What Does Marijuana Smell Like at Every Stage

If there’s one thing that’s known about weed, it’s that it has a strong, easily recognizable smell.

One person may love the smell, while another will detest it.

So what does marijuana smell like?

Sometimes it’s a musky scent, and other times it smells earthy and woodsy.

You can buy candles, incense, cologne, room spray, and more that smell like marijuana. This is because the different terpenes in each strain have aroma characteristics that are similar to the terpenes in different essential oils producing odors, such as pine and citrus.

Since it’s becoming more and more legal in the United States of America to use marijuana, either medically or for recreation, you’re going to start smelling it more and more, whether you’re out in public or walking around a hotel.

Below we break down what marijuana smells like in every stage.

It may surprise you to read that it doesn’t smell the same from start to finish.

We’ll also dive into the different marijuana scent groupings and which ones you might prefer.

What Does Marijuana Smell Like

Here are the different smells of marijuana in its different stages:

1. Plant Form

When a marijuana plant is being grown, it’s the least smelly of its lifetime.

The early stages when a plant is beginning to germinate are when you may not even smell anything. As it grows larger and taller, musk will start to form. It may smell like pine or a skunk.

The scent can change based upon the environment the plant is grown in.

When it’s hot and humid, the smell will be stronger than in a cool, dark place.

In the final growing stages, a flower will bloom.

That isn’t like a rose or sunflower, but a marijuana flower.

When the flowers begin to bloom, the scent is the strongest and is a smell that can stay in your memory for days.

2. At a Dispensary

Eventually, the flowers and broken down blooms make their way to a dispensary.

The scent has almost completely changed at this point.

There are a lot of factors that play a role in what it will smell like at the dispensary.

If it’s been sitting on the shelves for a long time, the smell will be a lot less intense, and the weed will become dry.

You also need to consider how much moisture is getting to the plant.

Is it kept in an airtight container like a glass jar? This will keep moisture in plant and buds.

The good weed that’s ready for sale at a dispensary will usually smell very earthy, and often you’ll get whiffs of herbs and woods.

Depending on the strain, it may have a citrus or fruity aroma at the point of purchase.

You can ask the sales associates if you’re looking for a specific smelling strain.

3. When Smoked

Just like when you buy it, different strains have different smells when they’re smoked.

You may get a strain that smells like a skunk, while another may smell like oranges or lemongrass.

You can smell it before smoking, but once heat meets the flower, notes will quickly appear and become stronger.

You also have to keep in mind what you’re smoking out of.

If you’re smoking out of a bowl or bong, you’ll only have the notes coming from the plant itself.

However, if you’re smoking out of a vape or rolling paper, there may be additional smells.

You can buy those products with specific flavors that may also give off a scent when used in a specific way or with a specific device.

Something quite cool about marijuana is that the smoke can smell different than the flower.

The smell can be very strong and tends to stick to everything in the room, which is something to be mindful of when it comes to picking a location to light up.

There are several different ways to get rid of the smell, though.

You can light matches, use patchouli oil, incense, or even smoke in the shower.

It’s best to smoke somewhere that is well ventilated.

Tying a scented dryer sheet over one end of an empty toilet paper roll and blowing the smoke into that can help prevent too much stench.

4. After Smoking

Even if you’ve smoked just once before, you’ll know that it can be smelled on someone who just smoked a joint.

It will cling to just about everything, including your hair and skin.

Have you ever smelled someone who just finished smoking a cigarette? It’s fairly similar to weed.

It’s a skunky and earthy smell that almost resembles a bonfire.

With that said, people will definitely be able to tell it’s weed.

If that’s something you’re concerned about, make sure to spray yourself down with room spray.

If the smell is on your hands, lemon juice is a quick way to remove it.

If you’ve just smoked and don’t want to smell like it, your best bet is to bring a change of clothing.

Since it’s sticking to your clothes, hair, skin, and everywhere else, it’s the easiest thing that you can do, or smoke at the end of the day when you can discard your clothing straight after and jump in the shower.

If you’re planning on doing the change, make sure your change of clothes isn’t in the same space you’re smoking in.

Even if you have them in a bag or storage container, it’s best to keep them in a completely separate area, such as the trunk of your car.

Does Synthetic Weed Smell Different Than Natural?

Even though it’s not legal anymore, many people still smoke synthetic weed.

The street names for it are Mamba or K2.

It’s very dangerous and shouldn’t be consumed by humans or animals.

Unlike marijuana, synthetic weed isn’t naturally grown like a plant or flower would be.

That said, it carries many different notes.

It is made with chemicals and things like rat poison that can give off a putrid smell.

There’s no exact scent you can pin to synthetic marijuana since the people who make it use just about anything they can get their hands on.

Do your best to avoid synthetic weed and don’t smoke it. Stick to what nature has created for you.

It may seem like a good substitute if you don’t have access to natural marijuana, but in reality, K2 can cause irreversible damage to your health. Stick to what nature has created for you and buy natural organic, non-GMO certified weed at a reputable legal business or dispensary and you’ll know you have the best possible marijuana plus a guarantee on quality to back it up.

You never know what synthetic marijuana is truly made out of, so it’s best to steer clear and stay safe

Natural Marijuana Scent Groupings

There are a variety of different scent groupings when it comes to natural marijuana, but we will just look at three common ones.

There are notes that you’ll find in almost every plant, while others you can crossbreed to get something more specific.

When it comes to the most common scents that marijuana has, these three main notes stick out.

Clove From the Myrcene Terpene

Clove is easily the most popular cannabis smell out of all the scents.

It’s musky and smells similarly to skunk and spice.

“Myrcene smell often reminds of earthy, musky notes, resembling cloves. Also, it has a fruity, red grape-like aroma.Cannacon

When a plant has this note, it’s usually relaxing and sedating.

Indicas have high levels of terpene and will give off notes of musky cloves.

Here are some examples:

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OG Kush is a delicious strain to blaze up since many of the fragrances are brought into the flavor. With a touch of residual soreness after you exhale, you’ll find slight traces of spice mixed in with the musky and kushy flavors. Super OG Kush Indica Feminized Strain OG Kush is a potent strain that causes intense euphoria, beginning with a head-high and progressing to a relaxed state that improves mood. Users will be more focused without the mind racing that can occur with high THC strains because this high is much more head-focused than physical. The mixture of an uplifted mood and mental stimulation makes for great discussions.

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The Girl Scout Cookies feminized marijuana seed is the OG Kush’s offspring and the Durban Poison strain. This marijuana strain has genetics components of 60% Sativa-dominant and 40% Indica genetics, with a high THC content level that could reach 25% and the CBD level of 0.2% that offers an extreme mind high followed by a very relaxing body-buzz. This marijuana strain can be an alternative to medical issues due to its soothing effects, helping relieve stress, fatigue, anxiety, and muscle pains. 
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Hawaiin Skunk is an indica-dominant hybrid strain with feminized modifications. It is created through crossing over popular and infamously potent strains, namely, Hawaiian Indica and Skunk #1. Hawaiian Skunk being prevalently indica with a relatively high THC level of 20% and CBD at 1%, is a potent strain worthy for recreational and medical use. It boasts a kind of buzz that is centered on physical stoning but with a dash of euphoria. In addition, what makes this a well-loved strain is its decadent combination of sweet and spicy flavor, with undertones of earth and wood.

Pine from Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene

Another popular smell you’ll get from marijuana plants is pine.

Earthy pine scents are prevalent and can be found in Indicas, Sativas, and blends of both.

“These two cannabis terpenes smell like pine trees and that’s also where they can be found in large amounts. Other plants rich in pinene include rosemary, orange peels, basil, parsley and cannabis of course.” Cannacon

Piney strains can improve memory and keep you attentive.

Here are some examples:

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Created as an homage to the great marijuana activist Jack Herer, the Auto CBD Jack Herer has been developed by its breeders as medical marijuana and has become a practical alternative to synthetic treatments. This medicinal weed is the result of combining an unknown hybrid CBD strain with a Jack Herer Ruderalis, enhancing the CBD content of its parent strain. With its equally balanced THC and CBD levels, the herb is considered an ideal option for a wide array of medical conditions. 
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Get ready to be wrapped by a warm blanket of indica relaxation. With its high THC level and potent indica effect, the Romulan Feminized marijuana is truly a heavy hitter; it will deliver a narcotic-like stone that will have you floating outside the universe. Its effects are long-lasting, but then you will be too high to even notice the time; time really flies when you are having fun. It will only take a few puffs before your mind takes off. Before you know it, you are already deep in your thoughts. The combination of the body and physical buzz is excellent for a cozy nighttime smoke.
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Tangie Cookies Regular strain results from crossing the sweet GSC Thin Mint Cookies and citrusy Tangie strain. This Sativa-dominant strain offers a variety of mental and physical stimulation by relaxing the body. Tangie Cookies has a THC content of around 17-21% that can provide an explosion of euphoric high. The combination of physical and mental high with a unique taste profile made this strain the top choice among medical and recreational users.

Lemon Citrus from Limonene

The last common smell you’ll find in marijuana strains is a lemon scent.

“Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in all cannabis strains, but not all strains necessarily have it. As its name says, limonene gives strains a citrusy smell that resembles lemons, which is no surprise as all citrus fruits contain large amounts of this compound.” Cannacon

Just like you’d expect, strains that have citrus notes to help alleviate low moods and provide an uplifting atmosphere.

Here are some examples:

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Tropicana contains delicious flavors of citrus and sweetness of freshly baked cookies, while it smells like oranges and spices the smell is very strong when lit. It has a THC content that reaches 21.25% and CBD of 0.05%—making Tropicana Cookies deliver lengthy effects when smoked, like enhancing the user’s energy and induces a refreshing feeling that sends a tingling sensation to the whole body making users more joyful and productive. Tropical Cookies fem is also used as a medication for anxiety, depression, and nausea.

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OG Kush is a packed cannabis strain that causes intense euphoria, beginning with a head rush and progressing to a generally mood-enhancing relaxed state. Users should anticipate a more focused state without the possible mind racing associated with high THC strains because this high is more head-focused than physical. These marijuana seeds are ideal for socializing; the mixture of mental stimulation and an uplifted mood makes for excellent chats, intense video game matches, and even some fantastic sex!
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The Agent Orange Feminized marijuana seed is a combination of Jack the Ripper and Orange Velvet strain. It’s a Sativa-dominant hybrid strain with an orange, fiery flavor that offers a potent cocktail with a Sativa effect. Rather than providing a sensual experience, it gives a more vivid and satisfying high, accompanied by a refreshing buzz that relieves all body pain. It’s also revitalizing marijuana that helps with anxiousness and other issues. This marijuana strain is a lighthearted way to medicate without getting intoxicated.

Popular Strains and Their Scents

There are so many different strains of weed, so it can be hard to try them all.

Below you’ll find some of the more popular strains and what notes you’ll find while smoking them.

Keep in mind that these notes aren’t how they smell when first grown or after you’ve smoked, but what they smell like while using them.

  1. Kalimist has a piney and citrus blend of notes. Overall, it’s refreshing and sweet.
Kalimist Feminized Marijuana
  1. Blue Orca reminds us of sour candy. There are notes of blueberries as well.
Blue Orca Autoflowering Marijuana
  1. Northern Lights is a popular strain that has notes of spices and is a bit earthy.
Northern Lights Feminized Marijuana 
  1. Lemon Haze has an overpowering citrus smell. Some compare it to freshly peeled lemons.
Super Lemon Haze Feminized Marijuana 
  1. Orange Bud smells exactly how you think it does, citrusy and similar to orange.
Orange Bud Feminized Marijuana


If you’re still asking “What does marijuana smell like?”, you may not know until you try it yourself.

There are plenty of fun and safe products on the market that have different notes.

Marijuana usually keeps the smell when smoked or vaped.

When you use it in edibles or topical balms, you may not get a strong odor, if anything at all.

Before you go out and buy a cannabis scented candle or bath bomb, make sure you enjoy the musky scented terpenes that it gives off.

Remember to keep a change of clothes handy if needed when smoking or vaping marijuana and you can always squirt a little lemon juice on your fingers to get rid of any unwanted smell.

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