^
Keep Westword Free
4

Ask a Stoner: Why Do Skunks and Weed Smell the Same?

Ask a Stoner: Why Do Skunks and Weed Smell the Same?
Westword

Dear Stoner: Why does weed smell like a skunk? Do the two share a similar chemical that makes them smell the same?
Schnoz

Dear Schnoz: Of all the things that people love to say weed smells like — fruit, pine trees, rubber tires and (especially now) baked goods — “skunk” has to be the most prevalent. Non-tokers always ask if there's a skunk around when I have nugs in my pocket, and parents never seem to get mad after smelling blueberries or Girl Scout Cookies in their teenager's bedroom.

Ask a Stoner: Why Do Skunks and Weed Smell the Same?
iStock/reptiles4all

Although cannabis and a skunk's defensive spray don't contain the same chemicals, we can spot the similar compounds that cause our noses to connect the two. Skunks' bodies produce forms of organic sulfur called thiols, which mix together to form the potent, musky scent so many of us have failed to wash out of clothes or dog hair. Cannabis doesn't have thiols, but it does contain terpenes, the aromatic plant compounds responsible for all of pot's different strain flavors. Myrcene, a common cannabis terpene also found in hops and mangoes, can smell so similar to a Pepé Le Pew love trail that one of the most coveted weed strains is simply called “Skunk.”

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

While not all strains with myrcene smell like skunks, it's a common trait — and one that stoners have grown to love.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.