The Secrets to Smoking Cannabis Without Annoying Your Neighbors

The handheld smoking filters, room sprays, and capped ashtrays you need to sesh without alerting the Karen next door.

weed smoke masking essentials
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
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There’s nothing quite like flower. Yes, the edible realm expands with interesting flavors and forms every day, and dabbable, vapable concentrates create new experiences from our favorite strains all the time. But that intoxicating aroma when you lean into that bag for a whiff, the full-bodied flavor that follows the flick of a lighter, the slow wave of relaxation that washes over your body and mind—it’s a special kind of ritual to enjoy cannabis flower in its natural state.

But, there is one huge obstacle when it comes to flower: the smell.

To some, the smell of cannabis is a reassuring aroma, one that indicates friends are near and good times are being had. To others, the aroma is a criminal offense to the senses, and they intend to report it to an authority. Those differing philosophies have created quite the conundrum in various states around the country, depending on the laws and leases of the land.

So we’ve got a multidimensional game plan to help that go as smoothly and surreptitiously as possible. Here’s how to smoke weed indoors without getting caught.

Start with smart tools

Edibles are the only surefire way to get high at home without any issues. A joint is a no-no— there’s just too much aroma going on throughout the process. The grinding, rolling, burning, exhaling...not to mention the plume of weed smoke coming off the end of the joint in between puffs. A vaporizer is ideal, but if you don’t have a flower-friendly vape, stick to a small pipe or bong that allows you to smoke small personal bowls at a time.

Mitigate the smoke

Technically, you’re allowed to have weed in your apartment. It’s not illegal to have stinky flower, even if your neighbors are bothered by it. The problem is the smoking part. Every exhale is a risk. Enter handheld smoking filters.

The Smoke Buddy is a gamechanger for many. About the size of a lemon, you exhale into one end of the plastic tube and near odorless-air emerges from the other. Some kind of patented filter system within it catches a truly impressive amount of smoke and odor, and it’ll last a few months of very serious daily use. It’s like a new world “sploof”—you know, the classic dryer sheets-shoved-in-a-toilet-paper-roll device.

The realm has expanded broadly over the past few years, introducing brands like Philter and inspiring some smoking accessory brands to start carrying a filter. Sploofy developed a similarly egg-shaped plastic filter with a replaceable filter that can be swapped out over time.

Mask the smell

The moment you realize how strong your apartment smells like weed smoke, the knee jerk reflex is to start spraying Febreze everywhere. Here’s the thing: Nothing screams “weed is being smoked here” like a heavy blanket of Febreze air freshener. The best move when it comes to home fragrance remedies is to shop for room spray like it’s a Mother’s Day gift.

Think sophisticated, clean, unsuspicious scents. Veil makes a woody, peppery room spray designed specifically to balance and eliminate weed smell, and Cannabolish has a more forestry-wintergreen lean to their room sprays and candles. Bathroom fragrance brand Poo Pourri created a smoke-eliminating version of their spray—Pot Pourri—that’s made with essential oils designed to replace smoke odor with the scent of lemon and cloves. You can also add a layer of protection with a fragrant candle.

Have a backup plan (a.k.a. dryer sheets)

Just keep a pack of dryer sheets around. You never know when your handheld filter will call it quits and you suddenly need to make a DIY filter with a toilet paper tube in a pinch.

The smoke tendrils that come off of a cherried bowl remain an ongoing challenge—calling all 3D designers to create the smoke catching, flameproof hat/veil of our dreams—so it’s not a bad idea to have a hand fan around to help disperse smoke clouds for good measure.

Explore longer term solutions

The smoke isn’t alone responsible for attention-grabbing aromas. A proper, airtight container for your flower can also help keep ambient odors at bay (not to mention prolong freshness and potency of buds). An ashtray with a cap is also a smart call for any regular ashers—all those mostly-burned bits, roaches, and cashed bowls can contribute to general weed smell over time.

For the ultimate safety net and strictest landlords, nothing compares to the round-the-clock filtration of a standalone air purifier. This $199 Coway air filter contains a HEPA layer (particularly handy if you live in an area prone to smog/wildfire smoke) and it effectively clears the air of a hazy one-bedroom apartment within 20 minutes when running full blast. We speak from experience.

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Lauren Yoshiko is a veteran cannabis writer based in Portland, Oregon. She writes The Broccoli Report, a tri-monthly newsletter about cannabis business, culture and trends.