All the delightful aromas that can be found within cannabis

Published Nov 23, 2019 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / chriss_ns

Myths surrounding the cannabis plant have circulated for ages, and one of the most repeated is that all marijuana plants give off the same pungent skunky smell. An odor that is distinct, undeniable, and to many, unenjoyable, but that isn’t always the case. In fact, there are many different aroma profiles for the various cannabis strains, most of which are utilized in the making of high-end perfumes, body washes, and health and wellness products.

If that sounds shocking to you, don’t feel bad, as with prohibition came years of silence resulting in very little educational information exchange among regular consumers. Some of the aromas that are produced by growing weed plants or cured buds include mint, rose, and lavender, and those are also the most commonly used scents in the beauty industry.

For some, this might be confusing, which is why it is so important to learn about where the smell of cannabis comes from to understand how there can be so many different flavors and smells to choose from out there. The aroma of any marijuana strain comes from the same place that you might find strong scents in other plant species like fruit trees, and they are called terpenes.

Terpenes and terpenoids

The cannabis plant gets its smell from terpenes that are naturally produced, and the scent each one will make depends on the genetics included in the species. Terpenes are an element that is all around us in nature, and it is believed that most plant species use them as a natural form of defense against predators. However, unlike most other plant species, cannabis can have hundreds of different variations of terpenes, with each one producing a dramatically different smell than the last.

Another good example of this unique ability in nature is with roses that come in an astounding selection of breeds and colors, with each one producing a distinctly different smell, thanks to its terpene profile. Some won’t smell at all, some are sickly sweet, and others are almost pungent and spicy, and though they are all different kinds of roses, they all have unique genetic traits that change their aroma.

So how many different-smelling weed strains are there?

Since we do not currently have an inclusive library of all strains in existence today, there is no way to accurately calculate exactly how many different categories there might be. What we have instead, are human-created labels that help us to recognize some of the most powerful and recognizable aromas that can be seen in weed. Many of which are used by the cannabis industry which includes producers who are growing weed, dispensaries who are selling it, and educational weed strain databases that are designed to educate consumers.

Aromas and flavors

Terpenes are a complicated element that can take a bit of research to understand, but if you take the time to uncover them, then you can go on to use them to enhance your experience with cannabis. Some terpenes are known to keep you awake, while others are better for sedating, and sometimes it is not the effect that matters, but the mouth wearing taste and smell that draws you in. No matter what your preference is, these are the aromas and flavors that can be found in different strains of cannabis:

  • Ammonia
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Berry
  • Blueberry
  • Blue cheese
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Chemical
  • Chestnut
  • Citrus
  • Coffee
  • Diesel
  • Earthy
  • Flowery
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit
  • Honey
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mango
  • Menthol
  • Mint
  • Nutty
  • Orange
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pepper
  • Pine
  • Pineapple
  • Plumb
  • Pungent
  • Rose
  • Sage
  • Skunk
  • Spicy/herbal
  • Strawberry
  • Sweet
  • Tar
  • Tea
  • Tobacco
  • Tree fruit
  • Tropical
  • Vanilla
  • Violet
  • Woody
Some of the most potent smelling weed strains in the world

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