One aspect of creating a grow that many people do not consider is adequate cannabis odor control. Cannabis plants produce prodigious amounts of unique and delicious terpenes, and their odor can be quite strong. To keep the members of your household happy, whether it’s family members or roommates, you can take basic steps to minimize the aromas of your growing plants.
As pleasing as these smells might be to you, other people may not share your passion and enthusiasm for marijuana. Depending on the size and location of your grow, neighbors are another concern—particularly if home grows are not yet legal in your area or you are deviating from maximum plant number limitations. All it takes is a neighbor complaining to local authorities about a cannabis odor, and you might have a police officer knocking at your door to investigate the complaint.
The Good and the Bad
Learning more about growing cannabis and setting up a grow space is a logical step for anyone who enjoys high-quality flower but grows tired of paying for it. Even as the prices of top strains continue to drop in the legal market die to increased production and basic supply-and-demand principles, a monthly cannabis budget can take a big bite out of your wallet. To keep your disposable income expenses in check, growing your own makes a lot of sense.
Top-drawer cannabis is going to have a strong cannabis odor—there’s no way around that fact. In many ways this is good and desirable, but for reasons just mentioned, controlling the aromas emanating from your plants should be a consideration. For the average home grow, the odor should be fairly easy to control and shouldn’t be an issue. Sometimes merely keeping a door closed is all it takes.
You definitely want your plants to produce strong odors, because it means the plants are reaching their full potential. In this respect, the pungent terpenes from ripe flowers are good and highly desirable. The only bad part about them is if the wrong people smell them.
Those new to cannabis cultivation should know what to expect at each stage of their grow. Armed with knowledge, they take necessary steps to keep their plants undetected by others.
Let’s address what you can expect from your cannabis grow at all stages, as well as measures to address any concerns that may arise—or prevent them from happening at all.
When Does Cannabis Start to Smell?
During the early stages of a cannabis plant’s life, there is no detectable cannabis odor. Once you germinate seeds, plant them, and have young plants, odor levels remain very low most of the way through the vegetative phase of growth, when the plants are provided 18 hours of light per day. Late in veg mode, when the plants are a foot or slightly taller, odor continues to remain minimal with most strains. At this stage of the grow, however, you can monitor emerging odors quite easily.
Take your index finger and very gently rub it against the main stem of the plant, supporting the stem so it doesn’t bend or become damaged in any way. Then give your finger a sniff. Even at this early stage, you will most likely detect a musky, sweet, and skunky aroma. Most likely, if you take a whiff of the leaves, they will remain odorless. The sweet dankness you detect from the main stem is an indication of things to come. The plant, regardless of its sex, is starting to create terpenes. These terpenes will become increasingly evident as the plants grow, particularly with female plants with large flowers.
When you put the plants into the flower phase by cutting back on their daily exposure to light (12 hours of light to 12 hours of darkness), terpene production really starts to kick in. Once your plants reveal their sex (assuming you’re growing normal rather than feminized seed), you will soon end up with female plants that will produce sticky, dank flowers rather quickly. By a few weeks into flower, the odor of your grow may be quite strong.
As the flowers start to swell and put on a frosty coating of trichomes, terpene aromas will rise steadily. If you are in a situation where you want to minimize cannabis odors, now is the time to be vigilant about odor control. When you are outside of your home or when you enter it, take a deep sniff. Can you detect any cannabis? If you can smell it, others most likely can, too. If you have no close neighbors or you share your home with others who enjoy cannabis, you have nothing to worry about. If keeping your grow undetected is necessary, there are some steps you can take to minimize the smell.
Choose Your Strains Wisely
When it comes to detectable terpenes, all cannabis strains are not created equally. Some are much more pungent and aromatic than others. Skunky indica strains like Afgooey emit the strongest cannabis odors, while sweet sativa-dominant strains like Jack Herer and Pineapple Punch are less likely to draw attention to your grow. Bubblegum is another strain that maintains a fairly low odor. Even indica-dominant strains like Blueberry or Maple Leaf Indica keep odors at a minimum.
Although strong terpene aromas are usually a telltale sign of potency, numerous outstanding strains deliver in the THC department without making your house reek like a skunk. Consult with other growers you may know or inquire with a seed bank or dispensary about high-THC strains that you can grow without drawing attention to your garden. New cannabis strains are created each year, so there are more choices now than ever before. Whether you go with an old-school favorite or a popular new strain, you will have plenty of options.
Air Filters and Ionizers
If you have a strong desire to grow strains known for high odor but want to remain as discreet as possible, an investment in air purification is your best course of action. Regardless of whether you employ carbon/charcoal filtration or ionized air purification, these devices can go a long way to limit or nearly eliminate air impurities, depending on how much you are willing to spend.
Numerous options are available to home growers. Some are created specifically to service grow rooms. Depending on the size of your grow, there are industrial-strength carbon air filters that will provide pure air to even the largest grow spaces.
Ionizers and carbon air filters purify air differently, so a little research and considering the overall size of your grow space will go a long way to ensuring your cannabis plants remain undetected.
Of course, once cured and sealed in jars, you can enjoy the mouth-watering strain-specific terpenes found in your flowers. This is the time when you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. While you are growing your plants, however, you may want to enjoy the flavors of your grow room by smelling your flowers, but not sharing the aroma with your local community!