A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

smell-cannabis-seedsThe same cannot be said of marijuana, a plant with such a distinctive aroma it could be picked out of a crowd. A nose in the know can recognize the characteristic scent of cannabis smoke from a mile away, but did you know marijuana plants also produce a pungent perfume while they’re growing?

This is need-to-know information for any would-be cannabis gardener, medical marijuana patient or not. Even if you aren’t worried about tipping off the federales, you don’t want to bother your family or neighbors with this strong, often invasive odor.

What Does Marijuana Smell Like?

Unlike the proverbial rose, the scent of marijuana can’t be pinned to one single descriptor; there are over 800 different and unique strains, after all. We can say, however, that marijuana plants get their aroma from a chemical called terpenes which are excreted by resign glands on the surface of the leaves.

Strains like Blueberry, Tangerine Dream, Sour Diesel, and Skunk have been labelled as such because the terpenes found in these plants can also be found in their namesakes.

Terpenes – The Perfume Powerhouse

You can’t get into a discussion about the smell of marijuana without talking about terpenes because they are the literal scent makers, responsible for the unique smell of each cannabis strain. 

Further, medical science has discovered that terpenes can do more than just make your pot smell like fruit: recent research shows that terpenes, in conjunction with cannabinoids, can interact with cannabinoid receptors to hinder or assist the effects of cannabis in the body.

Top 10 Most Common Marijuana Terpenes

  • Myrcene
  • Limonene
  • Pinene
  • Linalool
  • Delta-3-Carene
  • Eucalyptol
  • Beta-Caryophyllene
  • Humulene
  • Borneol
  • Terpineol

Fact: Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene and researchers claim that, depending on its concentration, it can dictate whether a strain will have the sedative effects of indica or the energetic effects of sativa.

Learning about terpenes is all well and good but it doesn’t get to the crux of the issue. We might not be able to drill our description down to a single digestible explanation, but it’s safe to say that, regardless the accompanying notes of the bouquet, we know pot smoke when we smell it. The most common answer? A combination of a skunk’s distinctive spray (hence this being a popular affectionate term) and herbs or fiber like rope when burnt.

Masking the Smell of Marijuana

Realizing that everyone and their grandmother could recognize the smell of pot for what it is, how do you keep the tantalizing scent from wafting out of your grow room, tipping off the wrong people or just stinking up the place?

Here’s where we tell you you’re going to have to invest in a few more pieces of equipment to establish the perfect grow room:

  • Carbon Filter – usually reserved for larger operations because of the price, carbon filters rigged up as part of your exhaust system are arguably the best way to control the smell by neutralizing the smells in the air as they pass through the filter.
  • Odor Neutralizer – like an air-freshener in your bathroom, odor neutralizers basically cover up the smell of marijuana, although your average household air spray won’t cut the mustard. Additionally, you’ll need a solution that’s constantly running, especially when your plants start flowering because the smell will just get stronger from that point, until you’re ready to harvest. Note: Don’t use strong, professional-grade odor neutralizers inside the grow room or tent with your flowering marijuana plants as they can reduce the flavor and smell of your buds over time.
  • Air Purifier – air purifiers are a cheap but not so effective solution to removing some of the marijuana smell from your grow room.

Of course, you can also choose what some would consider low-odor varieties of marijuana seeds, perfect for indoor growing, like Northern Lights or Durban Poison.