Why You Can’t Diffuse Cannabis Oil in Your Home

The logistics explained...
Jeff Yauck Jeff Yauck / Updated on June 10, 2019

Why You Can't Diffuse Cannabis Oil in Your Home

Diffusing oils is known around the western world as one of life’s little luxuries. In the same way that some eastern cultures enjoy the burning of incense to cover up nasty odors (or just to make their homes smell more pleasant), western cultures enjoy diffusing oils.

The simple idea of diffusion is that homeowners can permeate their home with an intense smell, imbuing it with whatever scent they desire. Sometimes this is the smell of freshly-picked fruit, other times the burly manliness of an oak cask. Sometimes it’s just plain, classic vanilla.

Whatever you choose, diffusing oils allows you to take one more step towards making your house a home. Choosing your favorite scent to add your own individual touch every time you walk through the door reminds you that this, well… this is your space.

However, wouldn’t it be nice if you could diffuse cannabis oil? Sadly it’s not really “therapeutically” possible to do so… but why is that the case?

In this article, we explain why diffusing cannabis oil in your home doesn’t really work, and also explain a few alternatives to get you as close as possible to the real thing if you’re absolutely chomping at the bit to give your home a nice, “weedy” aroma.

How Diffusion Works

Diffusion is the simple concept of diffusing molecules – usually scent and taste molecules – through a number of processes so as to make them leave their original source. This is commonly done to spread aromatic molecules throughout the air – you’ve probably seen them in the form of air fresheners, salt lamps, etc. Diffusers are generally categorized into two types: Ultrasonic and Nebulizers.

Ultrasonic Diffusers

These are the more common type of diffuser, which rely on a ready supply of water within the device that is then hit with an ultrasonic wave. This causes the water to release a mist of droplets, which carry with them the trapped particles of scent from the provided oils.

They are usually quite cheap, but also very disposable. They’re generally only usable up until their water runs out. You can buy refillable types, but most of the time, you’ll be forced to buy a new one.

Ultrasonic diffusers also carry a major problem in that the aromatic scent molecules have been diluted with water. This is obviously necessary due to the process of spreading the aromatics through water, but it does tend to dilute the scent of certain substances.

For example, fruit oils can be rather subtle and intended to smell gentle, but if you diffuse them using an ultrasonic diffuser, you’re not really going to smell anything at all.

If you want a higher end option that can actually spread a more subtle scent, then you might want to try the next option.

Nebulizers

Nebulizers are a strange glass contraption that look like an artist’s rendition of a venus fly trap, but they actually work pretty well. They work through the process of nebulization, which uses oxygen or compressed air to cause solutions and suspensions to break up into small aerosol droplets. These droplets can then be directly inhaled, either through a convenient mouthpiece or just by being in proximity of the device.

This is what is chosen for applications of medicine through diffusion, as it ensures as much medicine as possible is administered to the patient.

Unfortunately, these can be extremely expensive, but they are generally worth it.

Considering you can use both for medical applications, it might make sense to utilize cannabis – or even just CBD oil – so as to maximize their medicinal benefits.

However, the only method of diffusion available for cannabis is nebulization, but this is only for medical application, and not to make your home “smell nice.” If you were thinking about installing a CBD diffuser for a constant relaxed environment in your home, there is unfortunately no option for an ultrasonic diffuser to do so.

What Diffusing Cannabis Oil Does

When you diffuse a substance using the standard method for non-medicinal substances, what you are doing is lifting up the molecules within the substance that carry the scent and diffusing them into the air.

This works well when you’re trying to carry over a particular scent, but not especially well when you’re trying to lift up other, heavier substances as well.

The key problem with using a normal ultrasonic diffuser to try and diffuse the medicinal effects of cannabis into the air is that both THC and CBD are cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a substantially heavier molecule than the scent molecules you’d typically try to disperse through the air.

Due to the fact that THC and CBD are both heavier than the regular molecules used in diffusers, they will remain behind when the diffusion process is complete.

Though this might be helpful if you were looking to further concentrate your CBD oil, it sadly will do nothing to disperse the important molecules throughout your living room.

So what can you do? Is there a way to diffuse THC and CBD in your house, or can you only get access to the familiar funky smell of marijuana with none of the benefits?

Ways to Get THC & CBD into the Air

Sadly, if you want to get the important components of marijuana into the air, there’s no real way to do so using the standard methods of ultrasonic diffusion. Instead, you have to rely on using a nebulizer.

Nebulizers are commonly used to help treat lung conditions such as bronchitis or other forms of damage lung tissue ailments. By nebulizing the medicine into a fine mist, the patient is able to inhale the medicine directly into their lungs, administering it directly where they need it.

This can also be a useful way to consume marijuana if you don’t enjoy the acrid sensation of inhaling combusted smoke. Instead of smoking a joint or a pipe, it is indeed possible to inhale marijuana using a nebulizer.

However, thanks to the exorbitant cost of nebulizers compared to the simple price of a pipe, there’s not really a reason to do so. If you’re just interested in the smell of cannabis though, and not necessarily the medicinal effects…

Diffusing Marijuana for the Smell

If you just want the smell of marijuana to imbue your home, and it’s musky, pungent stench to permeate your furniture forever, then it is possible to use a simple diffuser.

To do so, you only need to buy any brand of cannabis oil and insert it into your diffuser. You can also buy CBD oil if you prefer to avoid any trace elements of THC invading your home, but most CBD oils out there are pretty odorless and do not, in fact, have the signature aroma of cannabis.

One important thing to remember is to not, under any circumstances, use a tincture. Though CBD oil and CBD tincture might sound similar, a tincture is actually made from an extract suspended in an alcohol solution, which could cause some serious problems if you try to diffuse it into the air.

If you’ve ever spilled a drop of liquor into your eyes, you’ll understand. If you are intent on getting some marijuana oil diffused in your home, despite the lack of THC or CBD in the diffused particles, just remember that the scent of marijuana is very identifiable and easily clings to furniture. So if you ever hope to have your parents or your pastor visiting, remember to turn it off well in advance.

Final Thoughts on Diffusing Cannabis Oil

Though many people around the world enjoy diffusing smells throughout their homes, it sadly isn’t especially easy to diffuse cannabis for any significant purpose (i.e. it won’t really work if you’re trying to get high or receive therapeutic benefits).

In other words, if you want the smell of weed throughout your house but don’t feel like smoking a traditional joint or pipe and dealing with the malignant effects of combustion, feel free to use some cannabis oil in a diffuser. You won’t get high or receive any real effects (other than maybe some soothing aromatherapy), but you will create a nascent smell of marijuana that can dissipate inside your home.

And of course, as an alternative you can consider simply using CBD or THC oils or tinctures directly into your mouth or food. Though their taste is distinctive and can occasionally require a quick drink of water afterward, they are a great way to get the medicinal effects of cannabis without having to deal with the smoky aftertaste of a toke from a joint.

Whatever your preferred methods or reasons, proper diffusion of cannabis sadly isn’t possible due to the molecular structure of the substances within the plant. However, if all you’re after is the smell of the familiar green plant, then common garden variety diffusers are perfectly suited to disperse the smell of musky cannabis throughout your home. It may not be that popular, but it is possible.

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3 comments
  1. Eugene Thome
    No No

    Why do you want to diffuse cannabis? The smell is really bad, actually awful. Please do not even try this, as then you might have to spray a number of different air fresheners for a number of days. Yes, you guessed it right, I am talking out of personal experience:)

  2. Ryan Hicks
    Strange but nice!!

    Recently we attended a small pub party, it was a very small or in house conversion you can say, and guess what the keeper used for diffusing CBD? He used a simple face steamer. And it was working fine. He had used a very mild variety of the oil , it was some strawberry kind of air, but it felt great.

    1. Clayton Stovall
      Interesting

      Ryan, if there is any way to get in touch please let me know. Email perhaps?

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