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How to Control and Hide Marijuana Odor

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marijuana plant
April 15, 2020
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Every single strain of cannabis has a smell, usually a very strong one, and efforts to breed this pungency from the plant have, unsurprisingly, fallen short. Rich aromas are here to stay, at least for the time being. At least until some clever group of cannabis breeders manages to remove the scent WITHOUT compromising medicinal potency, strength or flavor. Unfortunately for them, the terpenes responsible for the smells are the same ones responsible for the rich tapestry of flavors and unique interplay of effects. Breed out the terpenes and you breed out everything good about cannabis. 

Now, if you’re going to start growing marijuana indoors and you don’t want it to stink out your entire home, what can you do? And what about when you have grown and cured your weed? Is there a way to smoke cannabis without the smell? 

Over the last decade, many breeders have been enhancing terpene concentration in both old and new hybrids. These aromatic oils heighten the effects of THC and enrich the plant with flavor. Myrcene (also found in hops and thyme) adds peppery notes, pinene (also found in pine needles and rosemary) is responsible for herbal woodiness and limonene (also found in lemon rind and juniper) adds sharp, citrus freshness. Marijuana has been getting MORE pungent, not less. 

But are all marijuana strains strong-smelling? Are there low-odor cannabis strains? Hmmm. Not really. There are some less strong than others but, for the most part, really good cannabis has a really good, strong smell. You could try Northern Lights as a low-odor marijuana strain, it’s less pungent in the grow but has bags of flavor and a great nose in the bowl. Homegrown also has a Northern Lights x Blueberry Auto that has a fairly subtle aroma, but if you really want to contain the smell of your grow, you’re going to have to buy some filters.

Anti-odor carbon filters for cannabis

Every growing space should have adequate air circulation, whether it’s a tent, a shed or a closet. Fresh air needs to come in while warm, stale air goes out. Even without a filter, this will slightly reduce smells around the immediate area, dispersing some of the odor out and away from the plants. It’s usually enough during the vegetative stage.

Once the trichomes start to develop during flowering, however, the odor becomes more intense. This is when your odor-control system and carbon filters become essential.

By adding an activated carbon filter to your existing exhaust system (the higher up the tent, the better), around 90% of particulates will be trapped and stored by the highly ionized carbon molecules. The air that leaves the tent will be barely recognizable from the air inside. You can go for a complex, expensive system or something cheap and cheerful. Beginners should opt for the latter, something along the lines of these:

  1. TerraBloom Premium Carbon Filters
  2. Vivosun Air Odor Control Carbon Filters
  3. Apollo Horticulture Premium Carbon Filters

How to store marijuana without it smelling

So, you’ve grown your cannabis without stinking out the neighborhood. How can you store your cannabis without the smell? The best way to keep weed is in a good-sized, airtight container like a mason jar or something ceramic. Avoid plastic as this encourages sweating (imagine sunbathing in a trash bag) and make sure the lid seals properly. You want the container to be full, but not crammed. A half-empty jar or tub means too much oxygen, a stuffed jar will get too humid. When filling the jar, shake it to make more room, never cram or stuff. 

Once the jar is airtight, it will not smell. Take this jar and keep it somewhere dry, dark and cool… or at least not subject to wild temperature swings. Don’t, whatever you do, put the buds in the fridge! Every time you open the door the temperature and humidity will fluctuate and water will condense on the surface of your buds, encouraging mold. It’s a rookie mistake.

Anyways, the short answer to how to store your weed without the smell is: an airtight container. The rest of the information was a bonus 🙂

How to smoke weed without the smell

Smoking cannabis indoors can be a stinky business. But there are some types of smoking that are smellier than others. If you’re a big fan of the spliff (cannabis and tobacco) you’re in for a real challenge. Our advice? Don’t bother. You could get a bank of air purifiers, smoke under the extractor fan, use ten sprays of air freshener after each spliff… it won’t matter in the long run. The smell is still going to accumulate and eventually nothing but changing the carpets and painting the walls will get rid of it. 

Joints, bowls and bongs, however, are far less obnoxious and there are ways to toot the occasional doob without that unwanted, lasting impression on your furniture.

There are two ways to manage odor: eliminate or mask. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular tricks.

1. The homegrown sploof

Prevention is better than cure, so they say, and sometimes it’s better to eliminate bad odors before they get out of hand and impossible to mask. One way of attempting this is with a homemade sploof.

The sploof, basically, is a homemade filter you exhale into. The idea is to trap odor particulates before they’re released into the room. Making a sploof is as easy as stuffing some dryer sheets into a tube (empty toilet roll, plastic bottle…) and sealing off one end with another dryer sheet. If you don’t have dryer sheets (because it’s not 1994) you can try toilet paper soaked in soap or deodorant. 

The sploof can reduce the amount of smell in your room, but it’s not (you might be shocked to discover) 100% efficient and some residual smells will linger. If you only smoke a few bowls before you go to bed then a sploof will suffice, but a few bowls won’t really smell that bad either.

2. Nag champa

These are traditional Indian incense sticks made with Ayurvedic recipes using resins, honey, wood, essential oils and herbs. Good brands don’t contain harsh chemicals that can cause a headache but they’re good at masking weed smoke after a session. 

3. Patchouli oil

This is an essential oil extracted from patchouli plants. The sweet, spicy and woody scent can be very calming… aromatherapists love it. It’s also a good way to mask the odor of cannabis smoke. A few drops in a diffuser and Bob’s your mother’s brother.

4. Household odor eliminators

The smell of marijuana can cling on surfaces. There are odor eliminators that work really well. You might even have been using it already. Febreze is one and arguably the most recognizable. Zero Odor Multi-Purpose Household Odor Eliminator is also a great option.

5. Specially formulated odor eliminators

General-purpose cleaners can do the job only so well. If you want to get serious you could try Ez-Pur Smoke Odor Remover or Kushkey. Both are non-toxic, natural cleaners that are formulated for one specific reason – to remove marijuana odor.

Do you have to let it linger?

Smoking weed indoors can blanket surfaces with odor particulates that can be tough to remove. The best advice is to use a combination of different, common sense methods. Keep the place aired and ventilated while you’re smoking: run some fans, extractors, purifiers… keep a few windows open and tell the strange lady with the cigar to stand outside. Try using a sploof and incense sticks and keep the ventilation going as long as possible. 

Clean and freshen all surfaces once you’re done (and, yeah, you can wait until the morning – that was a damn strong indica, after all). If you’re a lone tooter, you could try smoking in the bathroom with the window open and the shower running. It’s a bit of a drain on your utilities, though – and not amazing for the environment. 

Share your tips

If you have a novel way or some advice when it comes to getting rid of the smell of cannabis, please do let us know. Our preferred method is to quickly open and close the door in a state of panic shouting ‘Mum’s home!’ … some might say this is inappropriate for an office environment, but what do they know?

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