The insurmountable aroma of cannabis (aka weed, marijuana, Mary Jane, etc.) will greet you from miles away near a commercial cannabis dispensary and grow space, and if you live by one of these cannabis businesses than you can likely attest to this drastic and far-spreading odor. The legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana use has led to the overwhelming amount of businesses across the United States (in the States that have approved and passed laws for the legalization of medicinal and/or recreational marijuana consumption) that have started producing and selling cannabis to the American public. However, as the cannabis industry has begun to boom issues have developed and one of these growing issues that has become a forefront problem for the cannabis industry is odor control and management.

According to the Cannabis Business Times, in late 2018 a federal judge ruled in favor of a cannabis grower whose cultivation facility had created a pungent weed smell throughout the neighborhood that the business resided in – as neighbors alleged the indoor cannabis dispensary was driving down their property value. This is not an isolated issue, as many states throughout the U.S. that now allow for the legalization of marijuana have experienced the same growing complaints from their citizens about this odor problem from cannabis dispensaries.

In this article we are going to learn more about the importance of cannabis dispensaries and air filtration within this commercial space, understand the different components of weed smell and off gassing, and discuss the best cannabis dispensary odor control plan that includes the use of a revolutionary cannabis odor filter for weed smell mitigation.  

What is Cannabis

What is CannabisCannabis, the popular plant that is used to treat diseases and conditions, is a tall plant with a stuff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs that is used to produce hemp fiber and as a drug (both recreationally and medicinally). The cannabis sativa plant grows wild in many of the tropical and temperate areas of the world and has increasingly started being grown and cultivated by means of indoor hydroponic technology. Across the United States, many cannabis dispensaries and grow operations have converted to and are run indoors with climate control and hydroponic technology to increase its plant growth throughout the year. The demand for cannabis is high in the United States, and according to the University of Washington Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute cannabis is one of the most widely used illicit drugs in this country – and it is predicted that in 2025 legal marijuana sales will earn as much as 23 billion dollars in the U.S. alone.

Chemicals found in the cannabis plant will include the primary psychoactive component of cannabis called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), along with 483 known chemical compounds in the plant, including at least 65 other cannabinoids. Among these various chemicals that are found in cannabis one of these chemicals called terpenes found in cannabis are the key component to the foul smell emitted from the cannabis crop. Terpenes are secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD and these aromatic terpene oils that will color cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition – which is why some strains of cannabis have a stronger odor than others.

Weed Plant Stages

Cannabis plants, like all plants, will go through a progression of growth stages during its cultivation process. The different stages of a cannabis plants growth will call for different conditions such as various amounts of light, nutrients, and water. Generally, a weed plant can take anywhere from 14 to 32 weeks (about 4 to 8 months), during this time the cannabis crop will need to be cared for and have proper conditions for its growth. The life cycle of cannabis will include the following four primary stages; germination (5-10 days), seedling (2-3 weeks), vegetative (3-16 weeks), and flowering (8-11 weeks).

  • Weed Plant StagesGermination: The first stage of life for a cannabis plant begins with the seed. During this stage your weed plant crop is dormant and is waiting for water to bring it to its next growth stage. The seed will appear to be light-to-dark brown in color – and will be hard and dry. This stage of life will take anywhere from 5 to 10 to complete and you will know that the stage has finished once your seed has popped.
  • Seedling: The seedling stage of the cannabis crop will bring the traditional cannabis leaves on the crop. These leaves will develop more blades and as a mature cannabis plant develops it will have between 5 to 7 blades per leaf, but some plants may have more. A healthy seedling should have a bright green color but be careful not to overwater the plant during this stage because the roots are too small to handle mass amounts of water.
  • Vegetative: The vegetative stage of cannabis is where the plant’s growth expedites. The cannabis plants growth is so much that it will need to be moved into a larger pot, since the roots and foliage are developing exponentially. The spacing during this stage is important, as Indica plants tend to be short and dense, whereas Sativas grow lanky and more open in foliage. These vegetative plants appreciate a healthy soil with nutrients; therefore, you should feed them with a higher level of nitrogen at this stage.
  • Flowering: The flowering stage is the final stage of growth for a cannabis plant. Flowering happens naturally when the plant receives less than 12 hours of light a day as the indoor light cycle is shortened. This stage of the cannabis plants growth will determine the sex of the plant, and it is imperative to separate the males, so they don’t pollenate the flowering females.

Cannabis Off Gassing

Did you know that VOCs are emitted from the growth of cannabis plants, and these chemicals can result in what is known as cannabis off gassing? As we discussed previously, cannabis contains hundreds of chemicals within its composition including that of terpenes. These terpenes are classified as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – chemical compounds that are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs have been found to produce adverse health effects to humans exposed to these chemical compounds, particularly in high concentrations. However, although these VOCs contain potentially hazardous effects on human health, they can increase in its toxicity when these VOCs released from terpenes in cannabis plants combine with combustion gases, and this will ultimately create ozone.

There have been studies conducted on the impact of VOCs and cannabis off gassing, and one study in particular conducted by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill found concerning results of VOC emissions from cannabis dispensaries. The study found that cannabis grows could contribute to anywhere from 66 to 657 tons of emissions per year. Therefore, the cannabis off gassing of VOCs can become a major threat to the area in which these commercial cannabis facilities are operated within – such as the states around the U.S. that allow for the legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana.

Cannabis Dispensary Odor Control Plan

Cannabis Dispensary Odor Control PlanMany cities and states throughout the United States that have passed and allow for the recreational and/or medicinal use of marijuana have begun to implement stricter regulations against these commercial cannabis dispensaries – especially when it comes to odor control. These odor control regulations that have been bestowed upon cannabis cultivation facilities have to adhere by and create what is known as a comprehensive odor control plan (OCP). These odor control plans for cannabis dispensaries are developed to enforce an active plan and control measures to prevent the spreading of the cannabis odors from the air space that can travel throughout the air and spread past the confined space of the cannabis facility.

These odor control plans (OCP) are based on industry best practices and minimum requirements set by ASHRAE and include analyzing the current setup and state assumptions, determining relevant code reference, calculating ventilation for occupancy requirements and odor control and providing documentation that can be present to the governing body. A major part of this odor control plan is having a specific cannabis odor filter that will aid in the mitigation and removal of weed smells and odor in the space that can impact the indoor air quality and even the health of the occupants in this space and in neighboring areas by this facility.

Cannabis Odor Filter

When it comes to controlling and removing those strong-terpene odors and chemical compounds that are produced from cannabis crops in the air of a marijuana dispensary or grow room operation and cultivation site, no other odor solution is offered more than carbon air filters. Carbon filters for cannabis odor removal, however, have limitations that will ultimately contribute to the unwanted and potentially hazardous re-releasing of chemical pollutants and odors back into the indoor air of the environment overtime. While the carbon air filters are usually utilized in either an air handling system or portable air purification system the filter will work to collect those airborne pollutants from the air. As the filter begins to fill-up and the surface area of the media filter becomes full, then the chemical compounds and odorous pollutants will start to release off of the filter and back into the airspace of the environment that the filter once cleared the pollutants from such as the cannabis grow facility and cultivation site.

The EnviroKlenz technology is a revolutionary, non-invasive, odor elimination process that can rapidly restore an odor-compromised property such as a cannabis grow room facility and dispensary. The EnviroKlenz air filtration process is the scientifically and field proven choice for the safe, rapid, convenient, and cost-effective restoration of indoor spaces from noxious odors and other toxic vapors in the air. The composition of the EnviroKlenz technology utilized in the EnviroKlenz Air Purifier or EnviroKlenz HVAC filter favorably interacts with the diverse chemicals found in the smoke and residuals of cannabis growing in a cultivation facility.

When the chemical composition and odors of cannabis interact with the EnviroKlenz technology on the filter it will not only contain the odors like carbon air filters do, but it also chemically interacts and breaks down a wide variety of chemical compounds without releasing any harmful pollutants or chemicals back into the environment. Additionally, the EnviroKlenz technology can reduce labor and overhead costs, will not affect the cannabis crops quality, and it is a tested, proven, and validated technology. The EnviroKlenz technology has been third party tested by many leading laboratories such as; Battelle Memorial Institute, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and other laboratories.

Article Sources: 

  1. Cannabis Business Times: 7 Tips to Neutralize Cannabis Odor Now (link)
  2. University of Washington, Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute: What is Cannabis? (link)
  3. Science Friday: Growing Cannabis Could Lead to More Air Pollution (link)

Mobile Air System

The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System utilizes hospital-grade technology to provide maximum air cleaning efficiency for your home and office. It combines certified HEPA filtration along with our patented EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge to remove airborne pollen, dust, odors, mold, gasses, fragrance, VOCs, allergens, bacteria, and more.

Technology originally designed for chemical warfare decontamination

Patented Earth Mineral Technology works to attack the VOC and break down on a compound level.

Powder coated metal housing – Made in the USA

No chemicals or masking agents

Will not release any chemicals back into your environment

Safer and faster at removing VOC’s than traditional carbon filters and Peco air purifier