Although there seems to be a growing trend in the US and around the world for relaxing the laws concerning medical and recreational cannabis use, even in areas where smoking weed has been legalized, many people still prefer to enjoy their marijuana as discretely as possible.
In recent years, the popularity of vaping has exploded – and vaping cannabis has also become a popular way to get high.
So to help you understand if this is the inconspicuous way of using cannabis you’re searching for, in this post, we answer the question, how long does the smell of a weed vape last?
What’s the difference between smoking and vaping marijuana?
Before we talk about how long the smell of a weed vape lasts, we need to take a step back and compare what happens when you vape weed to when you smoke it. That way, we will have a better idea of what’s going on and the factors that affect how long the smell lingers.
When you smoke weed in a joint or other traditional method – or when you smoke a cigarette for that matter – you inhale the smoke created by the combustion of plant matter.
With marijuana, this smoke contains THC, which is the main compound responsible for getting you high.
However, since the smoke particles are heavy, they linger in the air for longer – and they also stick to clothes and other surfaces, which is why your clothes or the room where you smoke tend to smell of weed or tobacco long after you’ve finished smoking.
However, vaping is different. When you vape, it doesn’t involve combustion. Rather, the vape heats the juice, oil or dry herb to a temperature that causes the release of aerosols, which you then inhale.
Aerosols are lighter than smoke particles. This means they dissipate more quickly and easily, and they don’t tend to stick to clothes and surfaces, which is why vape smells don’t linger as long as the odors from smoking.
But does it smell of weed Vape?
But does it smell of weed when you vape? In a word, yes. The compounds in weed that are responsible for that distinctive weedy smell are what are known as terpenes, and they are also released when you vape weed or other cannabis products.
Indeed, the aroma and taste of terpenes add to the overall experience and enjoyment of weed – whether smoked or vaped – so most people wouldn’t want it any other way.
However, what this means is that if you’re vaping weed in a place where you shouldn’t be, people are still going to smell the unmistakable aroma of marijuana – it’s just that the smell will disappear much more quickly.
That said, there are several factors that can affect how much smell is created and how long the smell lingers, and probably the most important of these is the delivery method you choose – so let’s look at this next.
What are the different ways to vape marijuana?
If you want to vape weed or other cannabis products, there are a few options open to you – and here are some of the most common.
Dry herb vapes
In some ways, dry herb vapes can be considered the closest vaping equivalent to smoking a traditional joint in that you just put normal weed in them.
However, instead of combusting the marijuana flower, they heat it to a lower temperature that causes the bud to vaporize. You then inhale the vapor that’s released, and you get a fairly similar high from the experience as you would from smoking a traditional joint.
Dry herb vapes also produce the most recognizably weedy odor – if you smell someone taking a hit from a dry herb vape, there’s very little chance of mistaking it for anything else.
However, the odor lingers for a far shorter amount of time than if you were smoking a joint, and once the vapor dissipates, there will also be far less of an odor clinging to clothes, furniture or other fabrics and surfaces.
THC and CBD oil vapes
Another popular way to vape THC and CBD is to use vape cartridges filled with oil.
The oils used have far higher concentrations of THC or CDB than natural weed – THC content can reach as high as 90%.
The oil inside is heated to produce vapor, which you then inhale to enjoy the effects, which means that although the delivery method is slightly different, the basic mechanism is broadly similar to using a dry herb vape.
In terms of odor, though, there is some difference.
Oil vapes produce vapor that many consider “cleaner”, and the smell is less intense. It still has a distinctly weedy smell to it, but it’s not quite the same as the smell from a dry herb vape or a joint.
Dab pens and dab rigs
Dabbing cannabis is also a popular option, and both dab rigs and pens produce a smell that is recognizably that of marijuana.
However, the smell is much more subtle – and pens are even more subtle than rigs. The smell will also quickly dissipate, so dabbing with a rig or especially a pen is a discrete way to enjoy cannabis products.
What else can affect how long the weed smell lingers?
As well as the way you vape your marijuana, there are a couple of other factors that can affect how long the weed smell lingers. Here are the most important.
The ventilation of the room where you are vaping is a key factor that will determine how long the smell lingers.
This is also true if you are just smoking a traditional joint, but if you are in a well-ventilated room, the aerosols from your vape will be able to escape quickly and the smell will disappear in a very short time.
If the room is small and enclosed on the other hand, the smell is likely to linger a whole lot longer.
The strain of cannabis that you’re vaping also plays an important role in determining how long the smell will last.
The smell of cannabis comes from terpenes, and different strains have different blends. Some strains, such as Super Skunk are known for the particularly powerful smell they create, and vaping dry herb, oil or other products from such strains will smell a lot more.
The type of vaping device you use
When vaping, the size, power and settings of the vaping device you use can also affect the amount of smell and how long it lingers.
With non-cannabis vapes, using a large sub-ohm device that produces big vapor clouds will cause much more smell than when using a small disposable that doesn’t generate large clouds.
As a result, something like the Spiritbar Katana 10000, a stylish disposable vape modelled on Japanese katana swords that provides the user with up to 10,000 puffs would be a good option for discrete non-cannabis vaping.
Similarly, vaping cannabis products at lower temperatures produces smaller clouds and so less smell – although higher temperatures produce a stronger high.
As a result, when vaping weed, you need to find the sweet spot for your needs that produces the right balance of flavor, vapor cloud and high.
So how long does the smell last?
So now we’ve looked at all the factors that can affect the potency and duration of a smell, let’s look at how long the smell is likely to last.
First, if you’re smoking a dry herb vape indoors, if the room is well-ventilated, you can expect the smell to dissipate within around five to 10 minutes. The odor shouldn’t stick to your clothes either, so once the vapor has dissipated, the weedy scent will no longer be detectable.
However, if you have the windows closed, the smell will hang around for a lot longer – perhaps up to around half an hour. When vaping like this in an enclosed space, your clothes are also more likely to smell of weed afterwards.
Also, note that even if the smell doesn’t linger, anybody walking past open doors or windows is likely to get wafts of weed aroma, so in terms of that, it’s not going to be particularly discrete.
For other methods of vaping weed, the smell will be noticeable for slightly less time due to its decreased potency. However, even if the weedy wafts are less intense, people close by are still likely to notice a suspiciously herby aroma emanating from your location.
So in short, weed smells from vaping dissipate much more quickly than the smells produced by smoking a joint or even just a tobacco cigarette, but vaping weed still produces a recognizable smell that will stick around for a while, depending on the factors mentioned above.
Less intense and less long-lasting than the smell of smoking weed
As we’ve seen, although vaping does create a distinct and unmistakable weedy smell, it’s still a lot less powerful than the smell of smoking a joint, and since aerosols are lighter than smoke particles, the smell will also dissipate much faster.
This means if you’re looking for a convenient and discrete way to enjoy the effects of THC or CBD, switching from traditional smoking methods such as joints of bongs to vaping could be just the solution you’re looking for.