What Is Hotboxing and How High Will It Get You?
Learn the essentials before stuffing up your Prius with smoke.
Published on August 8, 2019

If you’ve ever found yourself compelled to light a joint or spark a bowl in a place where the smoke can’t escape, then you’ve participated in the time-honored tradition of hotboxing.

The temptation to hotbox is almost instinctual. We observe a space — be it a car, a bedroom, or, for some misguided souls, a porta potty — and feel compelled to find out how cloudy we can make it. In the days before legalized medical (and later, recreational) cannabis use, hotboxing was about as big a risk as you could take in terms of throwing discretion to the wind. We’ve all seen an episode of Cops where a driver gets pulled over, rolls down his window, and a billowing mass of smoke pours out.

Hotboxing is thus best reserved as an option only in places where “getting caught” — whatever that term may mean for the situation — is a minimal or non-existent risk. Provided you’re aware of that aspect, there’s only one other caveat to address: safety.

Make no mistake about it: hotboxing by its nature will change the ratio of smoke to oxygen in the air. That means you should always be aware of any potential C0₂ risks posed by sealing off a room or vehicle. With those warnings in mind, here’s everything else you need to know when it comes to hotboxing.


The Basics to Hotboxing

Here’s the bottom line: nothing matters more than the venue.

As noted above, hotboxing is, by definition, what one might call an “obvious” activity in that there’s no denying the evidence if you get busted. For these reasons, it’s always best to hotbox somewhere where a lingering pot aroma won’t be a big deal. If it’s Thanksgiving, avoid the guest room where Aunt Betsy is sleeping. You get the drill.

In terms of securing a proper seal on your approved location, think of it in terms of air conditioning. Treat the space as though it’s miserably hot outside and you’re ready to turn the AC on. Whatever you’d do to keep the AC in and the heat out will also work perfectly for your purposes here. For safety’s sake, it’s always better not to hotbox alone. Also be sure you never do anything to seal a room that can’t be instantly undone in an emergency. Hotboxing is cool. Not having to call the fire department is even cooler.

How to Get Creative with a Hotbox

Hawaiian Hotbox: Want to add a tropical flare to your next hotbox? Take the party to the nearest (indoor) bathroom and let the shower get things nice and steamy while you burn one. The added atmosphere of the steam can really take the experience to another level. For bonus conservation points, plug the tub and let someone take a bath when you’re done.

Laser Pointers: There’s a reason rock bands like Pink Floyd often utilized lasers in their live performances. Fog machines plus lasers are awesome. That is an objective fact. While playing Dark Side of the Moon is optional, definitely try using some laser pointers during a hotbox with the lights off. Honestly though, some added Dark Side probably won’t hurt.

Follow Zack Ruskin on Twitter

Zack Ruskin
Zack Ruskin is a cannabis and culture journalist living in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @zackruskin.
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