• Home
  • News
  • Researchers Discover The Real Reason Why Weed Smells Skunky

Researchers Discover The Real Reason Why Weed Smells Skunky

There's a good explanation for why weed often smells like a skunk's spray.

Photo by James Martin / CNET

There’s nothing like cruising through the neighborhood and getting a good old whiff of cannabis, which quite honestly can make our mouths water. But, to non-weed smokers, this smell can be nauseating at times. 

For individuals who aren’t as affiliated with cannabis, it can be difficult to distinguish whether or not that pungent aroma is coming from cannabis or a skunk that just sprayed. A new study recently discovered what causes cannabis to emit a similar smell to a skunk’s spray. 

What’s The Best Way To Consume Cannabis For Sleep?

Read More

Photo by Joe Buglewicz / The New York Times

Interestingly, the compounds that produce the skunk-like smell in cannabis have a lot in common with a skunk’s spray. A team of researchers at California’s Abstrax Tech say that a family of prenylated volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are responsible for this scent.

Similarly, scientists discovered that the cannabis Sativa plant emits over 200 aroma compounds. These studies regarding the smell of cannabis are primarily focused on what’s called terpenoids or terpenes, molecules that contain vast, unique odors like fuel, wood, citrus, or floral. Each particular strain produces different combinations of these terpenes, giving them their individual and recognizable smell.

Although terpenoids contribute to most of the odor in cannabis, the study authors noted that there isn’t enough evidence to prove if terpenoids cause the skunky smell of cannabis. Because a skunk’s spray contains various VSCs, lead study author Iain Oswald and other researchers say these molecules also contribute to the smell of marijuana.

Photo by Shutterstock

The researchers analyzed 13 different cannabis strains using a custom 2D gas chromatography system that contains three different kinds of smell detectors. Following this, a panel of four people ranked the pungency of each cannabis strain on a scale of 0 to 10. Their results found that the most pungent cannabis strain was Bacio Gelato, and it also contained the highest concentration of VSCs. 

In addition, this particular flower strain also contained seven different VSCs. The team also found other VSCs in different cannabis strains. They discovered that five of these VSCs emitted a skunk-like or sulfuric smell. One VSC, in particular, was 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol (or VSC3), which was the most common within the cannabis plants tested.

VSC3 is the same compound scientists have associated with the flavor and aroma of “skunked beer,” or beer that has gone bad after being exposed to UV light. The researchers also found the skunk-like VSC3 in cannabis products like concentrates, so it looks like cannabis is more related to a skunk’s spray than we thought. 

December 06, 2021
Written by BuzzMusic
Save for later
Start saving articles by clicking the heart icon and you'll find them again in your profile page.
Sign up for our newsletter

Weed, Delivered.

Get 20% off premium weed and discover the latest products, news, and deals in cannabis.
December 06, 2021
Written by BuzzMusic
Save for later
Start saving articles by clicking the heart icon and you'll find them again in your profile page.

Jump To Section

    Sign up for our newsletter

    Weed, Delivered.

    Get 20% off premium weed and discover the latest products, news, and deals in cannabis.

    Articles for You

    Where To Eat In Toronto After A Vape Session

    Satisfy your munchies at these Toronto favorites. Created with TOQi.

    Read More

    Stay up to date

    Get the latest in cannabis straight to your inbox.
    Cannabis For You, Near You

    Discover

    Made in Los Angeles and Toronto