'Why does my sweat smell like weed' with a cannabis plant background with purple hues.

If you’ve noticed your sweat smells like weed, it could be due to terpenes. These compounds, found in cannabis, can mix with your sweat, creating that familiar scent. This article dives into “why does my sweat smell like weed” and how you can manage it.

Quick Overview

  • Your sweat can smell like weed due to the interaction of apocrine sweat (which contains terpenes) with skin bacteria, especially during stress or physical activity.
  • Diet, genetics, and metabolic differences, such as those impacting liver enzymes, also play roles in the weed-like odor of sweat.
  • Managing this odor involves improved personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, dietary adjustments, and stress management techniques.

Why Does My Sweat Smell Like Weed? Understanding Causes & Solutions

Cannabis leaves with a sweaty backdrop.Cannabis leaves with a sweaty backdrop.
Sweating out a weed-like smell is actually way more common than you might think and can even effect non-users.

The enigma of sweat odours that mirrors the smell of cannabis is certainly intriguing. The primary culprits behind this unusual odours are the apocrine glands, which produce a thicker, oilier substance that includes lipids, proteins, sugars, and ammonia. These glands are located in areas like the armpits and are activated during stress or sexual activity, leading to the secretion of apocrine sweat. This type of sweat, rich in minerals, pheromones, and urea, interacts with bacteria on the skin, producing various smells, including the skunky scent reminiscent of weed.

Body odours, also known as body odour, is essentially the result of bacteria breaking down sweat molecules. When bacteria on the skin interact with apocrine sweat, they produce stinky compounds that contribute to body odours. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to stronger body odourss, influenced by their genetic ancestry. For example, individuals of East Asian descent tend to have lower body odours, while those of European and African origins may experience stronger scents.

Additionally, metabolic differences in liver enzymes can lead to varied body odourss, including weed-like smells. Hyperhidrosis, a condition causing excessive sweating, can also increase susceptibility to body odours. Comprehending these elements aids in determining why our sweat may emit a cannabis-like fragrance and provides a pathway to explore practical solutions for its management.

The Science Behind Sweat and Body Odours

The occurrence of sweat emitting a cannabis-like odours is a genuine phenomenon, stirring curiosity and concern among many. The distinct cannabis smell in sweat can be attributed to a variety of factors, including diet, lifestyle, and genetic makeup. Understanding why sweat can smell like weed involves exploring the compounds responsible for this odours and how they interact with our bodies. This blog post aims to shed light on the causes of weed-like sweat smell and provide effective solutions to manage and prevent it.

The fact that sweat can occasionally give off a scent akin to cannabis, a fact unbeknownst to many, makes this an interesting subject to delve into.

an infographic showing what sweat glands and pores look like and the difference between ecrine and aprocrine sweat glands.an infographic showing what sweat glands and pores look like and the difference between ecrine and aprocrine sweat glands.
Delving deep into sweat glands and how that weed-like smell is emitted.

The human body is a marvelous machine that produces two types of sweat: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine sweat is the watery type that helps cool the body and is produced by eccrine glands found all over the body. On the other hand, apocrine sweat is thicker and oilier, produced by apocrine sweat glands located in areas like the armpits and groin. This type of sweat is activated during stress or sexual activity and contains minerals, pheromones, and urea.

Body odour occurs when bacteria on the skin interact with sweat. These bacteria break down sweat molecules, producing various smells, including the weed smell. The distinct cannabis aroma in sweat can be linked to terpenes, compounds responsible for the pungent smell of sweat. Metabolic differences in liver enzymes can also lead to varied body odours, including weed-like smells.

Genetic ancestry plays a role in body odour as well. People of East Asian descent tend to have low body odour, while those of European and African origins may have stronger scents. Additionally, conditions like hyperhidrosis, which cause excessive sweating, can increase susceptibility to body odour. Grasping these scientific principles can enhance our ability to handle and forestall unusual sweat odours.

Why Does My Sweat Smell Like Weed?

The weed-like smell in sweat can be perplexing, but it often boils down to the presence of terpenes and other volatile compounds in our bodies. Apocrine sweat, produced in areas like the armpits, contains these terpenoids, which are stored in fat cells and can be released during stress or physical exertion. These terpenes, such as myrcene, are also found in cannabis and contribute to its distinctive skunky smell.

When we smoke weed, the cannabis aroma can cling to our hair, skin, and clothing, mixing with sweat and natural odours. This combination can amplify the skunky smell, making it more noticeable. Additionally, the interaction between bacteria on the skin and the components of apocrine sweat can produce a scent similar to that of smoking weed.

Comprehending the contribution of terpenes and apocrine sweat to this distinct odour enables us to devise effective strategies for its management and prevention. By addressing the factors that contribute to this smell, we can reduce its intensity and frequency.

Terpenes and Their Role in Body odour

Infographic showing the five most common terpenes that are covered in this blog.Infographic showing the five most common terpenes that are covered in this blog.
It all comes down to the terpenes; there are countless different and unique terpenes but these are the main 5 we'll experience with our cannabis flower.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds responsible for the distinct smells of many plants, including cannabis, pine, and lavender. These compounds play a significant role in the pungent smell of sweat. In plants, terpenes can attract pollinators or repel predators like insects, helping plants recover from damage and acting as part of their immune system. Isolated terpenes are used in everyday products like perfumes, body products, and foods to create flavourss and scents.

Terpenes in cannabis, such as myrcene, are also present in human sweat. These compounds contribute to the skunky smell associated with both cannabis and sweat. Terpenes have a high fat solubility, allowing them to be stored in fat cells and later released when the body is under stress or during physical activity. This property makes them easily accessible for the body to utilize when needed. Understanding the role of terpenes in body odour can help us manage and prevent weed-like sweat smells more effectively.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds found in all plants, including cannabis, that change the scent of these plants. In plants, terpenes can:

  • Attract pollinators
  • Repel predators like insects
  • Help plants recover from damage
  • Act as part of their immune system

Terpenes in cannabis, like myrcene, are responsible for its distinctive skunk smell. When the plant dries and cures, terpenes become terpenoids, which can be bioactive and affect the human body.

In the human body, terpenes can:

  • Influence body odour
  • Be the basis of essential oils used in aromatherapy
  • Act on the body’s endocannabinoid system, impacting various physiological processes.

Terpenes in Cannabis and Human Sweat

Terpenes, responsible for the distinct smell of cannabis, are also present in human sweat. The cannabis smell, particularly the skunky aroma, is attributed to terpenes like myrcene. These terpenes are also found in other plants such as:

  • Mangoes
  • Bay leaf
  • Hops
  • Thyme

Cannabis strains with higher myrcene content may have stronger skunky odours and more sedative effects, which can be observed in certain cannabis flowers.

The scent of cannabis can mix with natural body odours and sweat, amplifying the skunky smell. This interaction can make the weed-like smell in sweat more noticeable, especially after smoking marijuana or being in environments where cannabis is present.

Fat Solubility of Terpenes

Terpenoids, which are fat-soluble, may be stored in fat cells. These stored terpenoids can be released during stress and physical exertion, leading to a weed-like smell in sweat. The release of terpenoids during these times can contribute to the weed-like smell in sweat, making it more pronounced during stressful situations or intense physical activity.

Understanding the fat solubility of terpenes can help us manage and prevent weed-like sweat smells by addressing factors like stress and physical exertion.

Factors Influencing Weed-Like Sweat Smell

person holding some cannabis flowerperson holding some cannabis flower
Often there's no one reason why your sweat smells like weed and like most things, it's subject to many factors and variables.

Several factors can influence the weed-like smell in sweat, including:

  • Diet and the consumption of certain foods, drugs, and drinks
  • Physical activity
  • Stress
  • Personal hygiene

Diet and the consumption of certain foods, drugs, and drinks can cause their smells to leach out of the body uncontrollably, impacting body odour. Exercise, stress, hot weather, genetics, and weight can also influence body odour, with some people reporting that their sweat smells like weed during or before stressful situations.

Body odour changes can also be influenced by hormonal fluctuations and individual metabolic rates. The terpenes present in cannabis are fat-soluble, meaning they can get stored in fat cells and potentially be released through sweat, contributing to the weed-like smell. Comprehending these elements aids in the effective management and prevention of this unusual scent.

Having a weed-like aroma in your sweat might make employers suspicious too. Drug tests are common place in a high percentage of professions and jobs in today's world, which is why we suggest you take precautions and consider purchasing some synthetic urine incase of a surprise urine test.

Any weed-like aroma coming from you isn't a good thing, this includes when you're carrying some cannabis on your person. The solution is simple, invest in some smell proof baggies, or perhaps even reputable and reliable smell proof backpacks from Revelry.

Diet and Terpene Intake

The consumption of plants that share the same terpenes as cannabis can result in a similar body odour. Certain foods and herbs high in terpenes, like mangoes, hops, and citrus fruits, can influence body odour due to their aromatic properties. Consuming foods high in terpenes, such as certain herbs and spices, can influence body odour and potentially make it smell like weed.

Herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage contain terpenes that can affect body odour.

Physical Activity and Stress

Physical activities can trigger the release of terpenes stored in fat cells, leading to a weed-like odour in sweat. Exercise can release stored terpenes from fat cells, which might contribute to a weed-like smell. People who exercise regularly often notice a weed-like odour due to the excretion of terpenes in sweat.

Stress can trigger both apocrine and eccrine sweat glands, leading to perspiration. Exercise can induce stress on the body, potentially releasing terpenes from fat cells, which may affect body odour.

Personal Hygiene and Clothing

Regular cleansing and the use of antibacterial soaps can mitigate the intensity of terpene-associated body odour. Wearing breathable fabrics can minimize sweat buildup and help control odour. Wearing natural fabrics like cotton, wool, and silk can help in managing body odour.

For sweaty feet, wearing antibacterial socks is suggested. The smell of marijuana smoke can cling to a person’s hair, skin, and clothing, mixing with sweat and natural odours.

Other Common Sweat Smells and Their Causes

Sweat smells can vary widely, and each type of odour can tell us something about our body. Apart from the cannabis-like aroma, there are several other common sweat smells that people experience. For instance, an ammonia smell in sweat might indicate dehydration or a meat-heavy diet. On the other hand, the smell of alcohol in sweat is due to the excretion of alcohol metabolites like acetaldehyde and acetic acid.

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, liver, and kidney diseases, can also alter a person’s body scent. These conditions can lead to distinct odours, such as a fruity smell in the case of diabetes or a fishy odour for certain metabolic disorders. Recognizing the range of these smells and their origins can enhance our ability to handle body odour and detect potential health concerns at an early stage.

Ammonia Smell

A high-protein diet can cause sweat to smell like ammonia, as the body breaks down protein into amino acids and converts them into ammonia. Dehydration can make the ammonia smell in sweat more noticeable because there is less water to dilute the ammonia.

Additionally, kidney disease can lead to ammonia-smelling sweat if the kidneys fail to filter out urea properly, causing it to be released through sweat.

Alcohol Smell

Sweat can smell like alcohol when the body excretes alcohol metabolites such as acetaldehyde through sweat glands. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to night sweats and an alcohol smell, influenced by the central nervous system.

Alcohol withdrawal can also result in night sweats and a distinct body odour as the body eliminates alcohol.

Onion or Garlic Smell

Certain foods can cause sweat to have a pungent onion or garlic odour. Foods like garlic and onions can be broken down and excreted through sweat, giving it a strong odour.

Herbs and spices such as cumin and curry powder can create sulfur-like compounds when digested, which can react with sweat and cause an onion or garlic-like odour.

How to Manage and Prevent Weed-Like Sweat Smell

Person with sud-soaked hands holding a cannabis infused bar of soap shaped like a heartPerson with sud-soaked hands holding a cannabis infused bar of soap shaped like a heart
Sounds obvious, but washing more regularly can help keep that sweaty weed-like smell at bay.

Efficient management and prevention of cannabis-like sweat odour entail improved hygiene, utilization of effective products, appropriate dressing, stress management, and lifestyle modifications. Washing armpits, groin, and feet at least twice daily with soap and drying thoroughly can help prevent body odour. Shaving armpits regularly can also reduce body odour. Finding the right antiperspirant and considering prescription-strength deodourants can make a significant difference.

To keep the groin clean, dry, and aerated, it is recommended to:

  • Wear breathable fabrics such as cotton underwear. This can help prevent discomfort and promote better hygiene in the area.
  • Use sweat pads to absorb sweat in stressful situations, such as job interviews or exams.
  • Reduce the frequency of cannabis use to help prevent sweating-related issues.

Improving Personal Hygiene

Consistent bathing is essential to eliminate skin bacteria that can interact with sweat to generate an odour. Using an effective antiperspirant can help manage sweat, while deodourants can reduce body odour. Changing and washing clothes regularly contributes significantly to better personal hygiene and odour control.

Shaving armpits regularly is also recommended to maintain good hygiene.

Dietary Adjustments

Adjusting one’s diet is key to controlling and diminishing the cannabis-like body odour. Avoiding foods high in terpenes, such as certain fruits and spices, can help reduce weed-like body odour. Limiting intake of these foods can significantly minimize terpene levels in the body.

Stress Management Techniques

Stress can trigger an escalation in sweat production, potentially resulting in the release of more terpenes from fat cells. Managing stress response through activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can lower susceptibility to stress sweat. Engaging in deep breathing exercises can help manage stress and control sweat production.

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing different parts of the body to manage stress. Talking with loved ones for support can also help manage stress levels and reduce stress sweat.

When to Seek Medical Advice

If your body odour remains unabated despite diligent hygiene practices and begins to impact your self-confidence, it might be prudent to seek medical advice. Consulting a GP is advisable if there’s a noticeable change in the usual smell of body odour. It’s also important to see a doctor if you suddenly begin to sweat much more than usual.

Persistent or unusual body odour could be a sign of an underlying health condition that needs medical attention. By seeking professional advice, you can get to the root of the problem and find an appropriate solution.


In summary, the peculiar phenomenon of sweat smelling like weed can be attributed to various factors, including the presence of terpenes in apocrine sweat, dietary choices, physical activity, and genetic predispositions. By understanding the science behind body odour and the role of terpenes, we can take practical steps to manage and prevent this unusual smell.

Maintaining good personal hygiene, making dietary adjustments, and managing stress are key strategies to reduce weed-like sweat smells. If the problem persists, seeking medical advice is recommended. Embrace these insights and take control of your body odour with confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my sweat smell like weed?

Your sweat may smell like weed due to the release of terpenes and other compounds during stress or physical exertion. It's a natural reaction and nothing to be alarmed about!

Can diet influence body odour?

Absolutely, consuming foods high in terpenes, like certain herbs and spices, can affect body odour and possibly give it a weed-like smell. So, what we eat can definitely impact how we smell, including body odour.

How can I manage and prevent weed-like sweat smell?

To manage and prevent weed-like sweat smell, focus on improving personal hygiene, making dietary adjustments, and managing stress. These steps can make a significant difference in reducing the unpleasant odour.

When should I seek medical advice for body odour?

You should seek medical advice for body odour if it persists even with good hygiene practices or if there's a significant change in your usual body odour. It's best to consult a GP if you experience these issues.

What role do terpenes play in body odour?

Terpenes, as aromatic compounds, contribute to the unique smell of many plants and can impact body odour when they are found in human sweat. So, they do play a role in body odour.