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skunk smell weed

The variety of smells found in cannabis are largely produced by terpenes, a class of aromatic chemicals found in many plants and even some insects. More than 20,000 different terpenes have been identified, making them the largest category of plant compounds discovered. At least 200 different terps have been found in cannabis, although only a handful are the most dominant.

Some less common terpenes, however, give off the odor of a different class of chemicals known as thiols. These compounds have a sulfurous smell that can be reminiscent of rotten eggs, fuel, or even farts. Thiols are also responsible for the unique and very recognizable stench of skunk spray, a defense mechanism that can help keep the animal safe from predators. Strains of cannabis with terpenes that have an aroma similar to these thiols are often referred to as skunky or skunk weed.
Cannabis flower has more unique scents than the rainbow has colors. But why does weed sometimes smell like a skunk?

Gallery — Cannabis Up-Close and Personal:
Terpenes Are the Key
Strains of Skunk Weed
Other Meanings of Skunk Weed
Pinene can give pot a pine-like fragrance, while caryophyllene is peppery. Limonene has a citrusy scent and terpinolene is fruity. Myrcene, the most prevalent cannabis terpene, is earthy or musky, a trait that is partly responsible for the skunky funk of some strains.

There are many strains of cannabis that express the skunky smell of these terpenes. Skunk weed varietals got their start in the 1970s with the introduction of Skunk #1 by Sacred Seeds, a group of breeders in Northern California led by David Watson, also known as Sam the Skunkman. Skunk #1 is a cross of short, bushy Pakistani and Afghani varietals cultivated for hash, and tropical strains from Asia and South and Central America.

Cannabis flower has more unique scents than the rainbow has colors. But why does weed sometimes smell like a skunk?

Skunk smell weed

Marijuana consumers describe the scent of the plant as earthy, herbal, and woody. Sometimes the plant scent carries notes of lemon, apple, diesel, or plum.

You can usually tell if someone has been smoking marijuana by detecting the scent of piney, slightly skunky grass that smoked cannabis leaves behind.
Dried marijuana smells a lot stronger than some other dried plants.

Terpenes change the scent of marijuana. For example, cannabis strains with pinene will smell more like pine.
It’s also less powerful when you smoke it. Cannabis that grows older before it’s picked and dried will have a stronger odor.
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.
However, one small study 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.
When you’re smoking marijuana, the natural scent of the cannabis scent is amplified by the smoke it creates. Fire, smoke itself, ash, and the smell of rolling paper add additional layers to the scent.

Marijuana can be rolled up in a handmade cigarette (a joint), in a cigar, or in a pipe (a bong). It can be used for pain relief, to treat anxiety, or for recreation.

Learn about what gives marijuana its distinctly "skunky," strong odor, and how marijuana smells in plant form, when it's smoked, and more.