Most can lights will have information right on the label inside as to the dimension that it needs to be from other framing material. This label is a UL requirement when clearance is needed. Lacking that labeling, no clearance is needed. Read every label and instruction for that can carefully to find out.
WAIT!!!!!!! I might have told you wrong. You need at lest 1/2" an inch if you have a non-IC fixture!
Here's the quote from the UL Marking Guide:
"c. Luminaires Requiring Minimum Spacing from Thermal Insulation and Combustibles (Type Non-IC) -— luminaires that are NOT marked “TYPE IC,” “INHERENTLY PROTECTED,” are referred to as Type Non-IC Recessed luminaires. The luminaires are intended to be installed where minimum spacings are maintained between the luminaire and combustibles, side walls, and overhead building members, and may be identified by the spacing-to-thermalinsulation marking as specified in Note 63. There are different purposes for the spacings. The minimum spacing to combustibles reduces the risk of the luminaire heat igniting combustibles. This spacing is always a minimum of ½ inch, unless the luminaire is marked: “INSTALL WITH MINIMUM SPACINGS BETWEEN (a) CENTER-TOCENTER OF ADJACENT LUMINAIRES: ____ mm (___in.).; (b) TOP OF LUMINAIRE-TO-OVERHEAD BUILDING MEMBER: ____ mm (in); and (c) LUMINAIRE CENTER-TO-SIDE BUILDING MEMBER: ____ mm (in.). “ The blank spaces will be replaced by the minimum distances required."
I suppose you could. as IC canned can touch insulation materials... why not touching the joists... If it were me, I would try to find other non-IC but shorter or smaller can to make it fitted though. as IC canned costs more ... if you have a lot to install...it is not a good reason for using it to avoid touching the joists... there should be a size which you can use to fit...
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