Cannabis, as we’re well aware, is a flower. One of the primary functions of flowers is to create terpenes, odoriferous chemicals designed by nature to attract pollinators and ward off predators. These pungent compounds can be one of the best and worst parts of enjoying cannabis. The rich smell of fresh, sticky bud can be as intoxicating as the perfume of a long-lost lover.
Unfortunately, this odour can also be a dead giveaway that alerts others to your preferably private ritual. And while cannabis may be consumed for medicinal and adult-use purposes throughout the country, federal prohibition continues to govern public perception, which can still trend negative. If you want to be mindful of your neighbours or simply want your cannabis habits to stay under the radar, respect and privacy can be preserved with a few handy tricks to mask the smell of cannabis on your person or inside your home.
The Classic Approach: Sai Baba, Satya, Nag Champa, Agarbatti Incense
Nag Champa is an incense commonly burnt in ashrams. The scent is neither masculine or feminine and usually contains a mixture of the following ingredients:
- Champa flower
- Benzoin resinoid (Styrax tonkinensis)
- Henna (Lawsonia inermis)
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- Indian sandalwood (Santalum album)
The classic aroma was transplanted in the west at the end of the hippie trail and has remained a welcome scent for practitioners of yoga, meditation, and cannabis consumption. This is a great way to get rid to not only get rid the smell of cannabis, but the incense smoke will also visually mask the cannabis smoke if it’s still lingering.
The Hippie Approach: Patchouli Oil
This aromatic oil is a hippie hallmark. Made from the small pink and white flowers of the patchouli plant, this oil is known for its pleasant, lasting scent and supposed antidepressant and aphrodisiac qualities. Certainly makes sense to me: enjoy a doobie, dab some patchouli behind the ears, smell nice, and make love, not war.
The Homemaker Approach: Febreeze
A household staple for many Americans living with gassy pets and gassier spouses or roommates, Febreeze is a trigger-action odor eliminator. This is not the end-all, be-all of cannabis smell reduction, but for a fresh scent in a pinch, it’s a solid option.
The Toilet Bowl Approach: Matches With the Bathroom Fan On
One of the sneakier moves on the list, the toilet bowl is an act of desperation at its core. You can’t go outside but you can’t consume inside; it’s a risky move no matter how you slice it. But if you must, bring along stick matches (preferably) and flip the switch on the fan. The combusting sulfur and wood smoke of the stick matches should cover a hit or two and the fan should take care of the rest.
Smoking in the Shower
Another bathroom consumption method is to smoke your cannabis while the shower is running. Turn the shower to maximum hotness; creating steam is the primary goal here because the smoke smell will dissipate along with the steam being sucked into your bathroom fan. This is traditionally called a “Hawaiian Hotbox.” For some added odor-masking, place a towel at the bottom of the door or even use a small spritz of your smell-good shower toiletries to replace the smell.
The Last Resort: Burnt Popcorn
The smell of burning popcorn could make a house fire just smell like another movie night gone wrong. In my experience, few smells mask other odors better and linger in the air longer than an accidentally burnt bag of microwavable popcorn.
But beware! Respect the very delicate balance between burnt for effect and just burning the hell out of it. While the room may no longer smell of cannabis, the fire alarm is literally the loudest signal of domestic failure known to man, and that’s not the perception cannabis needs, either.
- Air-tight containers are not hard to come by. A good Tupperware, Mason jar, or, if you’re in a pinch, a Ziploc bag inside another Ziploc bag, can really go the distance. There are also other vacuum-sealed containers on the market, like OXO food storage containers, that will work extremely well for storing your pungent cannabis. If you can, get a UV protective airtight container and/or keep all cannabis plant matter out of direct/indirect sunlight to preserve quality over time.
- Paper towel/toilet paper roll + rubber band + dryer sheet. It’s that simple—get a toilet paper or paper towel roll, place a fabric softener sheet at the end, and strap it to the roll with a rubber band. The idea is to fill the volume of the roll, so exhale slowly as not to shoot the smoke directly out the other end. Know that smoke will escape either way, but if done correctly, much of the odour will be diffused.
- Buy a smoke filter. Manufactured smoke filters are starting to hit the market. You can try Sploofy—this portable carbon filter is an excellent choice for travellers and cannabis consumers that need to conceal their presence. The Sploofy’s replaceable filter system and nearly magical ability to swallow up enormous clouds of smoke make for potent camouflage on the go or in the home.