Cannabis Science

Why Do My Armpits Smell Like Weed?

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If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Why do my armpits smell like weed,” you’re not alone. Just like poop, your BO can smell like weed. Body odor (BO) can be influenced by food, medication, illnesses, stress, and apparently weed. If you’re wondering about the science behind why you smell like weed, you’ve come to the right blog. Here’s what we know.

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Why Do I Smell Like Weed When I Sweat?

There aren’t many studies done on weed and sweat. People tend to report that their BO smells like sweat after exercise, sex, or while nervous. There are many Reddit and Quora forums filled with people who smoke weed, don’t smoke weed, or quit but still smell like weed.

Smelling like weed isn’t that strange. According to Dr. Matan Shelomi, who did original research for Vice, there are similarities between sweat and marijuana. Shelomi discovered that between sweat and marijuana, there were 11 common compounds and elements. 

Interestingly, Shelomi also told Vice that many compounds that were strongly associated with the stench of weed were also found in gym socks. The conclusion here is that sweat may smell like weed because they have similar compounds. 

Shelomi also believes that sweat that smells like weed is likely apocrine sweat and not eccrine sweat. Apocrine sweat, according to Vice usually happens in times of stress or sex. They’re also connected to hair follicles and tend to have an odor. On the other hand, eccrine sweat glands produce most of the sweat we have, not connected to hair follicles, and just cool the body. 

Since people notice that they smell like weed after sex or due to nerves, Shelomi hypothesizes that the apocrine sweat glands are producing the odor.

The Presence of Terpenes

Another hypothesis proposed by Dr. Justin Fischedick, another researcher, is that there are terpenoids and terpenes in our sweat. Terpenes are aromatic organic compounds and terpenoids are derived from terpenes. Fischedick told Vice that since these compounds are fat-soluble, then they’re probably stored in fat cells like THC. 

That would explain why stoners may smell like weed when they exercise. It would also explain why people who have quit using weed could still smell like weed. Shelomi told Vice, “It wouldn’t surprise me if heavy weed intake could alter your smell,”

Weed may not be the only thing that can cause the ‘weed smell’. Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen says that other plants with similar terpenes to weed may cause your BO to smell like weed. Vice says that since there are new strains of weed being created then weed is sharing its terpenes a lot with other plants. 

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I Smoke Weed, How Come My Armpits Don’t Smell Like Weed?

As Vice puts it, our body odor isn’t just due to terpenes. Bacteria interacting with sweat also cause people to smell. In addition to that, Vice said that apocrine sweat contains minerals, urea, and pheromones. 

In addition to that, we know body odor is impacted by medication, illness, and other factors. 

The point is, there are many factors that influence what we smell like, therefore it is not unusual for you to smell like weed. 

How to Avoid Smelling Like Weed 

If smelling like weed is bothering you, here are some tips you can use to possibly eliminate the smell:  

  • Take regular showers – Smelling like weed does not mean you’re dirty. However, showering is a great way to wash away the sweat that’s causing that scent. You’ll be able to even use a soap or body spray in a scent that you prefer. 
  • Identify the cause of the smell – You can smell like weed whether or not you’re a stoner. Maybe the answer lies in what you ate or drank. If you can figure it out, you’ll be able to control whether or not you smell like weed.
  • Use an antiperspirant – Apocrine glands are found in the armpits (and other place). Antiperspirants, according to Healthline, temporarily block the sweat pores. By doing that, less sweat reaches the surface and therefore that cuts down on body odor.
  • Try a deodorant – Yes, many deodorants are antiperspirants. However, products that are just deodorants exist. These products make your armpits inhabitable to bacteria according to Healthline. They don’t affect how much you sweat, just the odor. Very Well Health says if you don’t sweat a lot but still have body odor then deodorants would be a great choice.  
  • Wear breathable fabric – Very Well Health says that natural such as cotton allow sweat to evaporate because they are breathable. On the other hand, fabrics such as nylon and polyester aren’t. Therefore, if you’re worried about body odor, opt for more breathable and natural fabric. 

Smelling like weed is probably not a cause for concern. However, if you’re really concerned about your body odor, you can visit a medical professional for advice. 


Your armpits can smell like weed for a number of reasons. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to be a stoner to smell like weed. Body odor is influenced by many different factors. If you hate the smell, there are steps you can take to reduce it or eliminate it. However, chances are, there is no cause for concern. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].