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Cannabis
May 11, 2021

Why does weed smell like a skunk?

Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. Cannabis has psychoactive and medicinal properties due to its chemical makeup.


Marijuana can be smoked in a handmade cigarette (known as a joint), in a cigar, or in a pipe (known as a bong). Weed can be used for pain relief, to treat anxiety, or for fun.


You can often tell if someone has been smoking weed by the smell of piney, slightly skunky grass that smoked cannabis leaves behind.


However, knowing for sure if what you can smell is weed can be tough if you aren’t used to the smell. Some strains of marijuana can smell different from each other, making it even more difficult.


What impacts the smell of marijuana?

The smell of marijuana is mostly affected by the age of the cannabis plant when it’s harvested. Cannabis that has been harvested earlier in its life cycles has a milder, less skunky scent. It also smells less strong when you smoke it. Cannabis that was older before it was picked and dried will have a stronger smell.


Organic compounds called terpenes are found in all plants, including cannabis. Myrcene, pinene, and limonene are terpenes found in some strains of cannabis. Terpenes change the smell. For example, cannabis strains with limonene will smell more like lemon.


How a marijuana plant smells

Marijuana plants smell similar while they’re growing and when they’re harvested and dried. They give off a slightly weedy, piney “skunk” scent that gets stronger as the plant gets older. When cannabis flowers and blooms, the scent becomes powerful.


Indica vs. sativa

Two common strains of the cannabis plant are cannabis indica and cannabis sativa.

For many years, botanists thought that indica and sativa were different species with very different effects on the users. Indica strain smells more acrid, while sativa smells more spicy or sweet.


However, there is actually no way to smell the difference between indica and sativa. Part of the reason is that there’s a lot of crossbreeding between these two particular strains. 


What does marijuana smell like at the point of purchase?

The scent of the plant can be described as earthy, herbal, and woody. Sometimes the plant can have notes of lemon, apple, diesel, or plum. Dried marijuana smells a lot stronger than other dried plants.


How it smells while smoking

When you smoke marijuana, the natural scent of the cannabis scent is amplified by the smoke. Fire, smoke itself, ash, and the smell of rolling paper add different layers to the scent.


When the weed is being smoked, notes of lemongrass, pine, fire, and wood may be noticeable. The distinct “skunk” smell of marijuana is often noticed.


What does weed smell like on a person after it’s smoked?

The smell of marijuana smoke can stick to the smoker’s hair, skin, and clothing. The “skunk” scent combines with the scent of fire and smoke, and can also layer and increase the scent of sweat and other natural body odors. Some people think that the scent after smoking can have notes of mustiness or an overly sweet scent.


Why does weed smell like skunk?

Cannabis smells like “skunk” because of one of its terpene components myrcene.

Myrcene is found in lots of other fragrant plants, including bay leaf, mangoes, hops, and thyme. Different strains of marijuana can have more or less myrcene. The sedation and calming part in many cannabis strains is also linked to the myrcene content of the plant. Marijuana that smells more fruity or skunky may have a more “couch-locking” effect due to the myrcene.


What does hashish smell like?

Hashish is a highly concentrated form of marijuana. It is made from the compressed resin of the cannabis plant. Hashish smoke smells a lot like marijuana smoke. It has an earthy scent mixed with notes of fires and ash.


What does synthetic weed smell like?

Synthetic weed is made in a laboratory and mixed with other chemical elements. Chemicals are sprayed onto plant-like material that is then smoked like weed. It’s sometimes known as K2, mamba, or spice.


Synthetic marijuana is not the same as the cannabis plant. It’s not regulated and could contain almost any chemical. Because of this, there’s no synthetic weed smell that’s standard.


Takeaway

Marijuana has a distinctly skunky, strong smell. It might be hard to spot at first, but once you’ve smelled or been in contact with it, it’s quite noticeable. Marijuana smells a little different depending on what kind is being smoked and how strong the strain is.


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