The Secrets to Smoking Cannabis at Home Without Annoying Your Neighbors

The tools and tricks you need to maintain your flower smoking routine without affecting your rental agreement or catching side-eye from neighbors.

weed smoke masking essentials
Design by Emily Carpenter for Thrillist
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There’s a time and a place for all forms of cannabis, but there’s nothing quite like flower. The full-bodied flavor; the wave of relaxation from head-to-toe; the intoxicating aroma when you lean into that bag for a whiff. If you’re someone who enjoys smoking flower, there really is no substitute. There is one huge obstacle, though—especially for those renting: the smell.

The smell of cannabis can be polarizing. Depending on the weed-friendliness of housemates and neighbors, it’s a problem for flower enthusiasts of any residential setting. It also seems like the more hostile your neighbors find the smell, the keener they are at detecting it. So, whether you need to protect your rental agreement or your upstanding reputation, we’ve got a multidimensional game plan for maintaining your habits at home. Here’s how to smoke weed indoors without getting caught.

Smoke Smarter 

Edibles are the only surefire way to get high at home without any issues. In Portland, OR, I’ve even had a property manager suggest it at move-in. But if you’re anything like me, you can’t go without flower for too long. A joint is a no-no, there’s just too much aroma going on in general. 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 with which you can smoke small personal bowls at a time. 

weed smoke air filters
Philter Labs' Pocket Filter (L), The Smoke Buddy (R) | Design by Emily Carpenter for Thrillist

Exhale With Care

Technically, in a city where it’s legal, 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. So, don’t blow that smoke just anywhere. The Smoke Buddy was recommended to me and it proved to be a game-changer. It’s like a 2022 “sploof”—you know, the classic dryer sheets-shoved-in-a-toilet-paper-roll device. About the size of a lemon, you exhale into one end and virtually odorless-air emerges from the other. Some kind of patented filter system within catches a truly impressive amount of smoke and odor, and they’ll last a few months of very serious daily use.

Philter Labs makes a sleeker version of the same concept, and while one filter lasts half the exhales of a Smoke Buddy, they have better construction in the long-term and allow you to replace filters as they gunk up. For a similar device that allows you to replace the filter over time, check out the Sploofy.

weed masking room scents
Veil room spray (L), Cannabolish candle & spray (R) | Design by Emily Carpenter for Thrillist

Think Distraction, Not Disguise

In the moment, when you realize how strong your apartment smells like weed smoke, the knee jerk reflex is to start spraying Febreze like you need it to breathe. Because of that, I think a heavy whiff of Febreze is code for stoner activity to the average landlord. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend adding some kind of home fragrance to your indoor smoking routine. I say, shop for room spray like it’s a Mother’s Day gift.

Think sophisticated, clean scents, not just because they’re more pleasant, but because it’ll be less suspicious than the heavy artificial perfumes of conventional air fresheners. 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. If you’re smoking strong-smelling flower, I recommend having a fragrant candle lit the whole time, as well as spraying a few spritzes of a room spray when you’re done.

weed smoking scent covering essentials
Design by Emily Carpenter for Thrillist

Have a Back-Up Plan (a.k.a. Dryer Sheets)

Just keep a pack of dryer sheets around. You never know when your Smoke Buddy will call it quits and you need to make a sploof in a pinch. My biggest challenge remained dealing with the smoke that came off my cherried bowl while I exhaled into a filter. In my highest fantasies, I’d sew a sort of wedding veil-cape thing made out of dryer sheets in order to capture any escaping fumes. A girl can dream. For now, I wave a hand fan around periodically for about a half hour after smoking for good measure.

Big Picture 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, there’s nothing like a true standalone air purifier to cover any and all residual aromas. This 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 Portland-based writer and co-host of Broccoli Magazine's podcast, Broccoli Talk. She was among the first journalists to cover the commerce and culture of cannabis starting in 2014 and her work has since appeared in Willamette Week, Forbes, Rolling Stone, and Broccoli Magazine, among others. Follow her on Instagram at @laurenyoshiko for Portland breakfast sandwich recs, stoned nail art, and moderate cat content.