herbs that smell like weed

The Fragrance of Marijuana Before and After Consumption

Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant. Cannabis has psychoactive and medicinal properties because of its chemical makeup.

Marijuana can be rolled up in a handmade cigarette (a joint), in a cigar, or in a pipe (a bong). It can be used for pain relief, to treat anxiety, or for recreation.

In many states, the sale and use of marijuana without a prescription is still illegal.

You can usually tell if someone has been smoking marijuana by detecting the scent of piney, slightly skunky grass that smoked cannabis leaves behind.

But figuring out for sure if what you’re smelling is weed can be a little difficult if you aren’t attuned to the scent. Various strains of marijuana can smell different from each other, making it even more complicated.

This article will cover what marijuana smells like in different stages of its use and consumption, as well as some differences between strains.

The strongest factor in the way marijuana smells is the age of the cannabis plant when it’s harvested. Cannabis that’s harvested earlier in its life cycles has a milder, less skunky scent.

It’s also less powerful when you smoke it. Cannabis that grows older before it’s picked and dried will have a stronger odor.

Organic compounds called terpenes are found in all plants, including cannabis. Myrcene (mango), pinene (pine), and limonene (lemon) are terpenes found in some strains of cannabis.

Terpenes change the scent of marijuana. For example, cannabis strains with pinene will smell more like pine.

Marijuana plants smell similar during the growing process and when they’re harvested and dried. They give off a slightly weedy, piney “skunk” scent that gets stronger as the plant grows older.

When cannabis flowers and blooms, the scent becomes powerful.

Indica vs. sativa

For decades, botanists and marijuana connoisseurs claimed that indica and sativa are different species with distinctly different effects on the body. Indica strain smells more acrid, while sativa smells more spicy or sweet.

But it would appear, at least to some experts, that there’s no way to smell the difference between indica and sativa definitively. Part of the reason is that there’s a lot of crossbreeding between these two particular strains.

However, one small study did find that participants who had purchased weed within the prior several months were able to smell the difference between several different strains of marijuana.

Marijuana consumers describe the scent of the plant as earthy, herbal, and woody. Sometimes the plant scent carries notes of lemon, apple, diesel, or plum.

Dried marijuana smells a lot stronger than some other dried plants.

When you’re smoking marijuana, the natural scent of the cannabis scent is amplified by the smoke it creates. Fire, smoke itself, ash, and the smell of rolling paper add additional layers to the scent.

When a person is smoking cannabis, notes of lemongrass, pine, fire, and wood may stand out. The distinct “skunk” smell of marijuana is often reported.

Learn about what gives marijuana its distinctly "skunky," strong odor, and how marijuana smells in plant form, when it's smoked, and more.

If you grow any of these plants in your garden you could be getting a visit from the police

These perfectly innocent plants have got people raided by the police or worse

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  • 20:00, 7 SEP 2017

Earlier this week we reported on a couple whose home had been invaded by drug dealers attracted to the property by a strong smell of cannabis.

The drugs gang thought the couple’s home in the leafy village of Winford, near Bristol Airport, was a cannabis factory and broke down the door to steal the stash – terrifying the couple in the process.

But the thugs were mistaken. There was no cannabis and the source of the skunky aroma was eventually found in a flowering plant in their garden, called Caucasian Crosswort.

The innocent plant had caused a nightmare for the terrorised couple and comments on social media showed that other people had also got into hot water over innocent plants that smell like pot.

So, these are the plants you shouldn’t plant in your garden unless you want to bring the police knocking, or worse.

Phlox subulata

Ivor Wiltshire, 77, and his wife Margaret had a similar experience.

The pong of cannabis around their home in Kingswood attracted not only gang members who threatened their next-door neighbour but also police.

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The couple returned from a holiday in Madera to find the drugs squad had battered down their front door and searched the property.

And the cause of all this trouble? A type of flowering moss, called phlox subulata, which looks nothing like cannabis but gives off a pungent aroma similar to the drug.


A plant that has been used as a culinary herb and medicinally throughout the world for centuries.

Mugwort has many uses, from insect repellent to flavouring food and even beer.

The plant grows around the world and in the Far East, it is used as a medicine.

In medieval Europe it was said to have magical properties. Mugwort could protect from evil spits and wild animals, and remedy fatigue.

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All that aside, one of the less useful properties of Mugwort is that it smells exactly like weed – several people have reported having to answer awkward questions from neighbours after planting it.

Spider flowers

Cleome or Spider flower leaves reportedly look and smell a lot like cannabis.

One social media user said he was actually able to fool his friend’s younger brother with leaves.

“One time, over 10 years ago, I found a cleome plant and was like ‘wow, looks like weed’ and jokingly grabbed a bunch of leaves and pressed them in a book.

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“Later, they were dried up and we found them during class, a friend crumbled them up and put them in a bag, and then eventually sold it to his younger brother. His brother smoked it with his friends and came back for more.”


Police raided a 79-year-old widow’s highland cottage in 2008 after mistaking her tomato plants for a cannabis factory.

Officer’s tore Lulu Matheson’s house apart and ‘arrested’ her Labrador and Jack Russell dogs after they mistook the tomato plants growing on a windowsill for cannabis.

These perfectly innocent plants have got people raided by the police or worse