This might seem like a strange question, but it’s actually one of the most common questions people ask when they’re planning to set up a grow room. Live cannabis does have a distinctive smell, and a rich aroma indicates healthy plants and a high-quality product. However, a strong odor can be an issue for anyone who is growing marijuana seeds at home.
If you’re planning to grow marijuana at home, the smell of your growing plants is an important consideration. For one thing, you’ll have to live with it every day, so you need to be sure you can tolerate it. If you’re sensitive to strong odors, the smell of the plants could cause headaches or nausea. Be aware that even one or two plants can fill the air with a strong scent.
Guests and neighbors are likely to notice the smell, too, which can cause embarrassment at best, and at worst, draw unwanted attention to your activities. Thus, before setting up your grow room, it’s important to know what the plants will smell like, what can influence the strength and character of the aroma, and how you can keep a strong smell from permeating your house.
Many people describe the smell of weed as herbal, woody, or skunky. The smell is somewhat similar to skunk spray but without the undertone of sulfur. People have also compared the smell of weed to the smell of skunk cabbage, hops, and moss phlox. Some growers have created strains with more pleasant aromas, adding notes of clove, pine, berry, or lemon to the basic cannabis scent. Some of the best new strains that growers and smokers have been talking about in that regard are Zkittlez and autoflower gelato. As with many odors, the smell of growing marijuana appeals to some people, while others find it offensive.
The scent of marijuana comes mainly from the aromatic oils, known as terpenes, that the plants produce. The scent of almost any plant, flower, or fruit comes from terpenes, and cannabis has an especially high concentration of them. These oils help the plants by attracting pollinators (in the wild) and warding off bugs that would eat the leaves. They also have many medicinal benefits for humans, as well as working with the cannabinoids in the plants to create the positive feelings associated with being high. The following are a few of the most prevalent terpenes found in cannabis plants:
Each strain of cannabis has a unique aroma profile according to the quantities of these and other terpenes. However, the growth stage, the environment, and other factors can also affect what a marijuana plant smells like.
Because the aromatic terpenes are mainly concentrated in the bud and flower, plants in the germination or vegetative stage of their development have little to no smell. Though a faint odor is present during the vegetative stage, it can take anywhere from three to eight weeks for the smell to become noticeable. When the plant enters the flowering stage, however, the scent can become very strong. This stage lasts from three weeks to four months or more, depending on the strain. The plants smell the strongest at the tail end of the flower season, during harvest, and during the drying and curing process.
The growing conditions can have a significant effect on the plant’s aroma. In general, a hotter and more humid growing room will produce more aromatic plants. Though heat and humidity are good for plants, an overpowering scent might be an indication that you need to provide more air circulation in the grow room with fans and ventilation.
It’s also important to pay attention if you start to smell mold or mildew. Mold thrives in humid conditions, and if it starts to grow on the leaves of the plants, it can destroy the buds and flowers and present a health risk to humans. A dehumidifier can help to reduce moisture in the air, and pruning the plants can also help to increase airflow around the leaves.
Besides growth stage and growing conditions, a few other factors can affect the smell of the plants. One of these is the nutrients the plants take in. Natural supplements and plant foods can enhance the flavor and aroma of the plant. Bear in mind that once plants enter the flowering stage, they need fewer nutrients. Giving too much nitrogen in the late flowering stage could cause the plants to develop an unpleasant chemical smell.
The spectrum of light a plant receives can also affect its aroma. Cannabis plants do well with full-spectrum light that can be adjusted at different stages of development. A light beyond the visible spectrum, known as UV-Blue/Violet or UV-B, helps to increase the production of trichomes, the hair-like structures on the buds and flowers. Because trichomes contain high concentrations of terpenes, they have a significant effect on the smell of the whole plant.
Another factor is plant genetics. Some strains of cannabis are naturally more aromatic than others, and some have been intentionally bred to produce a certain smell. Indica strains, for example, tend to have an earthy smell that blends both sweet and sour aromas. Sativa strains tend to be sweeter, with notes of grass and fruit. When you buy seeds, it’s a good idea to talk to the seller about the odor the plants are likely to produce.
Because the smell of live plants can be so strong, some prospective growers wonder if smelling the plant can have the same effect as smoking it. The answer is a definitive no. THC, the chemical that causes the high, has to be activated by heat. When you smell the plants, you are taking in properties of the plant oils, which might make you feel calm or relaxed, but the smell will not get you high.
While a rich aroma is often the sign of high-quality flower, the smell of the growing
skunk weed plants may seem overpowering. There are some products and techniques that can help to minimize the smell, but first, make sure that you are controlling the growing conditions precisely. The room temperature, humidity levels, air circulation, and light quality should all be managed so that the plant is not placed under stress.
If the growing conditions are perfect, but the smell is still too strong, there are some products you can use to mask the odor or clear it from the air. Air freshening gels and sprays work by masking odors and over-riding them with another scent, but they are not recommended because the plants can absorb the artificial perfume. A safer masking strategy is to grow other aromatic plants, such as lavender, lemon balm, or eucalyptus. An air filter is a more advanced solution, and it clears odor by removing particles from the air. Many growers recommend carbon filters for this purpose.
Once you harvest your marijuana, you’ll need to cure it. Curing is a lengthy process of extracting moisture from the flowers, and it can take anywhere from two to six months, depending on the strain. Curing is necessary for maintaining the quality of the flower. If plants are dried too fast, terpenes and cannabinoids degrade too quickly. However, marijuana is at its most pungent during the curing process.
Fortunately, it’s easy to hide the smell of curing flowers by placing them in an air-tight container. Growers recommend bags or containers that can be vacuum-sealed to remove as much air as possible. Curing marijuana in a mason jar is another effective way to minimize the smell.
Whether you love or hate the smell of marijuana plants, it’s an issue you’ll need to deal with as a grower. Your goal is to grow healthy plants with a natural, rich aroma, but to do so in a way that protects you and your home environment. The best approach is to make sure your plants have the nutrients they need along with the right amounts of light, heat, and humidity and then use air filters and a good ventilation system to control the smell.