• 4 months ago

Top 3 Reasons Why Cannabis Smells Like Skunk

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Top Reasons Why Cannabis Smells Like Skunk

As a kid, I always loved the smell of a skunk’s funk 😆  No wonder – I turned out to be an adult that loves to dab into some dank and I can guarantee you, I’ve been mistaken for smelling like a skunk many times, many times before. 

I’ve also been in a position where I couldn’t distinguish if the smell was coming from my backyard expecting a skunk to pop-out, but it turned out it was a bunch of teens experimenting their night away with cannabis! 


There’s been a moment in life where I started to panic because I had no clue if my dog got sprayed by a skunk, or ate all of my cannabis stash..


After these incidents kept happening to me on a weekly basis, I started to wonder, why the heck are these two smells so similar!? 


How do they correlate? Do skunks eat so much weed that they emit this type of smell? 

And even at times, you gotta really whiff it out to get the correct smell. 


Turns out, scientists have also been trying to solve this dilemma! And they have finally sniffed out why there are similar molecules behind marijuana smelling skunky funky.

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Science Figures Out the Funk! On why cannabis smells like skunk...

The stinky culprits in both substances belong to a family of prenylated volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), a subset of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to a 2021 study published in the journal ACS Omega.


We suspected that sulfur-containing compounds were the origins of this aroma, just based on chemical intuition as chemists," study lead author Iain Oswald, an analytical chemist at Abstrax Tech, a company that develops aromatic compounds known as terpenes in Tustin, California, told Live Science. After all, "skunks have a bunch of VOCs in their aerosol spray," so perhaps cannabis has similar properties, the team suspected.  


Keeping it short and simple, the compounds that make the smell come from terpenes. You can find them on plant’s trichomes.  

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  • Trichomes, the epidermal outgrowths covering most aerial plant tissues, are found in a very large number of plant species and are composed of single-cell or multicellular structures.

These terpene components are called myrcene.


Myrcene can be found in a lot of other highly pungent compounds that emit a variety of aromo. As stated earlier, pine trees, bay lay leafs, mangoes, hope and even thyme have these properties. 


Marijuana strains that smell more skunky may have more “couch-lock” effect and usually are associated with the indica strain.

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Don't Assume All Cannabis Smells Like Skunk!


There are over 200 known compounds that are associated with marijuana’s scent. Just like other plants and organisms, terpenes can be found for instance in pine trees. 


This is what makes them special, as they play a huge biological role in order to nourish and protect the plant while it’s inhabiting. By having certain smells, it repels against harmful predators or rather attracts its mate from the smell it produces. 


If you start uncovering further on marijuana, you’ll understand that weed doesn’t always stink like skunk, as some strains of bud can have a woody smell. 



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Eventually, when you start discovering deeper facts about marijuana – you’ll realize that some users are able to distinguish between different strains of smells. 

There are two main classes of marijuana, known as; sativa and indica and they both produce different smells!

Indica is known to smell more like a mellow high and has more of that skunk smell. 

However, strain of sativa is known to be more exciting and less musky – emitting smells such as sweet and herbal. 

Other Factors That Affect the Funk!

 Another study found that the age of cannabis plants has a huge effect on the way it emits the smells. This can actually be applied to real life scenarios – like a newborn baby that holds its own properties of delicate smells.

Cannabis that is harvested earlier in its life-cycle also has a less of a pungent skunk smell and to be honest, it’s also less powerful, so spare those babies and wait till it really starts stanking the environment to get the ultimate high. 


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.


Strains For Piney Terpenes
Why does weed smell like skunk funk?


How it’s Packaged


The type of packaging may help obscure the scent of weed — but it has to be the right type of packaging. Researchers speculate the airtight container locked in is better than samples contained in standard zipper-lock plastic bags.


So, remember the skunkier the cannabis the better the high 😉


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