Why Does Cannabis Smell Skunky?

why does weed smell skunky

Researchers say answer could unlock health benefits 

Have you ever noticed some cannabis strains have this peculiar skunky weed smell and wondered what causes it? The cannabis plant family has a baffling range of scents that vary from “fuel-like smell, wood, and citrusy aroma, the notorious skunky smell and a whole gamut of more than 200 aroma compounds or terpenes in between. Scientists are still grappling with this smell phenomenon in cannabis, and the search for answers is laborious and slow due to legal constraints on the product. However, is there a possibility that peculiar aroma compounds in cannabis are a pointer to medicinal properties with health benefits such as those found in garlic?

A common molecular structure

Volatile Sulphur compounds weave the common thread that straps together these strange bedfellows; cannabis, garlic, and the actual animal – the skunk in the shared odorous company. Skunky weed strains smell like the skunk’s aerosol fart, and If this is your favorite cannabis, consider using Grip n Pull child-resistant bags when traveling to minimize the skunky smell that may offend others. The culprit is in the common molecular structure of the pungent smells from the three sources and is the basis for research into any other shared properties of interest. 

Volatile sulfur compounds in skunky weed, when examined by scientists, were found to contain a similar molecular structure to those found in garlic. These same shared compounds are responsible for the medicinal properties now associated with garlic in managing inflammation, bacteria, viruses, and cancer in patients. The researchers are keen to unlock the cannabis VSCs to understand if they also contain cardiovascular properties and a possibility of countering carcinogens in humans, especially since these VSCs are similar to triallyl disulfide and diallyl disulfide found in garlic.

Further chemical analysis also revealed a new cluster of secondary metabolites that scientists intend to examine to map biosynthetic pathways and possible weed health benefits. The thrust of this scientific research is to establish a correlation between the skunk cannabis’ VSCs and those of the garlic to confirm if both can be used the same way in health conditions. Users of skunk cannabis also report instant mood elevation, peace, and a relaxed disposition that could be investigated further for possibilities in acute stress management – something that garlic does not provide.

Terpenes and the entourage effect

Terpenes are the phytochemical molecules that give any strain of cannabis, including the skunky weed, its distinctive aroma. Limonene, linalool, myrcene, terpineol, and caryophyllene are a few of the aromatic molecules found in cannabis that help users in distinguishing their preferred strains. These molecules are delicate and may reduce in intensity over long periods of open storage denying your favorite cannabis its captivating aroma. Use Mylar-grade Barrier Bags for flower packaging to protect the potency, prevent leakage, and seal in the freshness of the cannabis products to enhance and retain quality. 

Another set of naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis includes tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), and several more that react with receptors in the human central nervous system with varied results. These cannabinoids work in concert with terpenes to provide medicinal and recreational effects to the users of the cannabis herb, including the skunky weed strains. The aromatic compound caryophyllene has antidepressant, analgesic, and anti-carcinogenic effects on the human body, while myrcene contains anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, analgesic, and sedative effects on users while the concentration of terpenes enhances the weed quality.

However, there is another role terpenes play in cannabis aside from the medicinal properties and weed health benefits that is crucial in the industry. Terpenes provide the individual scents peculiar to each strain that help in identifying one from the other and are especially useful for buyers. Packaged weed may look the same to a buyer and unless they can smell their favorite cannabis strain, a dishonest dealer can pass off inferior weed as of a higher grade. Unless you identify your weed, you risk buying the wrong strain and suffering undesirable effects later upon use.

You will know the quality of your weed by its smell and this reflects in the concentration of terpenes in the cannabis and the conditions of production. Cannabis comes in three grades, namely, low, medium, and premium quality buds, and the grading depends on the conditions of production and the skill of the breeder. The skunky weed strains with a strong, pungent smell are top-shelf premium-quality containing a higher concentration and complex network of terpenes attained through special breeding and skilled farming that sets the strain above the rest. 

As much as the skunky weed smell is a mark of quality, it could cause discomfort to others within the same environment the user is in. So, how do you deal with the skunky nuisance every time your neighbor fires up their favorite pot? There are several products you can use to block the smell and enjoy the clean, fresh air as your neighbor indulges in their skunky aromatic bliss without offending each other. Consider activated carbon and charcoal filters such as SmellRid placed around the house or close to the entry point to soak up the smell before it pervades your space.

 A good spoof like Sploofy can also do the trick for the user, or a draft stopper under your door should offer a sufficient shield against the offending smell. You may also shut windows on your neighbor’s side while opening those on the opposite side to bring in the fresh air in the absence of alternative appliances. Avoid using air fresheners as they degrade the quality of air in the apartment with more chemical contamination. Skunky weed health benefits may be alright for the user, but a nauseating intrusion on neighbors and care must be taken to exercise social consideration.  

A special candle for the purpose, the Cannabolish smoke odors eliminating candle, lit some minutes before the smoking session, is effective against skunky smells. Equally effective are the odor-absorbing gels placed in front of your vents to soak in both weed and other unrelated smells from the room. 

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