Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 11, 2023

Bad body odor is often caused by a build-up of ammonia in the system as a result of dehydration, a meat-heavy diet, and other factors, but can weed cause a change in your body odor too?

Consuming cannabis comes with an array of desirable effects like the psychoactive high you get from THC or the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, among other benefits. But weed can also cause some undesirable effects, like the munchies, bloodshot eyes, cottonmouth, and so on. However, one side effect that a lot of cannabis users claim has happened to them as a result of weed consumption is smelly armpits. 

Your body odor is often related to your genetic make-up which is why some people have a more intense body odor compared to others. If you smoke weed and are worried whether it will give you a bad body odor, read on. The focus of this article is to give you all the information regarding body odor, what causes it, and finding out whether consuming weed can cause your armpits to smell like weed.

What Causes Your Body Odor?

Sweating is essential for the regulation of the core body temperature and getting rid of excess body heat. The glands that are responsible for the sweat in the human body are called the sweat glands, and you can find two main groups of sweat glands in the body.

The first is the sweat gland called eccrine which is found all over the human body. This gland is responsible for thermoregulation by cooling down the body and secreting water which later evaporates. The body has between 2-4 million eccrine glands which are mostly found in the glabrous skin (in the palms and soles) and the non-glabrous skin (on the head). Note that the total number of eccrine glands in a human body remains the same throughout one’s life.

The other group of glands is called the apocrine gland, the gland that produces body odor. This type of sweat gland is responsible for the strongest smells (mainly located in the armpits, genitals, ear canals, eyelids, scalp, and breasts). The oily secretion of these glands happens as a result of sexual arousal or emotional stress. 

The sweat that the body produces is odorless, however, after the sweat produced by the apocrine glands comes in contact with the skin microbiome, the sweat starts to release an odor. That is a result of the components of apocrine sweat that feed the bacteria from the skin microbiome and break it down in the process – which is how the odor is released.

Weed and Body Odor

Similar to eating garlic and onions, drinking alcohol, or consuming other types of food or drink, smoking weed can also affect how your sweat smells, which is why most cannabis users have done a Google search on cannabis and body odor at some point. 

As we’ve previously said, sweat is naturally odorless, although it starts smelling once the sweat comes into contact with your skin’s microbiome. Since the microbiome is sensitive to the substances, foods, and liquids you consume, it makes sense that cannabis would affect your body odor, something that’s referred to as “canna odor” in the cannabis community.

What Do Scientists Say About Cannabis Consumption and Body Odor

Smoking weed, or consuming it in edibles and through other consumption methods may affect the way human sweat smells. One study done at the University of Applied Sciences Jena in Germany even showed that a person’s sweat can be used to detect cannabis consumption. But does it also affect how your underarms smell? Expert researchers in the field of biology have offered their two cents on the subject.

Justin Fischedick, a biochemistry researcher at the Washington State University, believes that cannabis consumption affects body odor as a result of cannabinoids and terpenes being fat-soluble. Meaning, prior to being eliminated through sweating, cannabinoids and terpenes are stored in the fat cells. He believes that terpenes, the chemical compounds in weed responsible for weed’s scent, also affect our body odor.

Myrcene, a terpene found in cannabis but also in bay leaves, mangoes, hops, and thyme, is a potent terpene which smells similar to the chemical compound that gives Pepé Le Pew’s love trail its skunk scent. Consequently, consuming weed may result in a stinky armpit among cannabis users as a result of containing myrcene.

What to Do About the Smell of Cannabis Under the Armpits?

If you feel like the smell of weed has affected your body odor, you can do something about it. If your sweat has an unpleasant odor as a result of cannabis, similar to other unwanted odors, it can be masked with a deodorant or an antiperspirant that can cause a change in the underarm microbiome.

That being said, if you’re specifically worried about “cannabis odor,” you could try abstaining from weed if you have an event of high importance in the near future. A few days of abstinence will ensure that you smell great at the event (and don’t smell like marijuana).

Finally, maintaining proper hygiene is always the best option to prevent unwanted body odors. So, even if you’ve consumed weed and you’re worried about your underarms giving you out, showering will solve that immediately.

Final Thoughts on Cannabis and Body Odor

Every cannabis user enjoys dank weed, although not everyone may enjoy how it affects your body odor afterward. Even though scientists still haven’t proven the effects of weed on body odor, there is reason to believe that skunky weed will give you a skunk-like smell as a result of the terpenes that are present in weed. 

Since terpenes as well as cannabinoids are fat-soluble, they get released through the apocrine sweat glands in the body, which may give you bad body odor. Myrcene is one of the terpenes that’s mostly associated with the skunky smell, so dank weed high in myrcene may give you stinky armpits. 

While further research is still needed on the subject of how marijuana affects body odor, you can always take precautions and prevent it. Showering often as well as using a deodorant or antiperspirant will ensure that you smell and feel great all day every day. And finally, if you’re worried about having a bad body odor at an important event, you can always abstain a few days before the event and prevent your dank weed from affecting the way you smell.

The effect of weed on body odor hasn’t been scientifically proven. However, if we combine the anecdotal evidence and the professional research done on the subject, cannabis odor may indeed be a common occurrence. We’ll just have to wait and see what future studies have to say on the matter. 

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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