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Cannabis 101

A Guide to Discreet Cannabis Use

11.23.21 - 4 min read


  • Even in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal, public consumption is still against the law.
  • There are many discrete methods of cannabis consumption, like edibles, drinks, tinctures, capsules and more.
  • Edibles and tinctures are not only great methods for discrete marijuana usage but also are perfect for people who want to avoid inhalation methods.

Ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to use cannabis, but didn’t feel 100% comfortable being open about it? You’re not alone. In many states, consumers are navigating a world where cannabis use has been legalized, but public consumption is still illegal.

The upside: The demand for subtler forms of consumption has led to the development of edibles, vape pens, capsules, drinks, concentrates and topicals. These innovations allow you to enjoy cannabis while staying comfortably low-profile about it.

In this guide, we’ll share some of our go-to ways to use cannabis discreetly and help you figure out which methods will give you the best experience possible.  (Before we get started, a quick reminder: always remember to adhere to your state’s specific regulations regarding cannabis consumption.)

Edibles: discreet cannabis eats

For under-the-radar (not to mention delicious) cannabis consumption, edibles are an enormously popular option. Candies, gummies, chocolates, mints, baked goods—if it can be eaten, you can probably make a version with cannabis in it. The benefits of edibles include, obviously, discretion. Whether you prefer CBD, THC, or a mix, commercial edibles also provide clear and consistent marijuana dosage. Plus, they’re easy to stow away in a bag or pocket for quick access.

One important thing to know about edibles is that the effects can take between 45 minutes to two hours to kick in since the digestion process is needed for the compounds to reach your brain (this varies widely from person to person). But once you know how long it takes you individually, you can learn to time your dose effectively according to your needs. [Source]

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Vaping: any flavor you like

If you enjoy smoking joints but want to reduce the smell associated with this consumption method, vapes could be an excellent option for you. Available in huge variety of different flavors, vaping liquids can smell like lavender, cotton candy or chocolate (to name just a few options) instead of cannabis. And the smell dissipates more quickly than with traditional pre-roll joints, which means it doesn’t cling to your skin or clothes.

The main technical difference between vaping and smoking is simple. With a joint, you smoke the cannabis plant directly. With a vape pen, you vaporize an oil-based concentrate. This means that the effect you get from vaping is stronger than from a regular joint, although the effect takes about the same time to hit (10-15 minutes). [Source]

If you’re concerned about your lungs, inhalation may not be the right way for you to consume cannabis. Fortunately, there are many more methods of cannabis consumption that don’t involve inhaling.

Capsules and tablets: controlled cannabis dosing

Capsules and tablets work the same way as edibles. The dosage is clearly marked, and you can use them just like you would over-the-counter medication. It’s discreet and simple. Reserved in the past for medical cannabis users, they’re now available on the recreational market. [Source]

The same caveat to edibles applies here, too: It can take up to 90 minutes for the effects to kick in, so make sure you time your dose right for the effect you’re looking for.

Discreet Marijuana
Some forms of marijuana can be taken discreetly.

Powders, drinks and drink mixes: bottoms up

Meeting your daily water goals and enjoying some discreet cannabis at the same time? Yeah, we’ll drink to that. Offered in pouches with specific dosages, cannabis powders and drink mixes are easy to add to your water bottle when you go for a refill (wherever). Brands add new flavors all the time, so it’s becoming easier to find something that suits your personal taste. [Source]

If you’d rather skip the mixing step, you can just buy premixed cannabis drinks. They look like soda cans or bottles, and for even more discreet marijuana use, you can just pour them into bottles and glasses. Some of them are crafted to taste like alcoholic cocktails (minus the alcohol), while others have soda-inspired flavor profiles.

The best part? Because of the technology used to make them, cannabis drinks usually take effect much faster than edibles or capsules. 

Homemade goods: DIY cannabis edibles

Making cannabis baked goods deserves a guide by itself. (If you’re intrigued, the deep dive is definitely worth it.) Here, we’ll stick to the basic steps to baking cannabis cookies and brownies. There are plenty of benefits to making homemade cannabis edibles: relative control of the strain and dosage, the fun of creating something that suits your taste and giving yourself yet another discreet way to consume whenever, wherever.

First, you need to decarboxylate your flower—in other words, heating the plant. If you were to try eating raw cannabis (not recommended), you wouldn’t get any psychoactive effect. It’s the heating up of the plant in the oven that releases the compounds that can then be absorbed by the body. 

After that, you need to mix up your cannabis with a fatty base—usually butter (here is the recipe for making cannabutter). This is because cannabis is fat-soluble, meaning that it requires fat (rather than water) to mix properly in food. Once you infuse your butter with cannabis, you’re ready to bake your favorite cookie or brownie recipe. 

What is the Entourage Effect?
What is the Entourage Effect?

One very important point to keep in mind with homemade edibles is the inherent trickiness of measuring dosages precisely. You can have a general idea of the amount of THC and/or CBD in your cookie, but it’s difficult to be as accurate as the dosage provided by a commercial edible maker.

Cannabis concentrates: more ways to eat and imbibe

Concentrates are basically concentrated cannabis oil presented in different forms. You can smoke them using a vape or a technique called “dabbing.” You can add some of them to butter or other fat to make edibles (see above), allowing you to skip the decarboxylation process. Some of them can even be consumed directly.

While the smoking technique is not discreet, other forms of consuming concentrates can be. You can add any concentrate to food or drinks. THC and CBD oils, distillate, isolate, terp sap and Rick Simpson oil (RSO) are the easiest to consume discreetly. In most cases, they can be added to almost anything you eat or imbibe.

Each type of oil or concentrate has its own flavor and compound profile, potency and extraction method, leading to a expansive range of choices and questions. When picking a concentrate, you can get help from a RISE dispensary Patient Care Specialist, who can guide you to the best product for your needs.

Topical cannabis and transdermal patches

If you enjoy cannabis for its anti-inflammatory properties and prefer avoiding the psychoactive effect that comes with smoking or eating it, you might want to consider a topical cream. These creams, oils and balms are perfect for local pain and inflammation relief. They’re also a discreet way to take cannabis, as there is no smell or smoke. They don’t usually deliver any of the psychoactive compounds to the bloodstream, which is why they don’t make you feel euphoric. Be sure to check each product to confirm this, because new variations are emerging constantly in the cannabis space.

Transdermal patches, however, do deliver THC and CBD to the bloodstream, so they can have a psychoactive effect. They also deliver the compounds over an extended period of time, providing a long-lasting effect. [Source]

Discreet cannabis use banner

Choosing a way to consume cannabis discreetly If you want to use cannabis in situations where discretion is key, remember that you have plenty of choices. From a vape pen and capsules to edibles and topical creams, the list of methods continues to grow. 

Considering the sheer volume of options out there, there’s a good chance you have questions about what’s ideal for you. (That goes for cannabis rookies as well as connoisseurs looking to experiment with something new.)

Patient Care Specialists at a nearby RISE dispensary can help you find the right method to suit your needs, lifestyle and experience level.

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