Cannabis plants smell really strong and skunky, which some people like and others don’t. This smell is what makes cannabis stand out. Scientists think they’ve figured out what causes this smell.
They used to think the smell came from different terpenes in the plant. But new research found a different kind of chemical called volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). These chemicals are why cannabis smells skunky, says a study in ACS Omega. This discovery could lead to new research on how these chemicals might help with health.
What did the study find?
Before, scientists weren’t sure which part of the cannabis made it smell skunky. A new study looked at 13 cannabis types and found some VSCs that smell like garlic are responsible for the skunky smell.
They tested a lot of smelly chemicals in cannabis flowers and extracts to figure out where the smell comes from.
Scientists were really interested in VSCs, which are also in skunk spray and smelly plants like garlic and hops.
They found new VSCs, named VSC3 to VSC7, that are similar to the ones in garlic.
Garlic chemicals can be good for you, like helping fight tumors and keeping your heart healthy, says the Journal of Nutrition.
The study suggests that because cannabis and garlic VSCs are similar, cannabis might have similar health benefits.
There’s a strong link between VSC3 and the skunky smell. When VSC3 was there, the smell was stronger, even though the amount of other VSCs varied by type. Some types only had one kind of VSC, but VSC3 was always linked to the skunky smell.
Other Chemicals and the Smell
But it’s not just VSC3 causing the smell. How these chemicals mix together makes the smell complex.
At high levels, VSC3 smelled skunky. But when mixed with the top 10 VSCs, it smelled more like a cannabis flower, not too skunky. Just a little bit of VSC3 changed the smell a lot, making it smell more like cannabis.
Even though VSC3 alone smelled skunky, mixing it with other chemicals made it smell more like cannabis. This shows how different chemicals work together to make the cannabis scent.
The study also found that VSC3 smells go away quickly if you leave it open. This means VSC3 is a big reason cannabis smells the way it does, but other VSCs can change or make the smell stronger.
Another interesting thing they found was that mixing a lot of VSC3 with VSC5, which is common in cannabis extracts, made the skunky smell much stronger. This could be why cannabis oil smells so strong.
Discoveries During Growing
Before the main research, scientists grew cannabis in a greenhouse. They noticed that as the plants got older, the VSCs increased a lot. These chemicals were most strong when the plant was dried and cured, but started to decrease after being stored for a week.
This shows that the smelly chemicals in cannabis are complex. The VSCs explain why cannabis smells the way it does and open up new areas for study, like how these chemicals work and their possible health benefits.
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CBD Products That Don’t Smell When You Use Them
Luckily for us the products we provide do not smell funky! The only time we get that smell is when we are making higher dosage hemp cream topicals, muscle balms and tinctures. Once the product is made the smell is not there.