Adult fun often demands discretion. Public sex happens, but is it ever good? It’s best behind closed doors. Lack of discretion with drinking leads to passing out at the table, absurd bro fights, rattling on at high volume about nonsense, embarrassing Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts. The best drinkers savor their gin-and-tonics and rosés without announcing to the world, “Check me out — I’m getting hammered!” Instead, they exercise discretion.

The case for discretion may be even more urgent with weed. For one thing, many of us can thrive during daily life with jolts of cannabis, but people in the park, on the sidewalk and sitting beside us at the office might judge (“Wow — what a stoner.”) For another, the couple sitting beside as at the dinner party might — rightfully — resent clouds of skunk smoke wafting over their glasses of chenin blanc. 

Good news, pot lovers: Before legalization, discretion was difficult. We smoked, we reeked-up the place, and we got very baked. But now, weed no longer must come in baggies, and be destined for smoke. We have edibles. We have vapes. We have transdermal patches, sublinguals and even inhalers. And we have microdosing options, which let us experience elevation without simultaneously announcing to the world, “I’m soooo baked right now.”

Getting high never before enjoyed so many discreet options.


Edibles naturally offer lots of discretion — no smoke, no vapor, no devices needed to consume. You’re just snacking on a cookie.

Kiva Petra cannabis infused mints

The Kiva Petra Mint is the ultimate in discrete cannabis use. Not only does it give you a mild buzz, it also freshens your breath!

But edibles do present complicating factors. 

The biggest roadblocks to discreet consumption with edibles revolve around the time-lag between eating and getting stoned, the duration of the high, and the potential for an unpredictable buzz. It can be tough to time the high — you want to get buzzed for the opening act, set to take the stage in 45 minutes. So you down a gummy. But it doesn’t really kick in until 90 minutes after you consumed, and by the time it fully kicks-in, the act is off the stage. And then the buzz and builds and sort of takes over. Too much. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. A new generation of edibles are designed to reliably take effect more rapidly. 


With edibles, discretion hinges on the nature of the high, rather than the form. A snickerdoodle, a hazelnut truffle, a mug of tea or even a pill — edibles in most of their forms (pot-leaf-emblazoned bottles of cold-press coffee or lemonade being an exception) are models of discretion.

But the high can be an issue, and the microdosing revolution has been a boon for pot fans who like to exercise discretion. Gummies, hard candies, chocolates — just about any style of edible now comes in microdose forms, meaning the square of chocolate contains perhaps 2 milligrams of THC rather than the standard single-dose serving of 10 milligrams. In the old days, we had to break those 10 milligram cookies and brownies into pieces that seemed like they were about 4-milligram doses. We rarely guessed right. But thanks to microdosing, the guessing game is over.


Sublingual sprays are one of the premiere fast-acting delivery systems, and are increasingly popular with people who reject smoking, want to feel the effects quickly, and also prefer that the high evaporates with more haste than the typical edibles buzz (which can last for hours). The combination of delivery system — a pump spray attached to a vial, similar to many breath-improving and herbal products — and controlled buzz makes sublingual sprays top choices for cannabis consumers seeking discretion.

Another nouveau method of consuming cannabis — metered inhalers. A handful of companies have invested lots of R&D into these devices, which are the same L-shaped contraptions used by people with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Like sublingual sprays, inhalers act quickly. But they also offer extremely precise doses — this is medical technology, after all. Inhalers give weed enthusiasts the power to truly dial-in their dosing, which aids enormously with discretion. Getting too high isn’t something likely to happen by accident.


Woman standing on the beach holding a Caliva vape pen.

Vape pens are a great, discrete option for on the go cannabis consumption. 

The rise of the vape, too, suggests a flowering of interest in pot-consuming discretion. They aren’t quite as low-key as edibles — they do, after all, produce clouds of aromatic vapor. But the perfume is more popcorn than skunk (and some vapes broadcast aromas of things like lavender and lemon), and it dissipates within minutes without clinging to breath, clothing and furniture. 

While some vapes are marginally bulky — they will produce a front-pocket bulge, and when used are obviously devices meant for marijuana — many vape pens are slender and petite in the extreme. No pocket bulge, no rectangular metal machine placed to lips. Disposable vapes are especially discreet — often the size of cigarettes (and sometimes even smaller in diameter) and feather-light, disposable vapes are increasingly popular in the marketplace. And their discretion helps explain their rising sales.


Papa & Barkley Releaf Patch

Papa and Barkley's patches are some of our favorites! 

Transdermal patches have gained consumer traction in most states with legal cannabis sales, and for good reason — they provide hours, even day-long relief, by slowly releasing THC and other cannabinoids like CBD into the bloodstream through the skin. Consumption takes place through the largest organ in the human body — skin — rather than through the mouth.

Patches are not known for delivering potent highs — an hour after attaching patch to skin, don’t expect a psychedelic experience. But you should get elevated. And you can remain buzzed throughout the day, without having to nibble edibles or sneak tokes. Nobody will notice the patch, either — it’s probably under your shirt. For people who use cannabis to treat medical conditions, patches are invaluable: They release cannabinoids at the same rate throughout the day, offering hours of medicine for pain, anxiety and other conditions.

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