What Does Weed Smell Like?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on August 19, 2023

The smell of weed is skunky, earthy, or fruity depending on a number of factors such as the strain of marijuana, the organic compounds involved, and the method in which marijuana is smoked.

Weed, or marijuana, gives off a distinct smell such as a fruity or skunky odor. Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant and is a Schedule I controlled substance. It is available as edibles, concentrates, and dried flowers.

The marijuana plant contains concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This plant contains psychoactive properties and is available in different strains. 

Each plant may have different strains of weed which smell differently from others. The cannabis flower is available in different strains depending on the type of marijuana you receive such as medical marijuana or marijuana from a grower.

Because of this, the smell of weed can vary.

The Smell Of Marijuana

The smell of weed can be vastly different from one another depending on a number of factors. Some of the common odors associated with cannabis smell include:

  • skunky smell
  • fruity smell
  • pungent smell
  • earthy
  • lemongrass
  • thyme
  • citrus
  • flowery
  • pine
  • musky

Marijuana may have undertones of herbal, woody, and even stinky smells as well.

What Causes The Smell Of Weed?

When it comes to the smell of weed and marijuana smoke, there are a number of reasons why the smells can be drastically different.

Different Strains Of Marijuana

When the marijuana plant is grown, growers may have various strains of cannabis. The common strains, cannabis indica and cannabis sativa, create different smells.

For instance, the indica strains can smell more natural or earthy while the sativa strains may have a fruity or sweet smell. Some growers combine the two strains which may create a combination of smells ranging from musky to sweet and many smells in-between.

Organic Compounds

Specific organic compounds, also known as terpenes, are found in the marijuana plant, potentially causing a variety of cannabis scents. While common terpenes can be found in all plants, the different terpenes in cannabis include:

  • limonene (lemon)
  • pinene (pine)
  • myrcene (mango)
  • caryophyllene (black pepper)
  • linalool (lavender)

Myrcene may create a skunk smell while limonene may smell similar to citrus. Pinene may smell like pine or herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

One of the many reasons why the marijuana plant may have such drastically different smells is due to these terpenes. While the primary compounds of marijuana include cannabinoids, terpenes are responsible for the potential smells associated with the certain strain of weed.


Vaping CBD oil is an alternative to smoking weed from a bong or rolling the dried marijuana leaves into a blunt. Certain vape pens allow you to select from a choice of flavors.

With vaping becoming more mainstream due to the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in various states across the country, the smell of weed can begin to differ due to the various flavors a person can choose from.

If you or a loved one live with marijuana addiction, contact us today to learn how we can help.

  1. Environmental Health Perspectives https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9236214/
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/cannabis-marijuana
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/marijuana.html
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000796.htm
  5. PLoS One https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684335/
  6. PLoS One https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5798829/

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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