. Hotboxing as a way to get high and socialize has been around for thousands of years. 

The Upsides Of Hotboxing Cannabis

Let’s take a quick look at some of the great things about hotboxing. 

  • Socializing: Hotboxing has become a fun way for friend groups to socialize, even with their non-smoker friends. 
  • Intense High: Smoking weed and inhaling THC-laced vapors creates a continuous loop that can lead to intense highs.
  • Less Waste: Because you are essentially re-smoking the same weed vapors, you’re using as much of your product as possible. 
  • Aromatherapy Effect: Different strains’ diverse terpenes and fragrances can create a sensory experience that some users find enjoyable.

Potential Hazards Of Hotboxing

As with most things, hotboxing comes with some cons. 

  • Smells: Weed has a potent odor. Whichever car or room you use to hotbox in will have quite an intense aroma that won’t go away for a while. 
  • Rising CO2 Levels: As we all know, smoking isn’t healthy. Hotboxing increases this danger. Because you are smoking weed and continuously inhaling smoke in a room with no ventilation, the CO2 rises. This can lead to hypercapnia, a medical condition that occurs when an elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) level is in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of hypercapnia may include confusion, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, headache, dizziness, and in severe cases, it can lead to unconsciousness or respiratory failure.

  • Increased Risk Of Lung Disease: If you hotbox often, the pollution and lack of oxygen, even for those only experiencing a ‘contact high,’ can increase the chances of lung disease. 

Things To Consider Before Hotboxing

Here are some things to consider to keep yourself and those around you safe when hotboxing. 

Firstly, don’t hotbox too often. As mentioned above, the rising CO2 caused by hotboxing can be dangerous. It’s especially dangerous if you hotbox frequently. Limit your exposure by cutting back on how often you hotbox. 

Secondly, consider who will be affected. People who aren’t smoking weed in the room or car are still affected by the THC and the CO2. Ensure your friends are comfortable and can breathe properly. The goal is to have a good time and not cause stress or discomfort. 

Lastly, consider the mental impairment that comes with hotboxing. The high is intense, leading to decreased mental functioning, dizziness, and disorientation. So don’t drive after hotboxing. It’s both dangerous and illegal. Instead, hotbox somewhere safe where you don’t need to drive or risk hurting yourself or others. 

How To Hotbox Like A Pro 

Now that all the theory is out of the way let’s get into the practicals of hotboxing. Here’s how to hotbox like a pro. 

1. Find The Right Space

First, find the right space. The ideal hotboxing space is small or small-ish and easy to close off. The goal is to limit the ventilation in the room, so a room with many doors doesn’t work well. 

Instead, opt for a small room with one door. Cars are also great because they’re small and the doors seal. 

Of course, you must consider how many people you want to join you. The bigger the party, the bigger the space needs to be.

2. Make It Airtight

Next, you’ll need to gather materials to make the room airtight. If you’re in a car, you don’t need much. Just ensure the windows are completely closed. 

In a room, close all the windows and doors. Check for cracks under the doors or ventilation shafts. If there is too much ventilation, you can use towels to stuff cracks along your doors. Tape and paper work wonders at sealing smaller holes. Don’t worry about every single hole or door crack.

Some ventilation won’t ruin the vibes or the high and can help everyone stay safe.

3. Get Some Food And Water In Your System 

Hotboxing generally takes a long time, and the high can be intense. So, we always recommend getting hydrated and eating some good food beforehand. This will keep you feeling good and act as a buffer from any intense jumps in your mood and high. 

4. Get Enough Weed

Grab your weed supply after getting some food and water in your system. There is no set amount of weed that you will need. But as a rough guide, lighting up four 2-gram joints and passing them around in a medium size car can quickly fill the area with smoke.

Consider the size of the room you’re hotboxing and the number of people in the room. The bigger the party and the room, the more weed you need. Take more than you think you need so that you can top up if the room needs more cannabis. 

5. Clear Your Schedule And Enjoy

Now that you have chosen your smoking area, made it airtight, prepped enough weed, and gotten food and water in your system, clear your schedule for the next 4 to 5 hours. Get everyone in the hotbox room, close it up, seal it shut, and light up your joints to enjoy your hotbox. 

What To Bring For Successful Hotboxing

To make the most of your hotbox, take these items with you. 

Your Usual Smoking Apparatuses

You’ll need your usual smoking apparatus. This includes your lighter, weed grinder, ashtray, bong, etc. 

A Few Different Strains 

Bring a few different strains of weed along. It can also be fun to have different flavor combinations. While it’s unnecessary, having a few strains can spice things up. 

Water And Munchies

Even if you filled up beforehand, we all know munchies and cottonmouth can hit at any moment. Bring snacks and water into the hotbox with you to prevent new air from ruining the hotbox on a food run. 

Staying hydrated and satisfied with snacks and water will also increase the vibe and keep everyone in a great mood. 

Ideal Spots For Hotboxing Sessions

Any small space will do, but some places have become hotboxing staples for a reason. Here are the ideal spots for hotboxing. 

  • Cars: Cars are probably the most commonly used space for hotboxing, and for good reason. Car’s are small, comfortable, and sealed. It’s super convenient as minimal prep is involved, and because it’s small, you don’t need as much weed to hotbox the car. 
  • Closets: Closets are great for hotboxing alone or with one or two friends. However, keep the smell in mind. Remove your clothes from the closet beforehand to prevent the odor from settling in all your clothing. 
  • Sheds: Sheds are also great because they’re compact and usually free from interference. It’s also great because the smell won’t be an issue for any other occupants in your home.
  • Bathrooms: Lastly, we have bathrooms. Like sheds, they’re great because they’re small and don’t hold onto scents. Bathrooms are built to ventilate bad smells. 

Hotboxing And The Law

Consider your state laws regarding marijuana before hotboxing. U.S. News has a great guide on which states have legalized marijuana and the laws surrounding them. If marijuana is legal in your state, hotboxing should be fine. 

However, keep these two things in mind.

First is public spaces. Don’t hotbox in public areas, especially in states where laws on marijuana are still ambiguous.

Next, don’t hotbox and drive. Driving under the influence is illegal and puts you and others at risk. Rather stay home and hotbox there. 


Hotboxing is a popular method of smoking weed that weed enthusiasts have enjoyed for thousands of years. 

Use this guide to have a good time and hotbox safely. Also, check state regulations on weed consumption so that you don’t get into trouble. 

Finally, check out a nearby Embarc location. Get our high-quality cannabis for your next hotbox for a guaranteed good time!