Sometimes, the smell of weed in the wind can be welcome. It can trigger good memories of a past satisfying smoke session. It can let you know you’re in safe-ish territory where presumably cool people feel bold enough to light up. Maybe you’ll even have the urge to follow the trail of marijuana smoke, like Homer Simpson tracking the scent of fresh pie or Toucan Sam zooming toward a fragrant bowl of Fruit Loops.
But of course, there are other times when that strong and distinct aroma is the last thing you want to be around you, especially when the smell is coming from inside the house, or at least your skin and your clothes.
Whether you are engaging in medical marijuana or recreational marijuana use, that telltale skunky smell could attract negative attention from employers, landlords, family, and even law enforcement. So it’s smart to figure out ways to mask the smell of cannabis, eliminate it, or try to not get it on you at all.
The good news is that since people have been sneaking smokes for years, there are tried-and-true methods along with a few tricks that don’t always really work. There are also useful new tools from DynaVap that help effectively disperse the unwanted odor well, creating conditions where you can feel confident that there are no lingering fumes to reveal your smoking history.
Understanding the Science of Marijuana Smell
Part of what we like about cannabis is what gives it its taste, smell, and effects: the terpenes. Terpenes are natural molecular compounds that combine to create specific physical characteristics that are found in all plants and fruit, including color, shape, and taste. Terpenes distinguish not just apples from oranges, but navel oranges from mandarin oranges.
In cannabis, common tastes and flavors caused by terpenes can include fruity, piney, or earthy aromas. Flavors and smells can also be accented by environmental factors like how the cannabis was processed, how old it is, and how preserved it has been – older strains not preserved or stored well may lose their flavor and potency but sometimes may increase their smell.
When marijuana is smoked, the primary source of the pungent smell is attributed to the burning of terpenes and other aromatic compounds present in the plant material. The high temperatures of combustion cause these molecules to break down into smaller and more odorous compounds, which form the characteristic smoke smell.
The smoke particles from marijuana tend to be heavier and more stubborn, lingering in the air and settling onto surfaces like clothes, furniture, and walls. This persistence can make the smell of marijuana smoke more difficult to manage and conceal, potentially attracting unwanted attention.
Vaporizing, on the other hand, offers a more controlled and efficient way to release the active compounds from marijuana without the harmful by-products associated with combustion. Vaporizers heat the cannabis material to a point just below the temperature of combustion, allowing the cannabinoids and terpenes to evaporate and form a vapor without actually burning the plant material.
Since vaporization occurs at lower temperatures, fewer aromatic compounds are degraded, leading to a cleaner and more aromatic vapor. The resulting vapor carries a milder and more pleasant aroma, with a reduced presence of the sharp, acrid smells that accompany combustion. Moreover, the vapor particles are lighter and less dense than smoke particles, enabling them to disperse rapidly and dissipate in the air.
Personal Hygiene and Clothing
If you detect weed smoke on you, others likely will do so too. So that means you should take action, especially if you’re heading into a situation where your use may be noticed or discouraged.
The following methods may help to different degrees:
- Clothing. Laundry time! Hot water, sweeter-smelling detergents, and scented fabric softeners can usually remove the weed smell well from clothes or linens. Some also suggest adding baking soda, white vinegar, or peroxide, although the combination can lead to bleaching. Air drying on a clothesline or drying rack is also said to be more effective than a power dryer.
- Brushing teeth/mouthwash/gum. Weed breath is not ideal. Oral products may make your mouth feel fresher after a good smoke, but as workplace drinkers know, if the smell is coming from your whole body as it processes cannabis, these methods may need to be constantly refreshed.
- Deodorant/perfume/body spray. These may mask the smell temporarily but if overdone could make it more obvious that you’re trying to cover something up. Strong sour smells may still be noticeable in close proximity, but this is a great immediate fix.
- Clothing choices. Some clothes are made to repel strong scent molecules. But not all of them are necessarily practical for recreational smoking, such as a raincoat or a firefighter jacket. All-natural fibers such as cotton or hemp are also believed to be more resistant to absorbing scents vs. synthetic materials like polyester.
Managing Your Environment
It can typically take four to five hours for marijuana smoke to disperse from an indoor space. But some methods can speed up this process.
- Ventilation. A fan pointing to an open window can blow out smoke and fumes. A rotating fan can also help keep air moving around.
- Air purifiers and filters. This can sometimes be useful for cannabis and tobacco smells, the stronger the better. But they can sometimes still leave a residual electrical/ozone smell behind or need to be cleaned or changed regularly to be effective.
- Masking scents. Scented candles, essential oils, natural incense, hand sanitizer, or patchouli oil are common methods to conceal the smell of marijuana.
Storage and Disposal of Cannabis Products
The best way to not have the smell linger in your place is to smoke your whole supply each sesh, right? Sure, that’s one approach if you have the budget and the tolerance. Instead, consider seeking other storage solutions.
- A locked airtight container. These solutions can help extend the life of your cannabis and also keep it out of the wrong hands, such as children or pets. Items that seal well keep the aroma from circulating while keeping your stash well-preserved and locking in flavor. It’s a similar approach to storing cigars, which benefit from cool conditions and little moisture.
- Discreet disposal. You can use the same airtight methods to throw your cannabis trash out or conceal if you want to prevent neighbors or law enforcement from noticing the smell. You can mix it with other trash with strong scents like coffee grounds. Or take your cannabis trash elsewhere, but be careful it doesn’t make your car upholstery smell.
Smoking and Vaporizing Techniques
Traditional cannabis smoking certainly can leave a strong scent. But other methods may be especially effective.
When smoking weed, the process involves combusting the plant material using a lighter or other heat source, which releases smoke containing various aromatic compounds, including terpenes and other volatile substances. These compounds contribute to the characteristic and often pungent smell associated with smoking cannabis. The smoke particles tend to cling to surfaces, clothing, and the surrounding environment, making the smell more persistent.
On the other hand, DynaVap products utilize a vaporization method. Instead of burning the cannabis material, they heat it up to a point where the active compounds, such as cannabinoids like THC and CBD, turn into vapor without reaching the point of combustion. As a result, the vapor released is significantly less dense and contains fewer aromatic compounds compared to smoke.
The vapor produced by DynaVap products tends to dissipate rapidly in the air, especially in well-ventilated spaces. Unlike smoke, which can linger for extended periods, vapor tends to break down and dissipate more quickly due to its lighter nature. This characteristic makes the smell of cannabis vapor far less conspicuous and easier to manage.
Furthermore, when consuming cannabis with DynaVap products, users often find that the smell does not cling to their clothes or linger on their breath as strongly as it does when smoking. This can be a considerable advantage for those who want to enjoy the effects of cannabis discreetly, without drawing attention or leaving a strong odor behind.
In addition to producing limited odor, these battery-free products also use less of your product than smoking does, as well as emphasizing flavor and portability.
Although several options have been presented that have varying effectiveness, cannabis consumers are nothing but creative, so there are all sorts of strategies to keep the smell from being detected. Other methods include:
- Scented sprays. Air fresheners like Febreze have a reputation of blocking most smells in a home’s interior or directly on furniture. Except that the smell of Febreze is noticeable.
- Choose a remote smoking spot. Going outside to smoke or vape keeps it out of your place, but it could still get into your clothes. Consider changing out of your daily clothes into specific smoking/vaping clothes, and then showering afterward. This could turn into a fun ritual to look forward to after a busy work day, and also keep cannabis items separate from your daily-use stuff.
- Cover your trail. Even if you think all the smoke blew away from your last safety meeting, you may still have a lingering smoke aura around you for a few more hours. Be conscious that even if you may not smell it, others may notice. So take steps to smell better, including some of the above suggestions.
Most cannabis enthusiasts agree that increased legalization in more parts of the United States is a great thing. But there’s still lingering fear in some areas about people finding out that you smoke or have a smell of weed, since it could potentially affect employment, leases, or even relationships with roommates, neighbors, or family. So it’s just a good idea to be aware and look for ways to reduce your smell.
For low-key smoke sessions, shop DynaVap to keep your odor on the down low.