Vaporizers use heat to transform cannabis to its aerosolized state. This means that cannabinoids like THC and CBD and terpenes like myrcene get heated until they become vapor. Since all of the cannabis compounds get turned into a breathable vapor, the byproduct is a noticeable scent. If you plan to vape weed, this guide will help you understand what it will smell like, why it matters, and what you can do about it.
What does cannabis vapor smell like?
You may be wondering what the vapor will smell like. The exact type of scent will vary depending on the cannabis you use. First, the strain you use affects the smell. A lot of this has to do with the presence of terpenes, both botanical and natural, to create a fruity, floral, or herbal smell that is different from cannabis.
Similarly, the type of vaporizer you use will impact the experience. Portable vaporizers that use dry herb or concentrate will typically have more of a strong "cannabis" scent, while vape pens that use cannabis oils will be more discrete.
Lastly, temperature plays an important role with vapor and by extension scent. Typically when you vape at a higher temperature, the vaporizer will aerosolize cannabis compounds at a higher rate, producing more vapor and therefore more aroma. On the flip side, lower temperatures allow you to be more discreet.
Finding the right combination of strain and vape will help in finding an aroma that you or others enjoy.
Why does the smell of cannabis matter?
There are all sorts of reasons for people to seek discretion when vaping weed. Some potential reasons include:
- Respect for others: If you want to use a vaporizer in a crowded area, other people around you might be sensitive to the smell of cannabis.
- Discretion: Any vapor scent can alert people to the fact that you are using cannabis. Depending on the rules in that place or area, it could create an issue for you and others.
- Protecting your property: If you use your vaporizer inside, you might worry about smells seeping into your flooring, walls, or furniture and may not want to keep windows or doors open.
- Personal preference: Some people don't enjoy the distinct smell of cannabis, so vaporizers that produce milder scents can make things better for everyone involved.
What's the difference between vapor and smoke?
When comparing the smell of weed vaping vs weed smoking, it's important to realize vaporizers are very different from pipes or joints. Unlike traditional methods of cannabis consumption, vaporizers don't make smoke. What's the difference between vapor and smoke? Smoke has a very different chemical makeup compared to vapor.
Without getting into the scientific details, smoke is essentially made up of dense, sticky particles called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These cling to whatever they come into contact with, and you can't remove them without intensive cleaning. So, if you smoke cannabis, all the VOCs from the cannabis stick to your clothes, hands, ceiling, or furniture. In addition, smoke gets produced even while you’re not drawing on a joint whereas vaporizers only produce vapor while you’re actively puffing on them.
Meanwhile, vapor (technically an aerosol) is just the THC and other cannabis compounds. Without the sticky VOCs, vapor clears away quickly once fresh air circulates through the area. It gets easily diluted by the fresh air, so any ventilation will quickly draw the vapor away.
How do vaporizers minimize smell?
In most cases, odors from vaporizers go away once the product quits producing vapor, so smell control is all about reducing the amount of vapor in a room. Vaporizers that run at a lower temperature will produce less excess vapor. Some vaporizers, like PAX, are specifically designed to reduce vapor production. They still produce vapor when you inhale, but they don't keep heating the product and producing vapor afterwards. In addition to reducing smell, this also has the perk of preserving more of your cannabis material.
How can I reduce smell when vaping cannabis?
So if you'd rather have a lighter smell, what can you do? Follow these tips to reduce the amount of smell from your vaporizer.
- Pick a vaporizer that lets you customize temperature control, so you can select the lowest possible setting.
- Choose a vaporizer with oil since vaping oils smell slightly milder than vaping cannabis flower.
- Use your vaporizer near a window or outdoors where any vapor should be quickly diluted by the fresh air.
- Clean your vaporizer regularly so built-up residue doesn't cause any smell.
- Store your extra concentrate or dry herb in a scent-proof container.
- Select a cannabis strain known for its mild flavor and scent.
- Look for vaporizers with efficiency modes or stealth mode settings.
Ultimately, the right vaporizer makes it easy to reduce strong scents. Though you'll still get an enjoyable smell when using the product, the scent will quickly disappear.