Do Marijuana plants smell


Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. Cannabis has psychoactive and medicinal properties because of its chemical makeup.

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.

In many states, the sale and use of marijuana without a prescription is still illegal.

You can usually tell if someone has been smoking marijuana by detecting the scent of piney, slightly skunky grass that smoked cannabis leaves behind.

But figuring out for sure if what you’re smelling is weed can be a little difficult if you aren’t attuned to the scent. Various strains of marijuana can smell different from each other, making it even more complicated.

This article will cover what marijuana smells like in different stages of its use and consumption, as well as some differences between strains.

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.

he smell of strong cannabis is a love/hate thing and as a grower, you might be wondering when your plants will start smelling so you can prevent it from reaching unwelcoming nostrils. This article was written to show how to look for those tell tale signs that your cannabis plants are about to explode with flavour.

do marijuana plants smell

What does a cannabis plant smell like?

As weed becomes more popular across the world, recognizing that distinct skunky smell floating through the air is quite a common occurrence. Cannabis comes in all kinds of flavours, all with their own unique smell. From lemon to pine, to lavender and black pepper, there are some distinct aromas which can be found present in all sorts of strains of cannabis. 

Anyone who likes cannabis will know that the smell is one of its most attractive features. Cannabis plants produce a delicious blend of pungent flavours that are impossible to miss, and will leave you looking forward to harvest day even more. 

Why does cannabis smell?

A cannabis plant’s smell changes as it grows. When plants are very small they do not give off a smell but most people know this does not last for long. Once a cannabis plant is fully grown its smell can be overwhelming to even the most experienced grower.

But, where does the smell come from? The potent odor being released by your plants is created by various components in the terpene oils that are developing in the trichomes of the plant.

The following terpenes are those most commonly found in cannabis and are responsible for their irresistible aroma.

  • Myrcene 
  • Limonene 
  • Linalool
  • Beta-caryophyllene 
  • Pinene 

These terpenes can often be found in other plants as well. Limonene, for example is also found in lemons, as the name suggests. These terpenes also come with a number of medicinal and therapeutic benefits.

Cannabis smells and flavours have been described in many ways. Most cannabis strains smell entirely different to one another because of the different levels of certain terpenes present in the plant. Myrcene is predominantly what gives cannabis it’s strong earthy smell but the intensity of other terpenes is what makes weed smell more lemony, piney or floral, amongst others.


Cannabis plants start to smell during the vegetative cycle. The leaves of the plant do have a scent but it is not the same as the smell that comes from the flowers. It sounds quite obvious spelling it out, but weed leaves smell much more weedy and flowers smell much more floral.

Don’t expect your plants to smell like dank weed as soon as they break the surface of the soil. The first signs will come after week 3 of vegging, depending on the strain.You can learn what weedy means by putting your nose close to the plant and giving it a good whiff. Rubbing a leaf in between your fingers will also release it’s scent and you can instantly notice that classic weed leaf smell.

As a plant begins to develop it’s preflowers around the internodes after a few weeks of flowering, the smell will become much more fragrant. It still won’t be nearly as potent as later on during flower, but you should notice some hints from these small preflowers.

If you do pick up on any unusual, strong smells during the vegging stage it could mean you have an underlying problem somewhere. Environmental inconsistencies such as high humidity can cause problems such as mold or rot, which will not produce a nice smell.

Related storyHow To Grow Cannabis With Screen Of Green (ScrOG)

Look out for odd smells during flowering as well. These can be slightly easier to miss as the bad odor could be masked under the smell of the buds.

Note: You may notice smells more strongly in the morning or during hot hours of the day when there is increased enzyme activity in the plant. 

do marijuana plants smell


As a cannabis plant develops its flowers, the smell will start to get stronger and stronger. After around 2 weeks into their flowering cycle, they have a noticeable aroma which will intensify as buds start to grow.

Part of the flowering process is the development of trichomes, which can be found growing on and around bud sites. When more of these grow as a plant reaches the peak of it’s flowering stage, the flowers will be at their most pungent.

1 thought on “Do Marijuana plants smell”

  1. Patrick Giroux

    Cannabis contains a class of chemicals called terpenes. The spelling might not be correct so please look it up. Anyway, cannabis has around 140/150 types of the said class and that causes the smell.

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