What does weed smell like? – Cannabis Media Blog
what does weed smell like

What does weed smell like?

The smell of marijuana is easily distinguishable if you’ve ever been around it. Due to its increased legality, this is an odor you might encounter more often. Before or after it’s smoked, marijuana has a strong musky odor, similar to a skunk, with other herbal undertones. If you have not been exposed to this scent before, there are a few key factors that can help you identify it.

Although medicinal marijuana is legal in many states, federal laws prohibiting all forms of marijuana govern public perception. Consequently, the pungent perfume of this ancient plant continues to carry negative connotations and foster undue societal discernment for the 3.5 million patients who currently rely on medicinal marijuana to manage debilitating conditions.

It’s understandable that many of these individuals are searching for practical ways to mask marijuana odor to avoid unnecessary attention or judgment. In this article, we will cover the regular smell of marijuana and outline how to get rid of marijuana smells from your clothes and home.

what does weed smell like

Cannabis has a huge variety of smells. The ‘skunk’ smell is certainly common, but there’s a whole lot of strains that don’t possess it. Because the cannabis plant produces a large variety of terpenes, many of which are the exact same chemicals that other plants produce, cannabis can smell like a shockingly large range of things. And the smell is often literally the same because it’s the actual same terpene as in something else. So when weed smells like, for example, some kind of citrus fruit, you’re smelling limonene, which is also made by actual citrus fruit.

The more exotic and strange scents come from the specific proportions and combinations of aromatics produced by that given strain.

It’s a huge list, but here are some typical cannabis scent groups: Citrus (lemon being the most common, but orange and a sort of ‘generic citrus’ scent are also common), Red Berry (cherry, strawberry, raspberry), Dark Berry (blueberry, blackberry), Earthy (like rich loam/soil, or sandalwood, or scented rosewood, or even like tobacco – the fresh stuff though, not the chemical-laden weirdness in cigarettes). Chocolate is a thing too although it’s more approximately chocolate-like than literal (that is, it isn’t quite identical to real chocolate, but it’s closer to that than anything else). Pepper, dessert spices, cooking herbs (rosemary and thyme in particular, but basil and others too), mango, pineapple, even cool mint-like overtones, conifer aromas (pine, fir, et cetera)… I could go on for ages and ages. There’s even candy-sugar-sweet and bubblegum-like scents.

What Weed Smell Like in the Bag

Marijuana will smell differently depending on the strain. In general, marijuana in the bag will have a combination of a few scents, such as woody, earthy, musky, citrus, skunk, floral, and/or pine notes with one smell tending to dominate. Often times, marijuana is stored in small airtight containers that dampen the smell significantly. Stinkier marijuana strains include Cat Piss, Space Queen, and Super Skunk. Space Queen is said to smell similar to spoiled dairy, while Cat Piss and Super Skunk are aptly named for their stinkiness.

What the Plant Smell Like

The marijuana plant will vary in scent depending on how mature the plant is. Immature plants tend to smell less, and if stored appropriately, a scent may not even be detectable. More mature plants will have a stronger odor. The plant can smell earthy, floral, or woody and have notes of pine and skunk, depending on the strain. The weather can also influence scent with heat intensifying the odor, so you may notice the smell more on hot days.

What Weed Smell Like when Smoked

During the smoking process, marijuana will smell like the dominant notes in the strain. However, smoking adds some other layers to the odor, including the scents of fire, smoke, and a stronger skunk smell. Some strains have fruity scents, while others tend to be more earthy, musky, and herbaceous. The smell can be strong enough to stink up a room or even an entire house, depending on how much was smoked. If someone is smoking in a car, the scent can penetrate the upholstery and can be difficult to cover or get rid of.

What Weed Smell Like After Being Smoked

Marijuana smells very similar after being smoked as it does during the smoking process. This is especially true if the smoke gets on your clothes, sheets, upholstery, or other fabric sources that tend to absorb smells. Most people note that it smells like the dominant strain notes mixed with a skunky odor. For example, if the strain has a lot of lemon notes, after it has been smoked, it will smell faintly of lemon and skunk.

What Else Smells Like Marijuana?

There are many other living things that can smell like marijuana. The following have the potential to trick your mind into thinking you’re smelling marijuana:

  • Skunk cabbage: This is a wetland plant that can smell like marijuana or rotting flesh during its blooming season. You may encounter it on the woods or on hikes.
  • Skunk: Marijuana can smell skunky, depending on the strain. The skunkiest strains include Chronic, Uncle Andy, and Master Kush. However, skunk generally doesn’t include the undertones of herbs.
  • Hoppy beer: Hops and marijuana may be genetically related, hence the similar scent.
  • Moss phlox: This flower has a smell so similar to marijuana, it triggered a police raid.
  • Spider flower: Many people say this flower smells musky, lemony, and skunky with leaves that resemble marijuana leaves.

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.

What does marijuana smell like at the point of purchase?

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.

Dried marijuana smells a lot stronger than some other dried plants.

Identifying the Smell

Just like anything, some people find the smell pleasant, while others cannot stand the scent that accompanies marijuana. Chances are if you’re smelling something vaguely reminiscent of a skunk mixed with herbs, floral, or citrus notes and without the telltale skunk smell of sulfur, it’s probably marijuana.

What influences the smell of marijuana?

Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant. Just like many other medicinal plants, marijuana produces pungent compounds called terpenes. These odoriferous chemicals serve the biological function of fending off predators and enticing insects for pollination and are behind the intoxicating aroma of marijuana.

Scientists have identified over 100 different terpenes in marijuana. However, different strains contain unique compositions of these terpenes resulting in slight variances between strains. For example, the terpene caryophyllene imparts a spicy, peppery scent reminiscent of cloves, while limonene carries a zesty citrus flavor.

The second-largest factor influencing marijuana odor is the age of the plant when harvested. Cannabis harvested earlier in its growth cycle has a milder scent and is usually less potent in THC content. On the other hand, flowers that are left to mature for longer before harvesting produces a more pungent and potent weed.

How it smells while smoking

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.

When a person is smoking cannabis, notes of lemongrass, pine, fire, and wood may stand out. The distinct “skunk” smell of marijuana is often reported.

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

The smell of marijuana smoke can cling to a person’s hair, skin, and clothing. The “skunk” odor mixes with the scent of fire and smoke, and can also layer (and amplify) the smells of sweat and natural odors people naturally produce.

Some people say the after-smoking scent can take on notes of mustiness or a faintly foul, overly sweet scent.

How to get the smell of marijuana off you after smoking?

Taking a shower and changing your clothes is the most obvious way to rid your body of unwanted odors. But it’s not always possible or convenient, especially when you’re out and about or at work. Make sure you have the following items handy to abolish any lingering smells and purify your hair, breath, body, and clothes.

 Gum, mints, and mouthwash

Stinky breath is a tell-tale sign that you’ve just been puffing the dragon. It’s also an unpleasant smell that’s guaranteed to warrant some unsavory looks from strangers and even your best friends. Do yourself a favor and carry either some gum, mints, or mouthwash in your on-the-go kit.

 Perfume, cologne, deodorant

what does weed smell like

Keeping any kind of body spray in your bag is pretty normal, but it’s essential for a regular cannabis user. Be sure to give your body a decent soaking after smoking and beware that if you smoked in the car with the windows down, then neither cologne nor body spray will mask the stench that has seeped into your clothing and hair.

 Hand lotion and sanitizer

If you’ve just smoked flower, then we guarantee you, your fingers are smelly. Applying a perfumed hand lotion or hand sanitizer over your palms and across your fingertips can help neutralize any suspicious odors.

 Wet wipes

Wiping over your face and hands with a wet wipe can help remove any lingering marijuana odor. It can also be an excellent alternative for a splash of water to freshen yourself after taking too much. Carrying an emergency packet of wet wipes whenever you’re smoking on-the-go.

 Walk outdoors

Many medical marijuana users need regular doses throughout the day to provide sufficient relief for their condition. If you need to smoke between shifts or during your lunch break, allow time to take a walk outdoors and let the fresh air cleanse your hair and clothing.

How to get rid of marijuana smell in the house?

For many, the most convenient, pleasurable, and safe place to smoke cannabis is at home. After all, you can relax on your couch in complete privacy only a few steps away from your fridge and bed. But lingering smells can present a problem, especially when unexpected visitors drop by. Whether you want to keep your habit private or just want to be considerate of your neighbors, implementing these tips can keep your home smelling fresh and cannabis free.

 Keep windows open

First of all, never smoke indoors without opening at least one window. You need to provide the smoke with an exit point. Otherwise, it will permeate your home and settle into your furniture. Likewise, if you’ve just received a call from your grandma who is five minutes away, immediately open every door and window to flush your home with fresh air.

 Incense

Incense has been used for centuries at religious ceremonies and, more recently as a welcoming scent for yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy. It’s also very effective at masking the smell of weed. Incense contains an aromatic blend of spices, herbs, and resins that create a calming fragrance reminiscent of sandalwood and fresh magnolia. The fragrant smoke released from the burning incense sticks can also conceal any remaining cannabis smoke still lingering in the room.

 Scented candles

If you don’t want an Eastern temple vibe in your home, scented candles offer an alternative with a more extensive range of fragrances from fresh and fruity to floral and vanilla. You can also try a pet odor exterminator candle if you need to disguise a particularly pungent strain.

 Air fresheners

what does weed smell like

Air fresheners are a great option for when you need to leave home as unlike candles, there’s no risk of accidentally burning the house down. And these days there’s a wide variety of air fresheners. You can choose from simple spray bottles, diffusers, and air freshener bags to more advanced time-operated mist dispensers, electric fan air fresheners, and gravity cleaning systems. So, when you smoke in the morning, you can come home to a fresh, odor-free home.


Marijuana gives off a distinctly skunky, strong odor. It might be hard to identify at first, but once you’ve smelled or been in contact with it, it’s quite unique.

Marijuana smells slightly different depending on what kind is being smoked and how strong the strain is.

This is a major part of the enjoyment of weed. There are a number of strains that I would gladly smoke even if they were 100% non-intoxicating, simply because they smell and taste amazing.

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