Article originally published by Herb.co
Smelling a little skunky lately? It’s not uncommon to notice a familiar, pungent aroma under your arms after intense stress or exercise. But, is cannabis actually changing your sweat? Here’s the scoop on why your BO sometimes smells like weed.
Smoking a lot of weed doesn’t mean that it suddenly comes seeping out of your pores. But, compounds in the herb (and other plants) may influence how you smell. Though, there’s a bit more to your unique aroma than you might think. You can think of your sweat as an outward expression of your lifestyle and daily habits.
While sometimes embarrassing, your sweat actually says a lot about your overall health. The choices you make on a day-to-day basis have an impact on your body chemistry overall, and this includes the scent you produce.
There are a few things that influence the smell of your sweat, including:
- Bacteria and micro-organisms on the skin
- Your immune system
- Other lifestyle decisions (soaps, skin care products,time spent outside, smoking, etc.)
All of these factors are related. Bacteria in your body and on your skin help regulate the immune system. What you eat and what you put on your skin influence the kinds of bacteria inside of you and on your skin’s surface.
When you sweat, bacteria on your skin break down the acids your body produces. As a byproduct, they excrete powerful aroma compounds. These aromas will change depending on what kind of bacteria you’re covered with. Want to get rid of your skunky smell? Try changing your surface bacteria.
So, what makes my BO sometimes smell like weed?
There have not been any in-depth studies as to whether or not cannabis is a lone culprit behind pungent BO. But, there are a couple of ways that it might influence your scent.
Reason #1: Terpenes
You’ve probably heard that eating tons of pineapple can change the taste of your sexy parts. You can thankterpenes for that. Terpenes are flavor and aroma molecules and they can change the smell and taste of your bodily secretions. These aromatic compounds give flavor to plants, and cannabis has the same terpenes as other common fruits and veggies.
In cannabis, a terpene called myrcene gives the herb a musky, skunk-like aroma. Mangoes and hops also have ample amounts of this aroma compound.
Perhaps too much of this skunky compound is influencing your sweat. But, other dietary factors contribute as well. For example, research has shown that diets high in red meat been linked to an unpleasant body odor. Additional research has found that the terpenes in tomatoes also inspire unpleasant underarm odor.
So, what you take into your body has an influence on what’s excreted in your sweat glands. If you’re consuming a lot of cannabis, it would make logical sense that some of those terpenes may influence your scent. Cannabis alone, however, is probably not the only thing causing your pungent BO. Other than red meat and tomatoes, here are a few other foods known to give some extra stank to your stink:
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Low carb diets (Though, sometimes low carb diets can make you smell sweet and fruity)
- Not enough greens or dietary fiber (good bacteria love fiber!)
- Processed foods
Reason #2: Bacteria
Unfortunately, smoking may also cause some body odor changes. This hasn’t been examined in cannabis specifically, though. Research has shown that inhaling smoke can cause changes to your microbiology.One study examined bacterial colonies in the lady parts of smokers and non-smokers. Smokers actually had less of a common type of vaginal bacteria, the Lactobacillus strains. When you change the bacteria on your skin, you change your scent.
This particular study looked at tobacco smokers, which may or may not apply to those who only smoke cannabis. Typically, tobacco smokers burn though significantly more cigarettes in a day than cannabis smokers do joints. The smoke from cannabis is also different from the smoke from tobacco. But, there are some similarities between the two types of burnt plant material. Body odor can also change if you suddenly stop smoking.
So, why does your BO sometimes smell like weed? Well, there may be a few changes going on. Consuming a significant amount of certain kinds of terpenes can cause changes to your scent. There is a possibility that excessive exposure to smoke from plant material is altering your gut microbiology. Being sick or using antibacterial soaps can also have an influence.
But, all in all, sweat is actually quite complicated. A combination of factors will contribute to your scent, rather than one particular thing.