Attitudes towards cannabis consumption have evolved quite a bit over the last decade or so, but there’s still [apparently] a stigma attached to marijuana use. Even though the majority of Washingtonians voted to legalize cannabis— even though recent studies consistently demonstrate that marijuana is comparatively much safer than other legal substances like alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals— a great deal of people don’t want to publicize their cannabis use out of fear of what their partner, their family, or their coworkers might think. Even here at Herbn Elements, we have multiple hardworking employees who keep their profession a secret from their loved ones, and we have at least one employee who hides their frequent cannabis use from their significant other (hint: it’s not me).
Before you get stony on the sly, there are two important factors you need to consider: 1) what’s the situation you’re going to be in, and 2) how intoxicated do you want to be? If you want a slight buzz so you can sit through your niece’s piano recital, get something with a little bit of THC in it. If you want to feel relaxed but minimally intoxicated so you can converse with your partner’s family, try something high in CBD. If the goal is to get as baked as humanly possible before you watch a movie with your partner, you’ll want a large dose of THC.
The most discreet way to consume cannabis without your partner knowing is to take an edible. The term “edible” may not be the best term to use in this context, as we don’t recommend eating cookies, chocolates, brownies, or any other type of tasty candy that your partner might want a bite of; what you want for this scenario are capsules, tinctures, or "Rick Simpson Oil" (RSO).
- Tinctures are ingestible cannabis extracts in liquid form— often made using vegetable oil or alcohol— that you consume by squirting an eyedropper full under your tongue. We also have water-based tinctures that are are perfect for slipping into your drink (which, if you choose to go that route, pick a drink that your partner won’t want a sip of)
- Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) is an edible cannabis extract. It's popular among medical patients who require large doses of THC or CBD without having to smoke. RSO has a strong taste and a resinous texture that sticks to your teeth and fingers, so the best way to consume it is to put a small amount (about the size of a grain of rice) on a piece of food and eat it.
- Capsules are exactly what they sound like: activated cannabis extract in a convenient pill form.
Store your edibles somewhere your significant other won’t find them, then when you’re ready to have some fun, take them to your bathroom and gobble ‘em up. If you need to throw away edible packaging, bury it deep in your bathroom trash can or hide it in your pocket. Don’t forget to complete the ruse by flushing the toilet and washing your hands before you leave the bathroom.
The major advantage to using edibles is that they don’t leave an odor, but the drawbacks are that they take time to kick in— about 30 minutes to an hour— and it can be difficult to determine how an edible will affect you if you haven’t tried it before. Everyone’s body chemistry is different: perhaps a 10mg capsule will put you right where you want to be, but a small bead of RSO is too heavy of a dose to keep your high a secret. For this reason, it’s a good idea to do a “rehearsal run” whenever your better half will be out of the house for at least a few hours.
When it comes to edibles, the rule of thumb is is “go low, and go slow,” and this is especially pertinent advice if you don’t want your mother-in-law to call you out for being high as a kite at the dinner table.
If total secrecy is the goal, you and I both know that nothing is going to be more sneaky than an edible. However, if you prefer smoking (or are sensitive to edibles, like me), you can reasonably satisfy your preference for inhalation by using vape products. It’s very important to bear in mind that vapor is not odorless; though vapor doesn’t typically produce the lingering, skunky aroma that’s characteristic of weed smoke, vaporized cannabis oil does have a scent, and it tends to smell sweet, floral, and hashy. This is to say that if you were to hit a vape pen in a closed room, there would be a noticeable (but possibly difficult to discern) odor for about 10 minutes or so.
The beauty of inhalation is that it’s as close as you can get to “instant feedback.” Instead of checking the clock every 5 minutes and wondering when your edibles are going to kick in, you can take a puff from a vape pen and start feeling the effects within minutes. This is very useful for incognito cannabis use as vaporizing allows you to control how high you get, so you could prevent yourself from getting too stoned by taking a 3-second puff as needed.
Does vaporizing oil sound like a good fit for you? If so, consider these options:
- Disposable vape pens, similar to an ecig, are pre-loaded cannabis oil vaporizers that you can throw away when the battery dies.
- Vape cartridges are the reusable version of the above: a system in which a pre-filled cartridge of cannabis oil is affixed to a rechargeable vaporizer battery. When the cartridge is empty, you just toss it out and put a new cartridge on your battery.
- Essential oil vaporizers are portable atomizers that convert your raw concentrates (BHO, CO2, rosin, etc) into vapor. This technology has become somewhat dated since the invention of portable electronic dab rigs, which we also carry.
If you have buds that you’d like to consume discreetly, a portable flower vaporizer along the lines of a PAX 2 may be a good option for you, but it also comes with drawbacks. Aside from being somewhat pricey, using a portable flower vape won’t eliminate the telltale odor given off by your grinder (which may actually be more odorous than the bud itself, especially if you prefer pungent strains like Gorilla Glue), but the scent of flower vapor will dissipate after a few minutes. It’s probably best to step outside to take a puff from a vaporizer, but you can also try it in a bathroom with the fan on if you feel that the risk is worth the reward.
Let’s not mince words: this is an article about being sneaky with your weed... if you genuinely don’t want to get found out, I strongly advise against smoking because the smell will more than likely give you away. It’s 2018 in Washington state and there are tons of ways to get high without smoking. But, that being said, you may find yourself in a situation where you only have a bud or a joint and are feeling impulsive. To that point, I would say that impulsivity is how criminals and serial killers get caught (I, uh, listen to a lot of true crime podcasts), but if you’re gonna smoke, take the proper precautions.
Above all else, do not smoke in a small space like a car or a [windowless] room because the smell will stick to your clothes. Don’t make a “sploof” by stuffing a toilet paper roll with dryer sheets… it doesn’t work, and you’ll end up having to tell a bad lie about an encounter with a skunk (true story. Sorry, dad). Go outside to smoke, then store any buds and/or dirty paraphernalia somewhere the smell won’t permeate.
Cover Your Tracks
Merely consuming discreetly isn’t enough to keep your loved ones from knowing you’re baked... the other half of the challenge is to reduce or otherwise eliminate any other factors that could result in you getting found out. No matter how you use marijuana, here are some tips for getting away with clandestine cannabis consumption:
- Indoor Inhalation: If you’re going to vape or smoke inside, put a rolled up towel under the door to help prevent some of the odor from getting out (this isn’t foolproof, but it’s better than nothing). Additionally, open a window if you can, and turn on the fan if you’re in the bathroom.
- Freshen Up: If being a secret stoner is going to be a regular part of your lifestyle, always be sure to keep mints and eye drops close by. Rohto eye drops are popular among potheads because they make your eyes look white and well-rested like you had a full 8 hours of sleep. Additionally, it’s suggested that you change your shirt and wash your hands after the session (especially if you just smoked a joint). Putting on a little cologne or perfume may be a good idea, but when you’re being shady like this you always need to think about context; if you don’t typically wear fragrance or have minty fresh breath, your partner might suspect something’s up.
- Caffeinate: Regardless of whether you prefer indica or sativa, cannabis will likely make you more mellow than you are when you’re sober. Maintain your conversation skills and prevent suspicion by having some coffee or soda to perk you up.
Hopefully one day your significant other (or family or employer or whoever) will come around, but until then, we don’t judge, and we wish you the best of luck in your incognito endeavors.
Article by Ramsey Doudar; an in-house marketing and social media strategist at Herbn Elements. Ramsey's perspective is influenced by 1.5 years of budtending, 5 years as a cannabis industry marketing professional, and 10+ years of being a super picky medical patient.