Why Vaping Weed Still Smells [& Which Vaping Method Smells the Least]

The other day, I was sitting on a restaurant patio when a noticeable smell crept up into my nostrils.

It was the characteristic smell of marijuana.

Now… this was not a strong odor by any means. But, I’ve been a recreational marijuana user for years – there’s no way you can put one over me when it comes to this. 

So I chance around; notice a guy the next table over exhaling a wisp of vapor and holding what seemed to be a THC oil pen… and I wink at him knowingly. He shoves the pen into his pocket, leans in, and whispers in a panicky voice: “The guy told me that nobody will be able to smell it!”

And I told him what I tell everyone who asks me if it’s possible to smell weed when you vape it:

If you’re vaping on good s$it, people who know will definitely catch on!

Vaping cannabis produces a distinct mix of terpenes that can’t be masked. The strong smell of cannabis is just… too strong. Fortunately, this strong scent can’t be compared to marijuana cigarette smoke. It’s definitely milder but will depend on the strain that you’re using… and the device you have at your disposal. Ultimately, dab pens, e-nails, and oils smell less than plant matter going through a combustion process inside a herbal vape.

So let’s quickly explore why weed smells… what types of weed vaping methods you should employ during your next session to have the best bet chance of not getting busted.

Why Does Vaping Cannabis Smell?
The short answer – is it simply does.

When you switch from smoking to vaping, you’re not making any molecular changes to the plant matter. Your cannabis products are still getting heated up… terpenes are still getting heated… active ingredients get jostled… and the noticeable weed smell is still being released… albeit in a small amount.

Switching from smoking to vaping you’re not making any significant changes on the herb’s molecular level. You are still using the product originating from the same source. 

And while you’re not burning the dry material completely, the heating process triggers the cannabis flower to release its aroma and scent. Just remember, even when you are simply prepping and griding your herb before putting it inside your vaporizer, the distinct smell of terpenes will start to dance around you. It’s unavoidable.

Joint vs. Vaporizer Odor
Now, don’t get me wrong, you are doing yourself a favor by switching from joints to vaping.

Not only will you be able to experience your weed on a totally new, epic level, but there will also be less smell, and you’ll enjoy a more subtle scent when you vape marijuana. As an active vaper, I can tell you that regardless of the smell, vapor won’t stay in your room for as long as cannabis smoke would.

Weed smoke from a joint will linger for at least an hour. That is without taking into consideration that your herb is constantly burning in your ashtray. Vapor from modern dry herb vaporizers definitely dissipates faster – within 10 minutes or so – so you won’t have to wait a long time for it to clear, even if you are in an enclosed space. 

Which Cannabis Vaping Method Creates The Least Amount Of Smell?

When I started vaping weed, all I could think about was the flavor and the highs. And if you are shaking your head right now… stop it, you’re not fooling anyone. We all love our highly potent THC strains more than anything.

So, the question is who on god’s Earth would ever consider smell, odor, scent, or however you call it?

Not me… and certainly not you. Well, not until now.

If you are new to this, *read* closely. Don’t get the wrong idea, picking your new favorite strain based on flavors and potency isn’t wrong at all. I’m just telling you that there’s more to it. 

Deciding which type of weed you’re going to vape can also have an effect on the smell you leave behind, so put that into consideration when you go strain hunting.

Dry Herb
Ah… my favorite. A bit fiddly to set up in comparison to e-liquids, but using dry herb with your vaporizer is closest to the OG setup/smoking. 

I know buying new stuff can be a bit overwhelming so if you are sitting on some good stuff and don’t want it to sit around, grabbing a dry herb vaporizer will be a better solution when transitioning than buying vape pens and oils.

I have no objections regarding new products, oils, or liquids, but the joy of prepping your weed inside the grinder brings that sweet satisfaction. And there’s a difference between oil and the real deal, no matter what anyone says.

And the smell… man.

Do keep in mind that dry herb vaporizers use a bit different heating element depending on the type you buy.   

Convection Dry Herb Vaporizer
Convection vaporizers are by far the best vape devices for vaping dry herbs. They are portable and easy to use, and you are not losing that joyful moment of grinding your own herb and prepping it. 

However, that same process will release a strong smell of weed around you. 

Unfortunately, it can’t be avoided, so take that into consideration before heading out for a walk.

I know, I know… You are not smoking it – but I tell you… That doesn’t actually matter. Even with the fact that convection heating works at a lower temperature, the plant material still releases the odor.

Also, don’t forget that not all portable dry herb vaporizers are strictly convection-based.

Conduction Herb Vaporizer Pens
Conduction vaporizers are a bit more dangerous here, same as desktop vaporizers.

In short, they produce a stronger scent so it’s difficult for your session to go unnoticed.

Basically, the way conduction heating works puts these devices at a disadvantage. First of all, they work at higher temperatures which essentially releases more vapor. More vapor = more smell. On top of that, they require direct contact between dry material and the heating element, which burns the material. When material burns, it produces more volatile organic compounds and more scent (even if you’re using a predominantly CBD heavy strain).

In short, the smell is strong with conduction vaporizing… so for good measure, make sure to do it only around other vape users who are used to the smell of weed vapor. 

Weed Oil
Ok, perhaps I’ve been a bit too harsh and kept pointing out how you CAN’T hide weed smell.

But, in this case, any oil vape pen, cartridge vaping device, and cannabis oil, in general, has proven to be the best way to vape when it comes to stealthy weed vaping.

Since you dictate how big your puffs will be, the less you drag the higher chances are there will be almost no odor.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to completely hide it if you’re using a vape atomizer that fires at low ohmage, but you’re better off using this type of portable vaporizer than you are if you’re vaping weed in other traditional ways. A good idea would be to let loose when you feel like that is ok, and take small hits when you don’t want to leave a trail of weed scent behind you. 

Weed Wax
If we focus on the fact that weed wax is highly potent, isn’t mixed with other carrier oils, and is a somewhat solid material, the odor it produces is clean. Yet… It doesn’t resemble the marijuana smell we are all used to.

On one side, that is a good thing because just like you, people around do know how weeds smell, and that’s not it. However, on the downside, you are engulfed in that “odd” weed wax smell. To wrap this up, wax is a bit pricy in comparison, so the better alternative would be any other type of vape. It’s less likely that wax pens will be your primary resource for vaping.

How Do I Reduce The Smell While Vaping?
It all comes down to the way you actually vape. It has been proven that smaller puffs reduce vapor buildup resulting in less odor production.

Also, your device setup plays a big role in this as well. Any dry herb vape will have a more potent smell than, for example, a weed oil cartridge. Another bulletproof technique is to open windows…use a scented candle… or pick up quality vapes that won’t burn your material.

Conclusion: It Still Smells
No matter how much you fight it, you can’t vape weed and have odorless vapor. 

The faster you embrace that fact the better – cannabis vapor smells. The best advice I received was to be careful and respectful to others. If you don’t like leaving the strong smell of marijuana behind you, then don’t vape there. Either wait for a clear opening or get yourself home and chill. 

Weed is and should be a relaxing experience, even if you are just a recreational user so adding stress to it for spreading the odor is not something anyone can enjoy. 

So chill out. Take care. And make your personal experience great by vaping where you won’t get busted.