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How to Hide the Smell of Cannabis Naturally

For many, the aromatic terpenes found in the oils of cannabis plants are like an expensive perfume. Fresh bud contains an overload of scent. For the cannabis connoisseur, noting details and savoring each inhale is a part of the ritual and provides deep enjoyment. The process is much akin to wine lovers’ appreciation for a good nose.

Whether the scent of cannabis is loved or loathed, much is said about its pungent aroma, which many times can take on the well-known and highly distinguishable “skunky” odor. 

For others, the scent of cannabis isn’t that desirable. If not stored properly, cannabis can also have a very strong “dank” odor (as many people know all too well!) For both freshness and to contain odor, always store in an air-tight glass jar in a dark, cool, and dry place. 

Some parents may also want to mask cannabis aromas from children, if they have not yet reached an age of comprehension for responsible cannabis use. Though there are more discrete methods of using cannabis, including vaping, edibles, tinctures, etc., sometimes one might just want to enjoy a smoke.

However, before reaching for cologne or perfume, spraying the room with an air freshener, or lighting up a typical scented candle, keep in mind the health side effects of these cover-ups. You may want to save these for special occasions, or start avoiding them altogether.

Why it’s not healthy to use artificial fragrances to cover up the smell of cannabis (or use in general)

There are several health reasons behind not using things like artificially scented candles, perfumes, and colognes to cover up the smell of cannabis.

If using cannabis for medicinal purposes (especially people with weakened immune systems), it’s highly recommended to avoid introducing any unnecessary chemicals into the body. Even for healthy people, exposure to chemicals can be very harmful for overall health.

One of the biggest offenders is phthalates, which are chemicals used extensively in different applications to make plastics more flexible and harder to break. Phthalates are used in such a diverse range of products – from detergents to automotive plastics to personal-care products like soap and shampoos. They are extremely hard to avoid, cautions the CDC. As such, phthalates are also very prevalent in fragrances.

However, fragrance manufacturers are not required to disclose that products contain phthalates, as ingredients used in perfumes and related products are considered to be trade secrets, according to Mind Body Green. A test by The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found phthalates in 70% of the perfumes evaluated. Yet none of these were listed on the labels - confirming that industry-wide it’s a legitimate concern. Therefore, be extra cautious whenever the ingredient “fragrance” is listed, as more than likely phthalates are also present.

Numerous studies found adverse health effects associated with exposure to phthalates. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, certain phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors. They have also been found to negatively affect human reproduction or development, and may even cause cancer. While it may be very difficult to evade phthalates exposure altogether, reading product labels carefully can help make to more informed choices.

The most effective ways to hide the smell of cannabis

Fortunately, there are other natural options that can help cover up any unwanted cannabis odors, without compromising your health. While they might not be as pungent or have the same long-lasting effects as their chemical counterparts, they are much healthier for regular use.

Essential oils

For a cologne or perfume alternative, essential oils can be a new favorite replacement. Essential oils are typically made from leaves, herbs, barks, and rinds of plants, and then processed into concentrated oil form, says WebMD. As with any product, be sure to carefully read the labels to ensure that there are few to any additives. Most may be used in conjunction with a vegetable or other natural “carrier” oil, which is safe to use.

Some men may shy away from considering essential oils, assuming that there are only feminine, floral-based options like lavender or rose. However, there are many essential oils that are gender-neutral, or may lean towards more traditionally masculine scents, such as cedar wood, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, and black pepper.

For anyone who is just making the switch from a conventional perfume or cologne, it is common to find that using a single essential oil may not be as “strong” as desired. Or, its scent may fade more quickly. In that case, a layering approach may help extend the staying power of the scent, such as adding a few drops to a natural-based lotion, then using the essential oil on top of that. Both men and women may like to put a little oil into the hands, then distribute evenly throughout the hair, for a subtle but longer-lasting effect. Bonus: when used lightly, the oil adds a natural, radiant sheen to the hair, without weighing it down.

Essential oils are also great when used with a reed diffuser, which can be left out on a table or counter for a subtle scent without the chemical overload. They can also be used in portable diffusers, which can be found in necklace form, or for use in the car.


If you do opt for candles, try to avoid any which contain paraffin (a petroleum byproduct), says Well and Good. Various studies compiled by the EPA found that concentrations of toxic chemicals from candle emissions exceeded EPA-recommended thresholds. Long-term exposure has been linked to many health conditions, from allergies and asthma to more serious damaging effects on the brain, lungs and, central nervous system.

Look for vegetable-based candles, like soy or coconut, or beeswax. Also be wary of wicks, which can be part of the chemical emissions, and opt for those which are 100% cotton. Essential oils offer the safest way to scent a candle, yet give a much more subtle smell than conventional products – but with a much safer trade-off.

Sage & Palo Santo

For a heavier masking effect, turn to the herb Sage or natural wood aromatic incense of Palo Santo. Sage has a rather strong earthy, minty scent, while Palo Santo is milder scent with slightly sweeter notes of pine, mint, and lemon. For tips on how to use these powerful and sacred scents, check out this article on how to smudge.

Happy natural scenting!  

 Pictured: Spark It Cannabis Unisex Tee