Characterizing the Smell of Marijuana

What impacts the smell of marijuana?

The strongest factor in the way marijuana smells is the age of the cannabis plant when it’s harvested. Cannabis that’s harvested earlier in its life cycles has a milder, less skunky scent.

It’s also less powerful when you smoke it. Cannabis that grows older before it’s picked and dried will have a stronger odor.

Organic compounds called terpenes are found in all plants, including cannabis. Myrcene (mango), pinene (pine), and limonene (lemon) are terpenes found in some strains of cannabis.

Terpenes change the scent of marijuana. For example, cannabis strains with pinene will smell more like pine.

How a marijuana plant smells

Marijuana plants smell similar during the growing process and when they’re harvested and dried. They give off a slightly weedy, piney “skunk” scent that gets stronger as the plant grows older.

When cannabis flowers and blooms, the scent becomes powerful.

Indica vs. sativa

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

For decades, botanists and marijuana connoisseurs claimedTrusted Source that indica and sativa are different species with distinctly different effects on the body. Indica strain smells more acrid, while sativa smells more spicy or sweet.

But it would appear, at least to some experts, that there’s no way to smell the difference between indica and sativa definitively. Part of the reason is that there’s a lot of crossbreeding between these two particular strains.

However, one small studyTrusted Source did find that participants who had purchased weed within the prior several months were able to smell the difference between several different strains of marijuana.

weed smell

Why does weed smell like skunk?

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

Myrcene is in lots of other highly fragrant plants, such as bay leaf, mangoes, hops, and thyme. Different strains of marijuana can contain more or less myrcene.

It’s interesting to note that the sedation and calming faction in many cannabis strains is linkedTrusted Source to the myrcene content of the plant. Marijuana strains that smell more fruity or skunky may have more “couch-lock” effects.

What does hashish smell like?

Hashish is a distilled, highly concentrated form of marijuana product.

It’s made from the compressed resin of the cannabis plant. Hashish smoke smells similar to marijuana smoke — an earthy scent mixed with notes of fires and ash.

What does synthetic weed smell like?

Synthetic weed is produced in a laboratory and mixed with other chemical elements. Chemicals are sprayed on plantlike material that is then distributed to be smoked like weed. It’s sometimes called K2, mamba, or spice.

Synthetic marijuana is not related to the cannabis plant. It’s not regulated, and really could contain any kind of chemical. Because of this, there’s no standardized synthetic weed smell.

weed smell

Why weed smells the way it does

Cannabis is often touted as having a signature scent. Although some believe that indica and sativa plants emit distinctive odors, there’s no hard evidence to support this. According to experts, aromatic terpenes form the basis for the odor profile of cannabis. Terpenes are highly aromatic botanical compounds found in flowers and plants. As many as 140 terpenes have been identified in marijuana, of which 17 are common.

Distinct combinations of terpenes create diverse fragrance profiles that can influence marijuana consumers’ preferences. Some cannabis cultivars contain as many as 66 different terpenes.

How to get rid of marijuana smell?

You already know the basics. Brush your teeth or chew gums to cover up your stinky breath. Change your clothes. Get a shower. Use perfume. This is supposed to remove the odor that stuck on you after smoking. 

Remember that if you are smoking a lot, it will remain in your sweat and body. So, if you are hiding from your non-smoking spouse, watch out. If you want to get rid of the distinctive smell of your sweat the only solution might be to stop smoking for a while. This may not be an issue for occasional smokers, however. 

Smoking outside can certainly help, especially if the weather is sunny. The sun naturally emits UV lights which are good at neutralizing any odor. So, if you get on the sun for half an hour or so as you do your nugs, the smoke should stay away–at least from your clothes and hair. Outside, the marijuana smell will escape in the air, and hopefully, it won’t reach any unwanted, stiff noses. 

If you’re smoking inside, it’s recommended that you ventilate the space. If you are constantly smoking in closed spaces the smell may stay and absorb everywhere, including your furniture. Open your window when smoking or smoke on the window if you don’t ventilate. You can also use air fresheners and odor neutralizers.

You can even experiment with a doob tube, which is made from a paper towel roll, and it’s stuffed with sheets of fabric that are soaked lightly with an odor eliminator from your household cleaning products. Then just use the tube to exhale the weed smoke through the tube. This should contain the skunky earthy smell of weed.

The extraordinary skunky grass odor that comes from smokable cannabis cannot be mistaken for anything else. While you can love and appreciate marijuana smell as much as you want, it pays to be cautious and disguise the smell to avoid trouble.

How to get rid of weed smell in your hair and on your body

If you don’t want your house or apartment to smell like weed, odds are that you don’t want your breath, hair, or body to smell like cannabis either. Fortunately, there are plenty of products available at just about every grocery store to help mask the smell. When it comes to breath, your best options are a pungent chewing gum, possibly something mint-flavored. Alternatively, you can freshen up that breath by brushing your teeth or gargling some mouthwash. Perfume, cologne, and body spray are excellent options, but it’s important to remember that when it comes to both options, a little goes a long way.

What influences the smell of marijuana?

There are several factors that influence the smell of weed. Perhaps the most significant one is the age of the cannabis plant, or more precisely when were the buds collected from the plant.

Weed that has been prematurely collected from the cannabis plant may have a less distinctive skunky odor. When you smoke it, this is also less potent weed. The chances are you are not going to get an ultimate high from smoking ‘young’ cannabis. If you are homegrowing, you might want to wait for the right timing to harvest those colas. When the cannabis plant gets to a certain age, the weed it produces gives a more beautiful high. So, weed from older cannabis plants, dried properly after harvest, will have a stronger odor.

The smell may also differ due to the different strains of marijuana. Cannabis plants contain terpenes, the organic compounds that give the distinctive odor of marijuana. So for instance, cannabis strains with lemon terpenes will give a distinctive lemon-like smell.

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