What Does Marijuana Smell Like?

what does marijuana smell like

How can you tell what marijuana smells like?

Before and after smoking, marijuana has a strong, musky, skunk-like odor with other herbal undertones. 

There are a few key factors that can help you identify it. 

The common terpene, myrcene or other abundant terpenes like beta-caryophyllene are best known for creating the plant’s unique scents.

These range from an earthy smell to citrusy and sweet, depending on the strain.

Seasoned cannabis users can even distinguish between the distinct smells of particular strains.

What Does Marijuana Smell Mean?

Modern researchers suspect that volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) in cannabis plants may be responsible for the smell of weed.

They are normally associated with pungent odors in other plants such as hops, durian, and garlic!

These strong smelling compounds contribute to garlic’s aroma, flavor, and are now also linked to potential energizing health benefits in Cannabis Sativa.

The health benefits of garlic include anti-cancer medicinal properties, protection against colon cancer, and better cardiovascular health.

It is unclear whether the VSCs in potent weed strains provide similar health benefits.

But we do know that there are many touted benefits of medical marijuana.

Is the smell of weed bad for you?

There is little evidence showing that there may be potential health risks associated with the smell of Cannabis on its own. 

The inhalation of Cannabis smoke has been linked to asthma and throat/mouth cancer but the aroma of weed poses no threat.

What Does Marijuana Smell Like In The Bag?

Your senses interpret the smell of marijuana in different ways depending on the strain. 

Before being burnt the smell is far more aromatic.

The scent of cannabis has been described as woody, earthy, musky, citrus, floral, pine notes.

The sulfuric aromas can really be picked up when you have a potent high THC strain.

Marijuana is often stored in a small, airtight container that significantly reduces the strong smell

This makes it much less detectable when transporting it.

The smelliest cannabis strains include Cat Piss, Space Queen, Sour Diesel, and Super Skunk. 

Space Queen smells like spoiled dairy while Cat Piss and Super Skunk are aptly named for their stench.

The scent of cannabis has been described as woody, earthy, musky, citrus, floral, pine notes. The sulfuric aromas can really be picked up when you have a potent high THC strain

How Does The Marijuana Plant Smell?

The smell of the marijuana plant will vary depending on how mature the flowers of the cannabis plant are. 

Immature plants have less odor, and with proper storage, a foul odor may not even be noticeable. 

Mature plants have a more pungent odor and develop their own unique smell

The weather can also affect the unique scent, as heat increases the marijuana smell, so you may notice a more pungent smell on hot days.

What Does Marijuana Smell Like When Smoked?

In the smell of marijuana smoke, the dominant notes of the strain become more prevalent. 

Some Indica strains from California’s Abstrax Tech have fruity aromas, while others are more earthy, musky, and grassy. 

Depending on how much has been smoked, the strong odor can cover a room or entire house very quickly.

When someone smokes in a car without fresh air, the cannabis smell can permeate the upholstery and be difficult to mask or remove.

Even after air fresheners have been applied, the stronger odor of cannabis can be hard to budge.

After a while the smoke can become stale and you begin to understand why they call it skunk!

How Does Marijuana Smell After Smoking?

Marijuana smells very similar after smoking, as it does during the smoking process. 

This is especially true if cannabis smoke comes into contact with your clothing and related sources that absorb odors.

Most people find synthetic weed smells like the notes of the dominant strain mixed with the usual distinctive smell of skunk.

What Else Smells Like Marijuana?

If we think of VSC’s as the probable cause of the typical weed smell then it’s easier to find comparisons in nature. 

The following things can trick your mind into thinking you can smell marijuana:


Depending on the strain, marijuana strains smell pretty skunky. 

These different strains of marijuana like Chronic, Uncle Andy, and OG kush smell especially skunky. 

However, the skunk smell lacks the subtle herbal undertones that marijuana does.

Moss Phlox

This flower smells so similar to marijuana that it has actually prompted police raids in the flowering stage of its growth.

Hops Beer

Hops and marijuana may be genetically related, hence the similar marijuana odor

You’ve probably found that when cracking open a bottle of Corona that the smell hits you like the smell of weed.

This ‘skunky’ smell is caused by a chemical reaction between compounds in the beer and the sun.

Spider Flower

Many people say this flower smells like musk, citrus, and skunk, with dried leaves that resemble marijuana.

How Does The Age Of The Cannabis Plant Affect The Smell?

Researchers also confirmed what many regular cannabis users or marijuana growers probably already know: 

Weather and UV light can affect the intensity of cannabis odor

This is why many home growers have made use of a carbon filter when trying to disguise the smell.

The smell of cannabis is also proven to diminish over time according to a four-person research panel.

Cannabis tested four days post-pack had almost three times higher VSC concentration than Cannabis tested 46 days post-pack.

These smell study authors also measured common VSC concentrations in Cannabis during and after the growing process

The small study did not detect VSC until the 7th week of growth.

However the VSCs increased rapidly after that point. 

After the 10th week of growth, when the cannabis flowers, which create essential oils, appeared, the scientists cut, cured, and dried the Cannabis for 11 days. 

VSC concentration and skunk odor strength were significantly reduced 10 days after the curing process, showing how the cannabis odor weakens over time.

What Does Marijuana Smell Like? The Bottom Line

To sum things up, the smell of marijuana can vary a lot depending on the strain and stage of its growth.

Some people find the skunky weed smell pleasant, while others can’t stand the weed odor.  

If you smell something vaguely reminiscent of a skunk spray mixed with herbal, floral, or citrus notes then it’s probably marijuana.

Either that or check your porch for wild animals!