Reader Question: Do Herbal Vapes Cut Down On The Cannabis Smell?

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With the massive upsurge in vaporizer usage worldwide, a common question arises, especially when it comes to new smokers looking to purchase their first vape. Do herbal vaporizers completely limit the smell of cannabis?

Completely limit?  No.  But they do greatly reduce it. The truth is that as long as you are using plant matter, despite the source of heat you are applying to it, there will always be some sort of a scent that is released.

Herbal vaporizers still use the same flower as traditional glass pieces or joints. But the smell is greatly reduced because there is no actual combustion of the herb going on. With your a bong or glass pipe, the burning of flower releases a large puff of smoke. Vaporizers do not incinerate all the flower, and the resulting vapor is much less dense and odorous than smoke.

In fact, even your average herbal vape will dramatically mitigate the scent released by straight flower, making them ideal for for public use. And there is even less odor produced by concentrate vaporizers, which are growing in both popularity and technological advancement.

Every day, new technologies are coming out to develop vaporizers that accept wax or infused tinctures, such as the Puffco+. With these new breakthroughs, our industry is coming closer and closer to seeing a company create a complete stealth vaporizer that will allow legal cannabis smokers to blend in right along with the masses. Until that device shows up, you will just have to deal with masking that signature scent the best you can.


When you are considering the options for how to eliminate, or at least mitigate the smell of herb, there are numerous factors that you should ultimately take into consideration. One of the major bits of information that you should load into your arsenal is the distinct difference between vapor and smoke, and how much of a scent each will release.

Using Herbal Vapes May not Reduce ScentOne of the most common misconceptions from most smokers is that vapor and smoke are essentially the same thing. To the naked eye, there is not much of a distinction that can be made, especially with smaller vaporizers. Outside of the visual similarities though, there is a world of difference between the two, the first of which being that they are produced through entirely separate methods of heat application.

Smoke, by definition, is created through the active combustion of any given material. When you are smoking legal dry herb, you are applying direct heat onto the plant matter in order to combust it, turning it to ash and producing – you guessed it – smoke. By contrast, there is no combustion when it comes to vaping. In the case of vapor, it is created through the application of indirect heat in order to raise the temperature of the plant matter past a certain point, a process known as convection heating.

With smoke, there are multitudes of new chemicals being created that are vastly different from what is being actually burned. With vapor, it is almost like you get what you pay for. There are no new compounds being created with vapor; the original herb or concentrate remains the same throughout the process, making for one flavorful hit after another.

Not only does smoke just create new chemicals, these chemicals are more dangerous to the body than the base material itself. A lot of new and old smokers alike are switching over to vaping due to these health concerns. The tobacco industry has made everyone well aware of tar, and cigarettes aren’t the only things putting that gunk in your system. If you are burning your herb, you'll get just about the same amount. The only way to escape the tar pit is through switching up your method of inhalation. Vaping is the name of the go with the current health craze; embrace the new technology to save your lungs.


  • Due to the lack of harmful carcinogens, vapor is the far healthier alternative in the long run. Everyone knows at this point, thanks to cigarettes, that combustion causes the release of chemicals that have been proven to be the cause of disorders like chronic bronchitis. Just because herb can't give you cancer, combustion of plant material can cause long-term damage to your lungs' ability to work properly.
  • On the flip side of the coin, smoke also negatively affects the body in a more immediate fashion. As the many smokers know, the act comes with some uneasiness, namely shortness of breath. Newsflash, holding smoke in your lungs comes with restricted airways. Luckily, vapor does a great job of mitigating that shortness of breath. Just switching over to vaporizing your favorite herb gets rid of many of the immediate discomforts from combustion.
  • Discretion is the name of the game when it comes to herb, and vaporizers allow you the level of stealth you are seeking. Sure, the signature smell of herb will still prevail, but vapes do a good job of reducing the potency of the scent.
  • Flavor off of an herbal or concentrate vaporizer is far superior to the flavor from smoking through standard means. When using lower temperatures to create vapor, a lot of the flavorful terpenes that are lost through combustion are saved.


If you are dead set on trying to use herb in public, then you should make sure to keep a few things in mind in order to minimize the risk of getting caught. No matter how you go about it, there is no technology out there right now that can completely eliminate the smell of herb or wax (even when you are using a vaporizer). So here are a few easy tricks for eliminating or reducing malodorous scents.

Take "Indoor" Puffs  Every smoker out there loves getting those full hits that affect you almost immediately and prove that you have the biggest lung capacity out of all your friends. When you are out and about, though, keep that tomfoolery put away. One of the easiest ways to get caught out in public is by taking large rips and pumping out a lot of smoke (or vapor). Keep your puffs at an "indoor" (small) level in order to help reduce that signature skunky smell.

Ghosting and Low Temp On the same note as above, when you are out and about with your handy dandy herbal vaporizer, make sure to use lower temperatures and ghost each hit. At lower temps, that signature smell that all herb smokers know and love is far less intense.

Keep Up Regular Maintenance Outside of taking smaller hits and keeping your device set to a lower temperature, one surefire way to minimize smell is by keeping your devices clean. Making sure that none of the old, used up herb is out of your vape will keep the smell down more than you might think.


In addition to dry herb vaporizers, there are a plethora of other vaping alternatives that you might find handy. As previously mentioned, there are numerous devices on the market that accept oils, wax, and even liquid (like those used in nicotine delivery systems). These are much better than their legal dry herb vaporizing counterparts, especially when it comes to the smell factor. Because they are not using actual herb, the potent, skunky smell that comes along with it is nonexistent. You should keep in mind, though, that there will still be a slight smell that lingers in the air for a limited time.

Overall, vaporizers are a lifesaver for many smokers out there. Whether you are looking for something to help keep that smelly smell at bay, or you are just looking for a new way to enjoy the legal cannabis you love, then vaporizers will be right up your alley. They might not be perfect in terms of reducing odor, but nothing will be – at least, not yet. Perhaps soon the industry will be graced with a completely odorless option.

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