Smell is a tell-tale sign of cannabis use. One of the primary appeals of vaporizers is their discretion, so it makes sense to ask if vaping with PAX would produce the same unmistakable scent. In this guide we'll dive into the causes of cannabis smells, why PAX vaporizers reduce them, and ways that you can minimize the odors further.
Does vaping cannabis smell?
Prior to being consumed, cannabis tends to have a detectable aroma. This is especially the case for high quality flower. Cannabis concentrates tend to have less odor, and ERA oil pods have very little, if any. The odor will be highly localized, never traveling very far beyond the material itself.
But what about during and after vaporizing with a PAX? If you vape in an enclosed space, where vaping is permitted, will the scent linger? The short answer is no. Although vaping will likely result in a subtle scent, it will quickly dissipate after your session.
Why does vaporizing with PAX produce less smell?
Vaping with a PAX doesn't produce the same kinds of aromas as other forms of consumption, nor do the aromas linger after use. With PAX vaporizers, there may be some light smells while it heats up the dry herb or concentrate inside, but those scents will be more true the nature of the cannabis material. With ERA vape pens, there is little to no odor prior to consumption since they use instant draw to heat up the pod and produce vapor.
When you do consume with a PAX or ERA, the vapor produced is the same material you loaded into your device turned into its gaseous form. The cannabis compounds found in vaporized material are precisely the same as those found in the material prior to vaporization. Vapor is also much lighter and dissipates quickly, without a coating effect. Consider the analogy of a pot of boiling water versus a campfire. There may be a light aroma as the water boils, but once the heat source is cut off the vapor will dissipate.
In contrast, smoking cannabis, whether with pipes, bongs, or joints, produces more intense and harsh smells that linger. Where there is smoke, there is incomplete combustion, meaning there is not enough oxygen to burn the material. Smoke is made up of leftover particles known as volatile organic compounds. These compounds are evaporating hydrocarbons broken down into water and carbon dioxide, and not necessarily compounds found in the original material. Smoke is dense and sticky, causing a "coating effect" that clings to many materials and leaves a persistent smell that is hard to get out.
How can I minimize my PAX vapor smell?
While vaporizing cannabis materials reduces smell compared with combustion, you may still want to reduce the subtle aromas produced by your dry herb or concentrate materials.
A common way to affect aromas is through your environment. This includes opening doors or windows as well as using air fresheners, diffusers, or other aromatics. Vapor smell can be minimized by these actions much more effectively than smoke.
The easiest way is to use the lowest temperature setting on your PAX vaporizer or vape pen, producing less vapor and therefore less aroma. Because this is a standard feature, you can have a rewarding session that won't cause a big stink.