What Does Marijuana Smell Like?

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Marijuana, also known as cannabis or weed, is a debated subject. Whether used for medicinal purposes or recreational enjoyment, one of the characteristics of marijuana is its distinct smell. The fragrance of marijuana can vary depending on the strain and how it is consumed. In this article, we will explore what marijuana smells like and discuss some descriptions associated with its aroma.


Understanding the Aromas

Earthy and Herbal

Many strains of marijuana have a scent of freshly turned soil or a damp forest floor. This aroma can be attributed to compounds called terpenes found in the plant. There is often an herbal undertone present that reminds one of the fragrances found in spices, like basil, sage, or oregano.

Pine and Citrus

Some strains possess scents accompanied by subtle hints of lemon or orange. These strains tend to contain terpenes such as pinene and limonene. The fragrance may evoke images of strolling through a forest with a pleasant combination of woody and citrus notes.


The skunky smell of marijuana is loved by cannabis enthusiasts, but it can be a bit divisive for others. When marijuana strains have concentrations of mercaptan, they can have a strong and potent smell. While the odor may remind some people of skunks, it also carries notes that range from muskiness to hints of fruitiness.


In some strains or Sativa-dominant varieties, you might come across floral aromas along with sweet fragrances resembling ripe fruits or flowers like lavender or chamomile.


The Factors That Influence the Smell


The smell of marijuana is ultimately determined by compounds called terpenes, which are also found in other plants. These aromatic compounds not only create scents but can also contribute to the overall effects and experiences associated with consuming specific strains.

Nutrients and Care

The aroma and flavor of marijuana can be influenced by factors such as the nutrients used during cultivation. Like certain fruits or vegetables absorb flavors from fertilizers, cannabis can inherit characteristics from the nutrients provided during growth.

Growing Conditions

Besides profiles, external elements, like temperature, humidity, light exposure, and air circulation, play a role in determining the aromatic properties of cannabis plants.

Drying and Curing Process

Properly drying and curing harvested flowers is crucial for preserving their aroma.

Employing correct techniques helps to retain terpenes while minimizing any scents, such as hay or grassiness, that are often associated with cured marijuana.


Understanding Terpene Profiles


Myrcene is one of the terpenes found in marijuana and contributes to the earthy and herbal aromas commonly associated with cannabis. It carries a musky fragrance of cloves or hops and can also be found in other plants like mangoes. Strains high in myrcene often induce a more sedative effect.


As the name suggests, limonene emits a citrusy aroma similar to lemons or oranges.

This terpene is known for its mood-uplifting properties and can be found in strains that provide an energizing experience.

Factors Impacting Scent Intensity

Strain Genetics

Different marijuana strains exhibit varying levels of fragrance intensity. Some strains may possess mild aromas, while others emanate stronger and more potent scents. Understanding the genetics and characteristics of a strain can provide insights into what kind of smell to anticipate.

Bud Age

The age of marijuana buds can significantly influence their aroma. Harvested buds usually have a grassy scent, which tends to mellow out and become more aromatic as they dry and undergo curing.


The unmistakable scent of marijuana becomes familiar once you become acquainted with its profiles and the factors that affect its intensity. Each strain has its olfactory signature, ranging from earthy and herbal notes to piney citrus undertones or skunky pungency. Armed with this newfound knowledge, exploring strains becomes an adventure in discovering fragrances and effects. Whether you’re an enthusiast or simply curious about this smell, you now have some insight into what marijuana smells like. This olfactory journey not only enhances your appreciation for the plant’s diversity but also allows you to make more informed choices based on your preferences and desired effects.

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