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Smell of Weed? How to Avoid/Hide the Cannabis Stink

If you’ve ever been caught in a situation where you’ve just finished a joint, and you absolutely cannot afford to smell like weed (Mother’s Day springs to mind), you’ll know that this scenario is accompanied by the kind of panic non-stoners can’t possibly comprehend. Cannabis smell can be hell.

Maybe you sparked one to calm your nerves before a big test or a job interview, and you’re now faced with the reality of “I reek of cannabis”.

Option A is ‘cancel the appointment’, and option B is ‘rock up and hope nobody notices. Neither of these is ideal, so could there be a third, hidden option where you can take fast action to eliminate the dank, pungent, unmistakable (yet wonderful) aroma of finely cultivated cannabis? Sort of.

Getting rid of the smell of weed is like trying to outrun Usain Bolt – in theory, it is possible, but until I see it with my own eyes, I refuse to believe it. However, there are steps you can take toward damage limitation, and you should at least know what these steps are.

Cannabis Odour Lingers

It’s no secret when someone’s been smoking weed, and admittedly some strains are far more pungent than others. Anyone who knows the cannabis smell can identify it in a heartbeat, and while cannaseurs will give each other knowing looks and winks, some people may be less charitable in their reactions.

That smell sticks to your hair, your skin, and your clothes. While you’ll have a job getting rid of it in a hurry, a little bit of preparation and a little bit of savvy can mitigate the damage.


That smell is everywhere, remember. Clothes, hair, hands, breath – it sticks to everything. If you have time and the facilities, jump in the shower and get a good lather going with soap, shower gel, shampoo, etc. Guys with beards should give their beard a good shampoo as well because that smell will make itself at home in facials, and boy, will it hang around. If you don’t have the option of a shower, give your hands (and face, if possible) a good scrub with warm soapy water.

It’s not 100% failsafe, but it will help. If you’re really in a pickle, at least go heavy with the hand sanitiser. Hand sanitiser is still widely available in pretty much all public buildings due to COVID-19, so get stuck in. Hand sanitizer is pretty strong-smelling, so in addition to cleansing, it brings a degree of odour-masking.

Change Your Clothes

A quick costume change will get you well ahead of the problem in an ideal world. Weed odour will stick to your clothes, and the smell can linger for hours, so if you have an outer layer like a jacket or hoodie, take it off to smoke and keep it away from your possible.

Otherwise, you’re in business if you can pull off a Clark Kent-style rapid change. If not, then a spritz of body spray, deodorant or cologne will have to do for its masking potential. It’s far from ideal and not a natural scent, but it’s something. Resist the temptation to stuff your pockets with air fresheners. That’s just weird.

Deal With Your Breath

Yep, even your breath will carry the smell of marijuana for some time after smoking cannabis, so you mustn’t forget to take action if you’re about to be close to other people. The usual suspects such as mints, mouthwash, sprays, and gum are fine but don’t rule out something fruity like boiled sweets or hard candies as an alternative. You’ll most likely have a touch of the ol’ cottonmouth going on anyway, so it’s in your best interest to hydrate. Grab a strong, fruity drink, and you’re already halfway there.

Hair Is The Hard Part

Options here are the most limited, and it’s self-explanatory as to why. In fact, when putting together ideas to deal with smelly hair, the ideas ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. While you can realistically tackle the smell of marijuana smoke on all other areas of your person, dealing with hair is a much larger headache (if you’ll excuse the pun). Reasonable options are scarce here; you can’t change your hair, and you’re highly unlikely to shave it off in a pinch to get rid of weed smell, right? So what do you do? What can you do? If you have long hair, tie it up to keep it out of the way of the smoke and fumes. There’s not much other than grab a can of Dry Shampoo and spray it out as best you can.

Failing that, all you can really do is whack some product on it and hope it’s enough to mask the smell –  although it will trap it in your hair until it’s washed. Hairsprays, gels, mousses, clays, and waxes are almost always scented, so this is an option worth considering if you’re really in a bind and you really can’t wash that weed smell out of your locks. Hey – I did say sublime to ridiculous.

Prevention is Better than Cure

I’m not going to say don’t smoke weed in the first place – I’m going to assume if you’re reading this article, it’s probably too late for that advice anyway. But for future reference, there are ways to get your fix without the reek.

Make a Sploof

A sploof is a type of DIY air purifier, a funnel to blow your smoke into. These can easily be fashioned from a cardboard tube like a toilet paper roll or paper towel roll and some tumble dryer sheets. Pack the tube with dryer sheets, one at a time and loosely – you don’t want to pack them too tightly. Cover the top of the tube with one dryer sheet and secure it with a rubber band or string, and you’re ready to go. Smoke as normal, and exhale into the sploof to keep the smoke and smell of cannabis to a minimum.

cannabis smell

If you don’t want to make your own, check out Smoke Buddy on Amazon. Always handy to keep around.

A Different Method

Smoking is always going to produce a smell. Those pesky yet delicious terpenes, the aromatic compounds which give cannabis its multitude of beautiful aromas, will leave their mark – and more so when you burn them. Joints and bongs are, therefore, high risk for odour production, but vaping, using a vaporizer or vape pen is a good deal less risky. If you want to be somewhat covert in your use, switch to a method of consumption that doesn’t involve burning or smoking your cannabis to consume it. This is where edibles come in extremely useful.

Still, you should monitor your dosage and timing of your consumption before attending any events – you don’t want them kicking in halfway through the big meeting and leaving you spaced out and gulping water. Gummies, cookies, and cakes can be munched without the fear of that telltale smell landing you in trouble. Oils and concentrates are also an excellent route to travel as an alternative to blazing your weed since any smell doesn’t linger. Just don’t spill it on your shirt, and you’ll be fine.

Consider Your Environment

Have your smoke session outside or by an open window or door where there’s at least plenty of air exchange to pull some of the smoke away from you. If there’s a breeze, just don’t stand downwind and have all the smoke blowing back against you, essentially throwing the smell all over you at high speed. Smoking indoors with poor or no ventilation is absolutely the worst thing you could do – if you’re hotboxing, you’re on your own. No scented candles are that scented! Try out some ozium gel as well if you have to do it inside. Much better than bathroom freshener spray!

If you’re trying to hide evidence, don’t forget to empty your ashtray (which also stinks).

Cannabis is great, but those who don’t like it really don’t like how it smells. If you’re going to be somewhere your THC funk won’t be welcome, take proactive steps to ensure you don’t stand out.

Keep wipes, hand wash, deodorant, mints and a change of clothes in your stoner kit and you (should be) just fine.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Duncan Mathers