By Sierra Waldrop –
It is not an uncommon problem for medical marijuana users to need to be discreet about their cannabis use. Whether it’s against the rules of your lease agreement, not wanting your neighbors to continuously smell marijuana, cranky housemates (“I just don’t like the smell!”), or preventing your home from smelling like a Grateful Dead concert, there are a variety of reasons why cannabis smokers have to search for options on how to still enjoy their bud while avoiding pungent odors.
Thankfully, there are more alternatives for smoking cannabis now than ever before, so if you are a medical marijuana user that needs to be inconspicuous, you’re in luck. From easy to use edible items such as tinctures and capsules, to pain-relieving topicals, to the popular portable vaporizers, there are most certainly ways to experience the beneficial effects of medical marijuana without creating any smell at all. If you enjoy ingesting cannabis via the classic inhalation method, don’t despair; there are ways to still be incognito.
In this article, you can expect tips, tricks and advice on how to successfully be a low-key cannabis user.
Alternative Medical Marijuana Options
Thanks to cannabis legalization and science, edibles have evolved dramatically in the past decade. No longer just the special brownies that your dad swears he “accidentally” had in college, edibles now come in a surprising variety of forms. With methods that are easy to take and easy to regulate, as well as some old fashioned infused tasty snacks, edibles are an excellent option for medical marijuana users.
Tinctures are liquid cannabis extracts with an alcohol base. They are a popular choice among cannabis users due to being both easy to use and instantly effective. Tinctures come in little bottles and include a medicine dropper, which allows for precise dosing every time. This precision means you will be able to have the same experience every time you use, unlike smoking or eating edibles, which can have varied results each time.
Tinctures also offer quick effects, as they are taken sublingually (under the tongue) which allows an immediate introduction into the bloodstream. They can be swallowed, but the under the tongue method is more effective. They are also much lower in calories than edibles such as brownies or cookies.
Effects can be felt anywhere between 10 to 45 minutes but are strongest felt at around the 90-minute mark, and the high will last longer than a high from smoking or vaporizing.
Oils and capsules
You’ve likely heard that CBD products are all the rage at the moment. Due to the exceptional benefits of CBD becoming more widely known, people around the country are interested in this magical cannabinoid. One of the most popular ways to take CBD is in oil form. Much like tinctures, oil can be ingested or taken sublingually.
Capsules containing CBD oil are also available to medical marijuana patients. As easy as taking a daily vitamin, capsules will always give you precise dosing in a simple form.
There are now more options for delicious canna-infused goodies than ever before. Pre-made edibles range from savory snacks to sweet treats and can even come in drink form.
If you are wanting to create your own edibles by making your own canna-butter just be aware that the process will make your kitchen, if not your whole house, smell like marijuana for a while. So if you are trying to be discreet, it may be best to buy pre-made.
For cannabis users that use medical marijuana to relieve aches and pains, topicals may be the way to go. Able to provide respite from minor pains, topicals are available in a number of forms including lotions, liniments, ointments, balms and even “bath bombs”. They offer the medicinal and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties of CBD and THC without the “high”.
Topicals are good for everyday pains throughout the body such as back, neck or knee pains and headaches. Those who suffer from arthritis are known to find relief with cannabis topicals, as well.
They are also beneficial to those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, which are often hard to treat. These conditions can cause red, itchy and often painful patches that are flaky or scaly due to the excess skin cells in these spots.
Speaking as someone who has dealt with psoriasis for two decades, the condition doesn’t respond to most treatments and is often very frustrating. But cannabis topicals can alleviate many symptoms from these conditions. They moisturize the dryness of the patches, have anti-inflammatory properties to quell painful inflammation and soothe any itching or pain.
Another little-known advantage of topicals is their ability to treat minor bug bites, scrapes and burns by alleviating inflammation, itchiness and pain. Cannabis has also proven to be an effective topical antibiotic.
Vaping marijuana is now one of the most popular methods of cannabis inhalation and can be accomplished in a variety of ways. There are tabletop and portable vaporizers available, as well as portable vape pens that use infused oil cartridges in a variety of flavors.
The tabletop vaporizers heat the marijuana flower via a convection process, heating the flower to just the right temperature without getting so hot that it combusts. These will still give off a smell, but not near as strong as actually smoking the bud. The same is said for portable vaporizers that use the cannabis flower.
Vape pens that use oil produce much less of a marijuana aroma. It still may have some smell, especially if you aren’t in a well-ventilated area, but it is much more discreet than other vaping or smoking methods and tends to dissipate more quickly.
Ways to Mask the Marijuana Smell
While many of us don’t mind the cannabis smell or even find it pleasing, there are many reasons why someone would need to mask the aroma or try to eliminate it completely. Thankfully there are a few ways to lessen the marijuana odor.
Choosing the Right Strain
The first step would be to talk to your budtenders to help you find the right “low-key” strain. Some cannabis strains are much more potent than others and can stink up the whole place with a lingering smell, but thankfully there are strains that are much less pungent. Speak to your Fireleaf budtender about what type of effects you are looking for in a strain, as well as your desire for a less potent aroma, and they will be able to help you find your perfect match.
Sploofs (Smoke Filters)
Sploofs are the common name for devices that you blow your smoke into and they filter and eliminate a lot of the marijuana smell. They have been mostly homemade, but thanks to cannabis legalization there are now a variety of sploofs that you can buy at most dispensaries or head shops.
Buyable Sploofs – There are a few different brands of smoke filters out there and prices range from around $11.50 to $30.00. Brands such as Sploofy and Smoke Buddy were created specifically for the purpose of minimizing that pungent cannabis aroma.
Homemade Sploof – Illegal cannabis users have had this method locked down for years. The most commonly used form of sploof is, of course, the classic toilet paper roll and dryer sheet method. You take an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll and cover one end with a fresh dryer sheet, then secure the dryer sheet with a rubber band.
To really filter the smoke some users completely stuff the paper towel roll full of dryer sheets. It may make you smell (and possibly taste, depending on how many dryer sheets you crammed in there) fresh laundry for a minute, but who doesn’t love the smell of fresh laundry?
With this DIY method, it’s most effective when you slowly blow your smoke into it. Don’t puff it right out like you’re trying to put out a birthday candle or you may blow your dryer sheet right off like a toupee in the wind. Although hilarious, especially if you’re already a little high, it doesn’t work near as well.
Covering the Smell
Although not as effective as some of the other options on this list, getting rid of the marijuana smell by covering it with a stronger smell is certainly an option. If using air purifiers or sploofs is an offensive move to avoid odor, then you can think of covering the smell after the fact with strong smells a defensive move. Products such as air fresheners, incense or candles can be used to lessen any lingering smell.
Incense has been used for thousands of years throughout history for ceremonial or religious purposes, to ward off negative spirits, or to simply make the place smell good. Due to its natural and fragrant aroma incense can also be used to nullify the scent of marijuana when used either during or after smoking. Incense is typically very potent by itself, so to use this method you have to be okay with your room or home smelling strongly of burned incense.
Created for increasing indoor air quality by getting rid of pollutants in the air, air purifiers are used to assist allergy sufferers or those with asthma. It is also marketed as reducing second-hand tobacco smoke. There are many different types of air purifiers that work in different ways, some work by filtering particles in the air by passing air through a filter. Then you have purifiers that distribute negatively charged ions into the air or even purifiers that use Ultraviolet Germicidal Irrigation (UVGI) to sterilize air.
For the purpose of minimalizing marijuana smoke and odor, filtered air purifiers are probably going to be most recommended. Using an air purifier won’t eliminate the smell on its own, but it certainly will help and when used in conjunction with other methods (such as using a sploof) it can be effective.
Remember those uncomfortable Febreze commercials where they would make (supposedly) unsuspecting people in blindfolds smell stinky items (such as dirty socks or gross couches) that they had sprayed with the product only to have the person exclaim that it smelled fresh? Well, those might have been a bit of a stretch, but the popular “household odor eliminator” still works pretty well. Spraying your room full of the stuff may not completely get rid of the smell, but it certainly helps.
Air It Out
One of the quickest ways to eliminate any cannabis smell is to simply just create airflow. Open windows and doors to air out the area and in a relatively short amount of time, you won’t even notice any smell.
Properly Storing Your Cannabis
Even before the smoking process, the bud itself may have a strong smell if not stored properly. This can cause wherever you are storing your marijuana (cabinet, dresser, nightstand, etc.) to keep the cannabis scent even if you discontinue to store your buds there. The best and easiest way to avoid this is to keep your marijuana flower in an airtight container.
Airtight containers are certainly the best way to store cannabis. Not only do they keep the marijuana smell from permeating into anywhere it’s stored, but it will also keep your bud fresher for longer!
There are companies that create containers and bags with the specific purpose of masking any cannabis odor, but you can certainly find options that are more widely available. One of the most popular storage methods is mason jars. They are airtight, inexpensive and easy to find. You can buy them at craft stores and most grocery stores for only a few dollars each.
With all of these ideas in mind, being a sneaky cannabis user won’t have to be such a difficult task. Hopefully, as more information on the benefits of marijuana emerges, the stigma against cannabis and its users will lessen and more people with come to accept and appreciate medicinal cannabis’ many benefits. Even then, it is always important to be respectful to housemates and neighbors, and these tips should help make that possible.
Even if you don’t need to be low-key, try giving other marijuana methods a try. Who knows, with all of the available options, you might just find your new favorite method of cannabis consumption!