Combusting those fabulous marijuana cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids discreetly can sometimes be a challenge.
For us city dwellers, maybe you have a nose-y neighbor. Maybe you simply want your own privacy without discrimination against your cannabis use for your specific ailment. Maybe you’re growing in your closet. Either way, cannabis smells can be overpowering and a dead giveaway that someone’s getting high! Therefore we’re looking at some tips that can help decrease that alluring, pungent, dank, skunk-y, floral aroma that cannabis produces.
To understand why cannabis is so smelly, we look to terpenes. Terpenes and terpenoids are responsible for the flavor and unique aroma of flowers and plants including cannabis. More than 20,000 terpenes exist, and over 100 terpenes are produced from the cannabis plant. The terpene profile of a cannabis plant is a unique identifier for that strain. Generally when choosing a strain, it’s a good idea to ‘get a nose on it’ and see if it feels right. If it has a citrus aroma, it probably has higher levels of limonene, which is great for feeling alert or motivated. This is generally found in most sativa strains. If it smells floral, like say lavender, it probably has high levels of linalool, a terpene known to provide a sense of calmness that is commonly found in indica strains.
Wikileaf reports, “author of “How to Smoke Pot (Properly),” David Bienenstock, says that THC doesn’t have the strong smell we all believe it to have. Rather, he suggests the pungent aroma we smell, of lemon, pine, or even “skunk”, is due to marijuana being harvested at its peak. Michael Backes, the author of “Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana,” also suggests that the “skunk” odor we smell from weed is actually produced by the terpene known as myrcene.”
So there it is, the source of our problem is also that which heals. Now onto containing those aromatic notes…
When Growing Cannabis
During the vegetative stage you could probably get away with saying you’re growing herbs, tomatoes or even a house plant. The flowers or buds have not yet formed, and resin production is limited. However, once you have those babies going into flowering mode, the aroma produced by the cannabis plant increases dramatically.
Something you can do to combat the odor is using ‘air scrubbing’ techniques. One idea is to purchase and place some deodorizing gel near your grow. Like this one by Ona. Deodorizing gel neutralizes odors by evaporating and making contacting the odor molecules and neutralizing them.
If you want to step it up and be a pro, or have a larger grow, you may want to consider attaining an air/odor scrubbing carbon filter. Carbon filters generally run off of electricity and sound like a loud vent fan–which it essentially is. (Something to consider). It pulls in air and odor through little pores in the unit and through a charcoal filter, removing those smelly organic compounds in the air and pushes out clean, deodorized air. These filters are highly effective in absorbing and removing the strong smell of weed as well, in case you just harvested and are drying cannabis, or have a large storage of said cannabis!
When Smoking Cannabis
Eliminating smell while smoking is one of the trickier ones. I once learned how to make a ‘sneak-a-toke’ out of inline toilet paper roll and dryer sheets. Remember those days? Remember Nag Champa incense? However, that may as well be a dead giveaway that you smoke weed!
As mentioned above, a carbon filter or deodorizing gel may work for smoking cannabis too. Otherwise you can get something like a Smoke Buddy, which is a mini carbon filter that fits in the size of your hand. OR you could just vaporize or consume sublingual tinctures and edibles. (But Mike, I enjoy joints!) No worries friend, I do too. For that, I like using an oil diffuser with essential oils that mimic what I’m smoking. If I’m toking on a joint of Lavender Kush, I’ll diffuse some lavender essential oil–it adds to that therapeutic setting idea. And to be honest, I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety since the age of 15–rather than let it control me I do little hacks like these to improve my situation…and you can too!
Cannabis Smells on You
If you’re like me and function more efficiently and professionally when medicated, you must remain aware of your smells! So remember to brush your teeth, bring mints or gum, and change into some fresh threads after smoking. Make washing your hands after every session a habit, too. The resin glands that expand when you combust trichomes can stick to you and give you that resinous, burnt aroma. I also recommend using hemp papers/wraps vs. flavored tobacco wraps. Blunts rolled with tobacco leaf wraps are unique and classic, but the smoke from the tobacco leaf can leave that ‘ash tray’ presence in the air. If you’re a heavy blunt smoker, I recommend the all organic, 100% hemp, High Hemp Wraps.
Many seasoned marijuana activists, enthusiasts and potheads have imparted this knowledge onto me: Cannabis use is most therapeutic in a therapeutic setting. So if you’re taking a hit, but having to worry the whole time, you may be causing yourself a bit of anxiety, when you should be relaxing!
Information referenced from Wikileaf and the cannabis community.
Author Credits: Mike enjoys writing about cannabis lifestyle hacks, cannabis science and mental health and wellness.

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