The pungent aroma coming from your cannabis plants is a sign that your grow is progressing successfully. But have you ever wondered how cannabis gets its distinctive smell? The dominant aroma that comes to mind when most think about weed is a pungent skunk odour. However, with a trained nose and awareness of the myriad aromas that cannabis can produce, you’ll discover the many rich scents coming from your plant.
Discovering cannabis aroma starts with the basics of what gives each strain its unique scents. Then, we’ll explore how different scents can affect your overall experience when consuming, from the taste to the kind of high it delivers.
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Introduction to Terpenes
Aroma is a byproduct of chemical compounds in cannabis known as terpenes (or terps for short). These same properties giving weed its earthy or sweet aromas also contribute to its effects of euphoria or couch lock. Understanding terpenes, the effects they yield, and the aroma produced by them will help identify the unique characteristics that define each strain.
Terpenes exist in all plants and even some animals. They’re part of a plant’s chemical makeup that aids with attracting bugs, repelling bacteria and predators, and other uses. For cannabis plants, they’re more commonly known for creating different smells and, as a result, effects once consumed. There are hundreds of terpenes discovered in cannabis plants; however, we only need to examine a handful of the most common terps to help understand them better:
Myrcene – although this terpene is found in most strains, the main difference is how dominant its presence is compared to other terps. It’s responsible for heavy, earthy notes, similar to what you’ll smell in cloves, thyme, and even beer.
Strains with high concentrations of myrcene typically fall in the indica category with effects of relaxing and sedated effects. Our Green Magic strain is a good example, which has an herbal taste and intense body high.
Limone – one of the most common terpenes in sativa strains that has fresh lemon and citrusy notes. Strains like our Grapefruit Superstar are sativa-dominant with a heavy citrus fragrance and are known for delivering a euphoric high.
Pinene – if the scent of your grow reminds you of walking through a forest, it may be high levels of pinene terps. This terp also has a beta-pinene version, similar in smell and taste to hops and basil.
Strains like Critical Mass Regular make for excellent outdoor grows thanks to the scent blending in with nature. As with other heavy earthy-type scents, it’s an indica-dominant that helps with relaxation and a pleasant body buzz.
Caryophyllene – growers looking to produce strains with a dominating peppery and herbal scent should find plants with high levels of caryophyllene. When consumed, it gives a spice herb flavour, like you’d experience eating pepper and oregano.
AK-OG Kush is a prime example, with a spicy and earthy taste while delivering a heavy indica body effect.
You can learn more about the most popular terps on our terpene profile guide.
Floral vs. Fruity vs. Earthy
With some practice, you’ll soon be able to determine different terpenes in each strain by its scent alone. However, while you’re still developing your sense of smell for cannabis, A great way to categorize aromas is with three categories: floral, fruity, and earthy. Strains with these fragrances tend to have similar terpenes and effects.
Cannabis plants with fresh floral fragrance tones tend to contain a high percentage of linalool or terpinolene terpenes. These terps have a phenomenon of enhancing other cannabis effects. Therefore, the relaxing and pleasant head buzz effects of consuming our Blue Amnesia Haze will have its effects heightened by the linalool present in it. And the cheerful feeling after consuming the Strawberry Glue strain will also be escalated thanks to its terpinolene.
Fruity scents are commonly found in sativa strains. Smelling this aroma signals a heavy presence of myrcene or limonene. These have great tastes and Pineapple Kush, Tangerine G13, and Banana Slush are just a few of our best cannabis fruit strains.
Any strain delivering earthy tones that make you feel like you’re in nature will have concentrations of pinene or humulene. The heavier this aroma, the more Indica-dominant it will be. Popular strains like Chocolato and Dutch Duchess have strong natural scents, but combining them with other terpenes yield unique flavours like chocolate.
Influence of Growing Conditions on Cannabis Aroma
Growers can look forward to the undeniable weed smell during the budding stage, although it can arrive as soon as a few weeks before your plant begins to flower. It’s the first time you’ll be able to start examining your plant for different terpenes present based on the smell they give off.
How and where you grow your plant can significantly impact the smell. Similar to improving the taste, certain conditions can help bring out the full genetics of your seeds for maximum aroma and flavour. For example, implementing a low stress training technique during the flowering stage will help boost the amount of terpenes on your buds. Also, proper curing methods will enhance terpenes for a stronger aroma (and effects).
While you can’t smell a cannabis seed to determine the aroma once it begins producing buds, our genetic details and flavour/aroma provide excellent information on what to expect from each strain. Browse out premium cannabis seeds to find your perfect strain.