Clearing the Air: How to Limit Indoor Marijuana Smoke Odors

As marijuana reform sweeps the United States, more users than ever are toking up in the comfort of their own homes. But even in places were there are no legal issues with using marijuana, such as the 19 states that allow the medical use of marijuana, or the two that have legalized adult recreational use, marijuana smokers still typically prefer to keep their sessions private, and, out of respect for neighbors, try to confine the smell of cannabis use to their homes or apartments.

Sploof-StudyBut how is the best way to toke discretely in the privacy of your own home, without the sweet smell of sensimillia wafting to your neighbors nose?  A new study commissioned by tries to find the answer.

The study analyzed the particulates in the air after marijuana was consumed in a central location, using various methods to puff. The particulates were then analyzed using a Fluke 985 Particle Counter to determine which smoking methods were the worst for indoor air quality by measuring particles ranging from .3 microns to 1 micron in size.

Puffs were taken using the following standard methods of marijuana consumption: joint, bong, bowl, and vaporizer. In addition to the standard methods of smoking, testing was also performed on “sploofs” which are homemade smoking devices used to mask the odor of marijuana.

The study focused on a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. Smoking was done in the bathroom, as is typical of those trying to hide the smell, with one room (the kitchen) between the bathroom and the front door.

According to research done prior to testing, the study found that the typical sizes of marijuana smoke particles fell in the .3 to .5 micron range – as small as 1/300th of the width of a human hair.  To measure how common each type of particle was, testing utilized the Fluke 985 Particle Counter, which counts the total number of particles of different sizes over a given period of time.

In the experiment, the smoke was tested over a span of 70 seconds – the time necessary to test one liter of air.  Measurements were taken at the following times and locations:

  • The bathroom, 60 seconds after smoking
  • The kitchen, 3 minutes after smoking
  • Directly inside the front door, 5 minutes after smoking
  • Directly outside the front door, 7 minutes after smoking

Between each test, the entire apartment was thoroughly aired out to bring all levels back to their baseline.

Tests focused on two principal areas:  How smoke spread throughout the apartment when using different smoking methods, including a puff from a joint, a single hit from a bong, a single hit from a bowl, and single hit from a vaporizer, the Magic-Flight Launch Box; and how effectively five different designs of “sploofs” eliminated the smell and particles from the air when a single bowl hit was fully breathed out through the sploof.

The study found that smoking from a bowl created the least smoke, followed closely by smoking from a bong, and then a puff from a joint. However,  all three of these methods were very similar in the amount of smoke they created.

All of the  sploofs were somewhat effective in reducing particle concentrations.  They nearly eliminated any elevated particle counts in the kitchen, and no elevated particle counts were found inside the door or outside the door.  This reduced the overall smoke levels to those created by a vaporizer.

The study concluded that smoking in a room with the door closed, at least one room away from the front door, should be enough to keep marijuana smoke smell from escaping the front door,  provided that you don’t smoke more than a few large hits.  The study also found that there isn’t a significant difference between the smoke and odor created by joints, bowls, and bongs, and that vaporizing can be done safely anywhere within an apartment, without risk of the smell escaping.

Sploofs work very well when used in a separate room away from the front door, and sploofs with activated carbon are more than twice as effective as sploofs without activated carbon.

Clearing the Air: How to Limit Indoor Marijuana Smoke Odors was written by and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.

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