As the green wave of cannabis legalization surges across the globe, newcomers are showing a heightened interest in this ancient herb. Yet, one persistent concern remains: “What about the smell?” For those still on the fence, or just curious, we’ve crafted a guide to dive into the aroma of different cannabis products and their intensity. Buckle up as we decode the spectrum of cannabis scents!
Why Cannabis Smells
Before understanding the range of smells, it’s worth noting why cannabis even has a distinctive aroma. The answer lies in compounds known as terpenes. These are the aromatic oils that give cannabis strains their unique scents, ranging from citrusy or fruity to earthy and skunky.
The Cannabis Scent Scale
Let’s break down the various product types and rank them on our cannabis scent scale, where 1 stands for the least smelly and 10 is for the most potent aroma.
Scent Scale: 8/10
The raw cannabis flower, often referred to simply as “bud,” stands as a testament to the plant’s rich history and the culture surrounding it. Its aroma is as diverse as its strains, with some flowers emitting sweet, floral notes, while others lean towards earthy, piney, or even skunky undertones.
When you light it up, especially during combustion, these terpenes responsible for the scent are released in full force. This results in a strong, pungent aroma that can be both inviting and overpowering, depending on one’s preferences and the particular strain. It’s this iconic smell that often comes to mind when people think of cannabis.
In closed spaces, without proper ventilation, the aroma from burning raw flower can linger for hours or even days. Fabrics, like curtains or upholstery, can hold onto this scent, making it vital for users to consider where and how they consume if they’re concerned about the lasting aroma.
However, for many enthusiasts, this authentic smell is not a drawback but a cherished aspect of the experience. It connects them to the plant’s essence along with the traditions and rituals of consumption.
Storage Matters: One of the primary ways the smell of raw flower spreads is through inadequate storage. Those new to cannabis might underestimate how pungent a bag of unburned bud can be. To ensure that your living space doesn’t constantly hint at your stash, investing in good storage is key. Airtight containers, preferably made of glass or specialized cannabis storage solutions, can help contain the smell. Additionally, these containers preserve the flower’s freshness, ensuring that the terpenes and cannabinoids remain robust and effective.
Pro-tip: For those seeking an extra layer of odor protection, consider adding humidity control packs to your storage. These not only help regulate the moisture, keeping your buds in optimal condition, but can also assist in containing any strong odors.
Scent Scale: 2/10
Revolutionizing the cannabis industry, edibles offer a smoke-free alternative that appeals to a broader audience. Whether you’re munching on a THC-infused gummy bear or savoring a CBD-laden brownie, the world of edibles is vast and varied. But what’s consistent across this delightful range is the relatively subtle aroma they exude.
During the preparation of edibles, particularly when making cannabutter or oil, there can be a pronounced cannabis aroma. This is when the heat activates the terpenes and cannabinoids in a process known as decarboxylation. For someone standing in the kitchen during this phase, the scent is unmistakably “cannabis.” However, once this base is used to create the final edible product, whether it’s cookies, chocolates, or gummies, the distinct cannabis aroma diminishes significantly.
The result? Edibles that might have a slight hint of cannabis to the discerning nose but are overwhelmingly dominated by their primary flavors. A chocolate truffle, for instance, will predominantly smell of rich cocoa, and a gummy will burst with its fruity essence.
It’s important to note that this discreet nature of edibles is a boon for many. Since there’s no combustion involved, as with smoking, there’s no release of the strong, characteristic smell of burning cannabis. This lack of a telltale aroma makes edibles a favored choice for those wanting to maintain discretion in their consumption.
Storage Insight: While edibles might not have the pungent aroma of raw flower, they still need proper storage, especially to maintain their potency and freshness. Most edibles, like gummies and chocolates, benefit from being stored in cool, dark places. If you’re storing homemade edibles, consider using airtight containers to further ensure longevity.
Remember: Even though edibles are discreet in aroma, they can be potent in effect. Always start with a low dose such as 5mg or 10mg, especially if you’re new to them, and wait for a couple of hours to gauge the full impact before considering consuming more.
Vapes and Cartridges
Scent Scale: 4/10
The modern era of cannabis consumption has witnessed the meteoric rise of vaping, a method applauded for its discretion, convenience, and reduced health risks compared to traditional smoking. While the mechanics of vaping involve heating rather than burning, the resultant aroma is notably different from the familiar scent of combusted cannabis.
When you vape, especially with cartridges filled with cannabis oil, the released vapor carries a much milder aroma than one might expect. This is primarily due to the concentrated nature of the oil, which often lacks the full spectrum of terpenes found in raw flower. The result? A whiff that’s fleeting and far less pungent, allowing for a more discreet experience.
Now, when it comes to dry herb vapes, the game changes a tad. Since these devices heat up actual cannabis buds, the aroma profile becomes more pronounced, reminiscent of the flower but still less intense than smoking. It’s a middle ground for those who enjoy the authenticity of the cannabis smell but wish for a less invasive and lingering presence.
One of the standout features of vaping, irrespective of the medium, is how quickly the vapor dissipates compared to smoke. Within moments, the aroma fades away, especially in well-ventilated areas. This quick evaporation ensures that fabrics, walls, or enclosed spaces don’t retain the scent for long, adding another layer of discretion to the vaping experience. If curious to learn more then here are some cannabis vape reviews to help guide your next buying decision.
Vape Maintenance: The aroma intensity can also be influenced by the cleanliness of your vape. Residues from previous sessions can build up, altering the purity of the scent during subsequent uses. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your vape device can ensure a consistent aroma profile and optimal functionality.
Safety Tip: When choosing cartridges, especially in regions where cannabis isn’t well-regulated, always opt for reputable brands and vendors. The market has witnessed instances of counterfeit or low-quality cartridges that could pose health risks. Prioritizing quality ensures a safer and more pleasant vaping experience.
Tinctures and Oils
Scent Scale: 3/10
As the industry matures, we’re seeing an upsurge in products tailored for precision and versatility. Tinctures and oils stand out in this category, offering users an efficient way to consume cannabis without the smoke or even the faintest whiff of a baked brownie.
Tinctures, traditionally alcohol-based solutions infused with cannabis, and oils, often extracted directly from the plant, are designed for subtlety. When used sublingually, just a few drops under the tongue are enough to deliver the desired effects, and this method leaves virtually no aroma in the air. The experience is akin to using essential oils, where the scent is localized and doesn’t project.
However, on closer inspection, or if you were to take a direct sniff from the bottle, you’d detect a mild cannabis aroma, especially if the tincture or oil maintains a broad spectrum of terpenes. This aroma, though, is far from the robust scent of raw flower. It’s softer, more herbal, and blends seamlessly with other ingredients often found in tinctures, like peppermint or citrus oils.
When incorporated into edibles, the scent becomes even more subdued. A dish or drink infused with cannabis oil or tincture will often carry the dominant notes of its primary ingredients, making the subtle cannabis undertones easy to miss.
Storage Insights: While tinctures and oils may not be as aromatic as some other forms of cannabis, they still require thoughtful storage. Exposure to direct sunlight or excessive heat can degrade the cannabinoids and terpenes, affecting both potency and flavor. Dark, cool places, preferably in their original amber or blue glass bottles, are ideal.
Dosage Reminder: Tinctures and oils offer a concentrated form of cannabis. Especially for those new to this format, it’s crucial to start with a lower dose. Utilize the dropper for accurate measurements and always wait to assess the full effects before considering a subsequent dose.
Scent Scale: 1/10
The realm of cannabis has expanded far beyond mere recreation, making notable inroads into wellness and skincare. A shining example of this evolution is the emergence of topicals – cannabis-infused creams, balms, lotions, and even bath salts that promise therapeutic relief without any psychoactive effects.
One of the first things you’ll notice when encountering topicals is their understated aroma. Unlike other forms of cannabis that interact with our senses more aggressively, these are designed for subtlety. After all, few would want their skincare or pain-relief cream to announce its presence with a potent odor.
While the base cannabis extract in these products does have its own characteristic scent, it’s typically overshadowed by other ingredients. Many topicals are enriched with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, or tea tree. These not only add their therapeutic benefits but also dominate the olfactory profile. So, while there might be a whisper of cannabis if one were to deeply inhale, it’s comfortably nestled amidst other more prominent fragrances.
This almost imperceptible aroma ensures that users can apply these products at any time of the day, whether before a meeting or after a workout, without drawing attention or feeling self-conscious.
Application Tips: Always ensure your skin is clean before applying any topical to enhance absorption. Furthermore, remember that while topicals offer localized relief (e.g., for joint pain or skin conditions), they don’t produce the “high” associated with other cannabis products, making them suitable for a wide range of users.
Quality Matters: As with all skincare or wellness products, it’s essential to be mindful of the ingredients. Opt for topicals that are transparent about their components and, when possible, favor those with natural additives. This ensures not only a pleasant aroma but also a safer, more beneficial experience.
Concentrates (Dabs, Shatter, Wax)
Scent Scale: 7/10
Navigating the innovative frontiers of cannabis, we’re met with products that seem to condense the essence of the plant into tiny, potent forms. This is the world of concentrates – an umbrella term that covers extracts like dabs, shatter, wax, and even crumble. These are the epitome of potency, capturing the strength of cannabis in ways traditional forms could only dream of.
Much like their potency, concentrates bring with them a distinct aromatic intensity. While their solid state might seem discreet, the moment they’re subjected to heat, their aroma unfolds with vigor. However, what’s fascinating is that this aroma, although strong, diverges from the scent profile of raw flower. It’s purer, sharper, and often more terpene-forward due to the concentration process, which amplifies specific scent profiles.
Dabs, for example, when vaporized, release a robust aroma that, while reminiscent of cannabis, leans more towards the specific terpenes inherent in that strain or product. So, a dab derived from a limonene-dominant strain might fill the room with strong citrusy notes.
However, this intensity doesn’t necessarily mean a longer-lasting smell. Much like vaping, the aroma from vaporized concentrates tends to dissipate faster than combusted flower. The smell might be robust at the outset, but it doesn’t cling to fabrics or spaces for long.
Usage Caution: Given their potency, concentrates demand respect. They can be overwhelming, especially for newcomers. Always start with a minimal amount, and ensure you’re using proper tools and temperatures to optimize the experience without going overboard.
Storage Solutions: Concentrates, due to their refined nature, can be sensitive to environmental factors. Store them in cool, dark places, preferably in non-stick silicone containers or the packaging they came in. Proper storage not only retains their aroma and potency but also ensures consistency in texture and usability.
Capsules and Pills
Scent Scale: 1/10
In an era where convenience and discretion reign supreme, the cannabis industry has responded with products that embody these ideals. Enter capsules and pills – the unsung heroes for those wanting the benefits of cannabis without the sensory footprint.
Much like a regular supplement or medicine, cannabis capsules and pills come with an aura of familiarity. They’re compact, easy to carry, and, most notably, they lack the characteristic cannabis aroma. Whether you open a bottle or pop a pill out of a blister pack, you’re met with a near-neutral scent. This is largely due to the encapsulation process, which seals the cannabis oil or powder, preventing any aromas from escaping.
For those who are particular about discretion, whether it’s due to personal preference or societal judgment, capsules present an impeccable choice. They can be taken in public, at work, or even during family gatherings without drawing any attention. No need for elaborate setups or post-consumption odor management – it’s as straightforward as taking a daily vitamin.
Dosage Considerations: One of the key benefits of capsules and pills is the precision of dosage. Each capsule typically comes with a specified amount of THC, CBD, or a mix of cannabinoids, allowing for consistent dosing. However, as with all cannabis products, especially if you’re new or sensitive to its effects, it’s wise to start with a low dose and gradually adjust as needed.
Storage Suggestions: While capsules and pills aren’t aroma-intensive, they still require proper storage to maintain their potency. Keep them in their original containers, away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. A cool, dry place, like a medicine cabinet, is ideal.
Final Thought: Capsules and pills are a testament to how versatile and adaptable the world of cannabis has become. They bridge the gap between traditional medicine and herbal remedies, offering the best of both worlds for those who prioritize subtlety and efficiency.
Tips and Tricks for Odor Management
While cannabis is celebrated for its myriad benefits and rich profiles, the accompanying aroma might not always be appreciated, especially in shared spaces or situations that demand discretion. As we’ve explored the scent scale of various products, it’s clear that managing this aroma can be essential for many users. Let’s delve into some expert strategies to maintain an odor-free environment or remove the smell of cannabis:
1. Storage Solutions:
- Airtight Containers: Investing in high-quality airtight containers, like mason jars or specialized cannabis storage boxes, can drastically reduce the spread of aroma. These containers ensure the freshness of the product and prevent any unwanted scents from permeating your living space.
- Vacuum Sealing: For those storing larger quantities or wanting an added layer of protection, vacuum sealing acts as a formidable barrier against odors. By removing air from the equation, the chances of the scent escaping diminish significantly.
- Silica Gel Packs: Often found in food packaging, these tiny packets absorb excess moisture, ensuring your stash remains dry and fresh while also helping to curb the spread of any odors.
2. Air Purifiers:
- An air purifier can be a game-changer, especially for those who regularly smoke or vape indoors. Devices with activated carbon filters are particularly effective as they trap odor particles, leaving the room smelling neutral. Remember to maintain your purifier by changing filters as recommended.
3. Odor Neutralizers:
- Sprays: There are sprays specifically designed to neutralize cannabis odors such as Veil. Unlike regular air fresheners that merely mask the smell, these products target and eliminate the odor at a molecular level.
- Candles: Odor-neutralizing candles can be a two-fold solution. They provide ambient lighting for your session and help combat any lingering smells. Opt for candles that specify odor neutralization rather than just scent masking.
- Gels & Beads: Odor-absorbing gels or beads can be strategically placed around your consumption area. They slowly release their formula, absorbing the cannabis smell and replacing it with a more pleasant aroma.
- Windows & Doors: The simplest and most effective method to quickly dissipate smoke or vapor is by opening windows and doors. Fresh air helps displace the cannabis scent and reduces the time it lingers.
- Fans: Ceiling or oscillating fans can be useful in dispersing smoke or vapor, preventing it from settling in one place. When paired with an open window, fans effectively usher out the cannabis aroma.
- Exhaust Systems: For those looking for a more permanent solution, especially in designated smoking rooms, installing an exhaust system can help vent out the smoke and associated odors, keeping the indoor environment fresh.
While the aroma of cannabis is celebrated by many, it’s essential to recognize the importance of discretion and comfort for both enthusiasts and those around them. This guide aimed to demystify the aromatic nuances of various cannabis products and provide actionable strategies for managing them. Remember, this journey is deeply personal, and the choices you make should resonate with your preferences, lifestyle, and the environment you’re in. Whether you embrace the scent or prefer to keep it under wraps, may your experience be fulfilling, respectful, and always enjoyable.