Why You Can’t Tell When You Smell Like Weed
How not to alert the world to the fact that you just got high.
By Jessie Schiewe
Nice smell. What do you call it? Eau de cannabis? (Art: Trav)
There are a few tell-tale signs that can out you when you’ve smoked weed.
Your eyes might become bloodshot and your facial features might droop. Maybe you’ll get hit with a sudden case of the munchies or become inexplicably tired or hyper. These are all indications of someone who has just lit up, but nothing, however, can out you more than your stench.
By virtue of smoking it, you will, too.
Marijuana is a complex substance, that, like all plants found in nature, is full of aromatic compounds called terpenes. They’re the reason for cannabis’ strong scent, and they become even stronger when you light up.
By smoking marijuana — be it in a joint, bong, or bowl — you’re releasing additional chemical compounds into the air, ones that can then stick to your hair, clothing, skin, and any other porous surfaces.
And you don’t even need to imbibe to pick up this weed smell. The compounds released through burning cannabis are dispersed everywhere. In other words, simply by being in the same space as someone who has lit up, you, too, will become odiferous.
The craziest part of all is that you likely will have no idea that you reek of cannabis.
Similar to smoking cigarettes, it’s near impossible to detect the smell of weed on oneself after getting high or being around those who have done so.
It’s why parents can tell when kids are stoned even if they’re acting “normal,” and it’s a common excuse used by cops to search cars even if the driver claims they haven’t been smoking.
Research into this phenomenon is still relatively sparse and incomplete. For instance, we don’t know how long it takes for one to become immune to the smell of weed or how long that stench lingers in the fabric of our clothes.
Pamela Dalton, a faculty member at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, said the dearth of this kind of research is largely because marijuana, though legal in some states, is still considered a controlled substance on the federal level.
Getting approval, not to mention funding, to study the recreational use of cannabis can be “incredibly difficult,” she said.
But for someone who has been investigating environmental odors and chemical sensitivities since the ‘90s, Dalton is not totally mystified as to why we can’t smell ourselves when we reek of weed. She’s pretty sure the reason has to do with olfactory adaptation.
Basically, the molecules released from burning cannabis bind to the smell receptors in our noses, essentially preventing us from being able to detect that specific odor.
“It’s not that you can’t then smell your wine or your coffee or your beer,” Dalton explained. “You just simply can’t smell the aromas from the cannabis.”
Olfactory adaptation is not just limited to the smell of weed. It can happen anytime you are exposed to a pervasive and strong scent for a long period of time. It’s why you don’t notice how stinky a public bathroom is by the time you wash your hands and head out the door. Or why you might notice the smell of something cooking in the oven when you first enter the kitchen and then forget about it moments later.
Eventually the molecules will unbind from your nasal receptors allowing you to detect that specific aroma again, but how long that takes is anyone’s guess.
“I know it’s real. I’ve experienced it personally and practically everyone I’ve talked to has also,” Dalton said. “But what’s interesting is that nobody’s ever looked at the time of course of adaptation or how long this lasts.”
And someone really should. Taking a mere hit of weed at school, at work, or at your parents’ house could have real consequences beyond merely annoying others with your stench.
It could also get you in trouble with the law. Cops can use probable cause as a justification for searching your car if they detect the smell of marijuana. And even if they don’t find any incriminating evidence, they can still slap you with a DUI.
Stoners concerned about unintentionally outing themselves have a few options to help mask the smell of weed. Instead of smoking from a joint or a bong, consider using a vape pen. Like e-cigarettes, many of the natural combustible elements found in cannabis are removed and diluted when turned into the oils used in vape pens.
There’s also the option of using a sploof. While you can make one yourself using a paper towel roll, a dryer sheet, and a rubber band, you can also purchase ready-made ones online for around $20. They even sell them on Amazon.
There are also sprays you can buy to eliminate the stench of cannabis, but Dalton advises against using them.
“There’s no way to predict whether it would work,” she said, “and, if it did, whether it would disguise the odor for everyone.”
Your best bet, really, is to just focus on yourself and not the environment in which you smoked in. Leave that area, change your clothes, wash your hair, and even slap on a face mask if you feel so inclined.
If you’re still worried about smelling like weed, ask someone who wasn’t around when you got high to give you a sniff. They’ll be a far better judge of it than you will.
How not to alert the world to the fact that you just got high.
Smell like weed all day with these cannabis-specific perfumes
Back in the day people used to put perfume or cologne on to mask the smell of weed. In 2017, people are finally embracing the skunky smell of the sticky icky.
Perfume company Xyrena is launching what it calls the first “strain-specific cannabis perfumes.” While marijuana perfumes aren’t entirely a new thing, Xyrena is taking weed scents out of shops like Spencer’s Gifts and giving them a classier approach.
Xyrena is releasing three unisex perfumes based off the following strains strains: Blue Dream, OG Kush and Space Cake, all of which are available for $74.20 (get it?) on its website.
While not everyone enjoys the pungent smell of fresh cannabis, it’s hard to not at least be interested given the description.
Blue Dream opens with the strains signature sweet blueberry aroma with just a hint of skunk and evolves into an earthy pepper scent with a lingering sweetness making the fragrance just as smooth and balanced as its flowering inspiration.
Killian Wells, owner of Xyrena, explained in an email why he decided to create a weed-scented perfume.
“I’d already created a handful of avant-garde ‘VR’ fragrances for Xyrena, one of the most popular is Dark Ride which smells like water rides,” said Wells. “I’m not a fan of the skunk heavy scent of smoked bud I do like the aroma of many strains prior to being burnt, so I decided to capture their virgin essences as perfume.”
While the perfume doesn’t contain any actual cannabis Wells says they include “natural terpenes found in cannabis are utilized in the formulas such as pinene, limonene and caryophyllene.”
Wells, a musician also created a song and music video, which he says was inspired by the scent Blue Dream.
The perfume company Xyrena is launched three new perfumes that smell like cannabis strains.