Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 17, 2023

We all know that marijuana odor, a side effect of smoking weed, travels fast. Both occasional marijuana users and stoners know that it can sometimes get tricky to hide the smell of weed from neighbors or coworkers. It’s hard to get rid of the aroma of cannabis because it sticks to the hair, clothes, and even to the furniture in the room where you’re smoking.

We all know how badly people can sometimes react to cigarette smoke, which can be even worse when it comes to the smell of weed. Some people find this smell skunk-like and can’t stand it, so it’s useful for smokers to know how to hide the smell.

Since the legalization laws surrounding weed vary from state to state, you’ll probably want to hide the pot smell in order to be on the safe side and don’t arouse suspicion, especially in states where weed is illegal. 

And in order to help you on your way to keep the weed smell to a minimum, we’ll focus on how far pot smell can travel, as well as provide you with some tips to mitigate the smell of weed while you’re smoking.

The Specific Smell of Cannabis and How Far Does The Smell of Weed Travel Outside

If you’ve ever entered a dispensary, you may have noticed that cannabis has a specific signature scent, and even though storing the buds in airtight containers can keep the smell at bay, they still have a distinctive smell. When you light a joint, the cannabis odor gives out the fact that you’re consuming weed, which may be a problem in states where weed isn’t legalized. 

That scent is a result of the compounds inside the trichomes of the cannabis plant called terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that provide the specific aroma and flavor of cannabis which contains more than 200 terpenes. While THC has psychoactive effects on weed users, CBD has relaxing effects, and the terpenes provide the aroma. They’re responsible for the citrus, herbal, pine, diesel, and tropical flavor of different cannabis strains.

No one can tell for sure the radius by which people can smell weed. That depends on whether the person is a nonuser and isn’t desensitized to the smell, or if they’re a user who is used to the smell of weed. People with a good sense of smell will probably pick up on the scent of cannabis from 10 meters away, and some may even smell it further depending on the cannabis strain you’re smoking.

How to Prepare Your Surroundings Before You Light a Joint

It’s less likely that people outside your room will smell it if you decide to smoke weed indoors, but it’s essential that you keep some things in mind before you smoke weed.

First of all, make sure the room where you’re smoking pot has constant airflow or a good ventilation system. That will not only maintain the freshness and good airflow in the room, but it will also make it easier to ventilate the room since it’s harder to get rid of weed smell in a stuffy room. 

Secondly, you may want to place a damp blanket or towel directly under the door. Because marijuana smell spreads rapidly through spaces between doors and windows, it can spread to the rest of the house. This way you’ll close off all cracks from which air can get through and keep the other rooms fresh.

And finally, you could try smoking your joints in the bathroom if you’re a fan of hot saunas. Turning on the hot water will allow the fan in the bathroom to draw in the smell of weed together with the steam.

How to Minimize the Smell of Weed During a Smoking Session

You can do a few things to conceal the weed smell and keep it from spreading to the rest of the house.

Use Filters, Air Purifiers, or Deodorizers

In order to mask your smoke session you might want to use activated charcoal and carbon filters in order to absorb the smell of weed. Place them around the room where you’re smoking so they can absorb the unwanted pot smell.

You could also minimize the odorous evidence by using an air purifier, or even spray some scented deodorant to mask the smell.

Burn Some Incense or Use a Diffuser With Essential Oils

Burning incense in your home can not only help it to smell even better, but it can also help to mask weed smell. You could also camouflage the odor by putting a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a diffuser and light it up.

Make a Sploof

If you’re more of a DIY person, you could fashion yourself a sploof to catch the cannabis smoke and make your room smell like fresh laundry.

To make it, you’ll need a toilet paper roll filled with scented dryer sheets that will diffuse the smell of weed, a paper towel or another dryer sheet at the end, and an elastic band, to secure the dryer sheet at the end of the toilet paper roll.

After you inhale the smoke, blow it inside the sploof and it will smell just like washed clothes. Don’t inhale through the sploof, however, because you might inhale harmful chemicals.

Alternatives to Smoking a Joint for Consuming Cannabis

While no method of smoking cannabis is smell-proof, the methods listed below may result in less cannabis smell.

Vaping and Vaporizers

Vaporization emits less cannabis odor compared to smoking a joint. Vape pens burn cannabis at a lower temperature and therefore reduce the smell of weed. It’s really important that you keep your vape pen clean to prevent the buildup of plant matter because it can produce other odors.


Bongs produce less odor since the smoke first comes in contact with water. Bongs and similar equipment that use water significantly soften the smell of cannabis and are a good option for people who want to lessen the smell that comes from lighting a joint.


Edibles are a perfect way to keep your weed smell to a minimum, especially if you’re buying cannabutter or cannabis oil premade. That way you could even escape the smell that comes while you’re decarbing weed.


Can my neighbors smell when I smoke weed?

Whether your neighbors can smell when you smoke weed depends on many things, but mostly on how much, how frequently, and where you smoke, and also how close your apartments or units are to each other, and whether you use any tools to minimize the smoke. 

If you live in a smoke-free building, you might have to respect the rules and smoke outside, or at least do anything you can to not make it obvious that you smoke at home. On the other hand, if you live in a 420-friendly place, then you don’t have to worry as much unless your neighbors have made it clear that they’re bothered by the weed smoke.

For example, if you smoke by the balcony or near a window, your neighbors might get a sniff if their windows are also open before the smoke gets dissipated in the air. Cannabis has a very stinky and particular smell that’s hard to mistake for anything else. Moreover, if you smoke anywhere near a door or a vent, the smoke can easily seep through the opening. 

The real problem with weed smoke isn’t the smoke you’re inhaling and exhaling, it’s the cherry that’s burning at all times. It’s also what makes your fingers so stinky and your clothes smell. That’s why vaporizers and dabs are noticeably less pungent compared to joints and even bowls.

If your neighbors sniffing the weed smell makes you uncomfortable, it’s best to invest in a sploof or an air purifier so that you can smoke freely without worrying about it. If you only smoke once in a while, cracking a window open should be enough to blow the smoke outside.

Does smoke travel up or down?

Technically, smoke travels everywhere by following the movement of the air molecules. You’ll notice this if you follow it closely under good lighting and see the swirls moving in the air. 

However, if you want to get particular, upon combustion, smoke starts to travel upwards at first simply because of the heat. The heat makes the smoke less dense (or lighter) than the surrounding air – the molecules heat and move faster, thereby spreading apart. That’s what makes them rise up easily in the air. As they start to cool and contract, gravity starts pulling them down slowly and they get suspended in the air before falling down.

In a more true-to-life situation, if you’re smoking on the balcony and wonder whether your upstairs neighbors or downstairs neighbors would smell the weed first – it would be hard to tell because it depends on a lot of variables. For example – how far apart are the floors, is the weather windy, is it overcast and the air is not moving, and are you toking up big clouds? All of these seemingly unimportant things can play a part, so it really depends on your individual living situation.

Does smoke travel through walls?

When it comes to weed smoke, many marijuana smokers are concerned not only about it traveling out the windows, but also through the walls. This can be a problem if you live in a building with a no smoking policy or if you know for a fact that your neighbors are bothered by weed smoke.

Normally, brick walls are pretty resistant and do not let smoke seep through. However, in apartment buildings and multi-unit dwellings where there are shared walls, there are other ways that smoke can find its way into someone’s home. This usually happens through wall openings such as light switches, electrical outlets, vents, and plumbing openings, as well as any unseen cracks on the walls or the floors. 

Weed smoke is indeed pungent and stubborn, however, unless you’re a really heavy smoker who doesn’t take any precautions to reduce the smell in your apartment, you shouldn’t have any issues. Of course, it also depends on the place you live in and how porous the walls are, as well as your marijuana use habits. With that being said, if your neighbors or your landlord don’t mind it, don’t stress about it. One exception would be if you live in a state where weed isn’t legal.

Can smoke smell travel through vents?

Smoke will travel anywhere, and it most certainly will travel through vents. A lot of buildings that have central heat have return air ducts whose purpose is to return air that has been heated or cooled back to your apartment. In other words, they serve to maintain air circulation around the building and they connect through all the apartments or units. And since weed smoke (or any smoke for that matter) travels anywhere, it’s very easy to get into the vents and get pushed into someone’s unit.

Moreover, apartments with kitchens or bathrooms that are built back-to-back share plumbing and a common ventilation system, which means more holes in the wall and more opportunities for the marijuana smoke to spread around. 

And so, if you want to keep a low profile or if you don’t want to bother your neighbors, you should probably stay away from rooms in your apartment that have air vents (and stick to open windows). Even better, if you’re a frequent toker, invest in a carbon filter. This will neutralize nearly all weed smoke particles and enable you to smoke worry-free.

Final Words on Masking Weed Smell

While nobody can tell you for sure how far weed smell can travel outside, you can mitigate its smell by using some of the tips we’ve provided above. 

It’s also important that you keep your buds in a closed jar in a cool and dark place which will hide the smell and also minimize the exposure to light and air which can lead to THC degradation. And don’t forget to wash your clothes and your hair after a smoking session because the weed smell lingers there the longest.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.