Definitive Guide to Appreciate the Aroma and Quality of Cannabis

The appreciation of cannabis is not limited only to its effect. Many people spend time appreciating the delicate aromas and physical appearance of their herb, and how they combine to offer a better and more complete experience.

Our guide on the most subtle aspects of the aroma of cannabis, the elements to take into account, and how all this leads to a greater appreciation for the bud, will make you test your herb as an expert in a very short time.


Smell, aroma, perfume, and fragrance are words that are often used to talk about cannabis. In addition to its appearance, the aroma is the main component used to determine the quality of cannabis.

The smell is an ephemeral sensation, so it is difficult to talk about it. Like music, there are different classes, and it attracts many people in various ways. As in the case of music, the aroma has several strata or nuances, so it is not surprising that the vocabulary we use to refer to smells is similar to that of music. The aromas have different notes and can be grouped into chords and progressions.

The senses of smell and taste are closely related, so much so that losing the sense of smell results in the loss of much of the sense of taste. This is a chronic disorder that can cause depression and affects the quality of life of the individual suffering from it.


The sense of smell, like that of the ear and sight, is connected to the brain by an important nerve. In the upper part of the nose, there is a small portion of tissue with olfactory sensory neurons. The smell is part of the chemosensory system or chemical senses.

For example, when volatile molecules evaporate from a flower and are inhaled through the nose, they are detected by olfactory neurons. The message they transmit to the brain is interpreted as a smell. In the case of cannabis, these molecules are mostly terpenes and phenols.

Have you ever noticed that when you approach a bud, dry or wet, a strong smell is immediately felt? And that a little later, that aroma changes slightly and changes again in the upper lip fifteen minutes later?

This is called high, middle and base notes.

Phenols and terpenes are volatile aromatic compounds that, when in contact with air, evaporate. This is a process that we perceive as an aroma. But the different strata and nuances of odors prevent us from saying that a bud smells like something in particular.

A variety will have general characteristics and a certain aroma; Skunks and Cheese, for example, offer particularly idiosyncratic fragrances. But the components of those aromas will always be a bit of this, a hint of that and a handful of something else – a progression of identifiable notes that combine to constitute the complex perfumes of the cannabis plant.


The first impression of smell is known as a high note. The molecules that form the terpenes of these combined notes are the most volatile of all. They evaporate and disperse quickly, and a specially trained nose can identify the individual notes that make up this initial impression.

• Limonene: the main terpene responsible for the aroma of citrus, limonene, is highly volatile and is found in numerous varieties with hints of lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit, to the point of being astringent and producing a tickle in the nose. Think of the lemon sensations of the Hazes and the orange nuances of the Lemon Haze. Limonene is used in many cleaning products and is so volatile that, in large quantities, it represents a serious fire hazard.

• Geraniol: this terpene that gives aroma to geraniums and is a component of the perfume of roses, is also a high note. It evaporates quickly and mixes to give the first impression. The sweet and floral tones of many cannabis varieties are composed of geraniol. Naturally, this terpene is widely used in perfumery.

• Linalool: the terpene that gives lavender its characteristic smell and sedative properties, and that also contributes to the first impressions of cannabis flowers. The linalool has a long history as a natural relaxant.


The terpenes that form the middle notes evaporate more slowly and do not disappear as soon as the high notes; they also have a longer life once they are in the air and are perceived for longer. The middle notes combine to form the predominant aroma that lingers on the olfactory nerves after the high notes have left their first impression.

• Alpha-terpineol: this terpene is what gives pine oil its characteristic smell. Being a medium note, it lasts longer and becomes part of the main body of the fragrance. Alpha-terpineol has numerous uses in addition to making cannabis smell great.

• Βeta-Caryophyllene: the terpene that gives the pepper its spicy aroma and also provides much of the odors of oregano, basil, and rosemary. Many varieties contain this terpene that tickles smell and is partly responsible for the physical sensation that occurs in the nose when some varieties are tested.

• Αlpha-Terpineno: the fragrance of marjoram is due to the predominance of this terpene. It is also a component of the pleasant earthy and herbaceous notes that cannabis can have. It lasts longer than most middle notes and can be combined with other terpenes to give a longer body to a fragrance.


The base notes are the ones that evaporate more slowly and last longer. They are the fragrances that remain on the upper lip and fingers even hours after touching any type of grass. After a long curing process, they are the dominant perfumes that come out of the jar, until you break a bud and the aroma becomes fresh once again.

• Eugenol: a long-lasting terpene and responsible for the aroma of cloves. Once the astringency of eugenol is dispersed, the smell can last several days before becoming an echo.

• Gingerol: one of the phenols that give ginger its sweet and spicy aroma. With a prolonged effect and slow evaporation, gingerol, like eugenol, lasts several days before beginning to fade.

• Trans-nerolidol: the terpene that gives jasmine its floral aroma with nuances of rose, apple, and citrus. The smell of jasmine lasts so long that it gets into sachets in clothes drawers in order to perfume the garments for months.


The aroma of the cannabis flower could be described as follows:

When a mature and sticky flower is shaken, a high penetrating and stratified chord is produced. The high notes of citrus and floral aromas tickle the nose and assault the senses. As these notes fade, the average grades are better perceived; memories of warm evenings in pine forests persist in memory, and can even be smelled in the air. Next, a flower and dry ginger tuffillo will appear on your fingers and clothes when the base notes begin to be more dominant.

As with music, learning the language of smells takes time. Smells are remembered in the same way as any other information, and over time, a library of aromas can be compiled for the identification of cannabis. In this way, it is possible to identify the different fragrances of each note as the aroma advances in its different stages of volatility.

Now that we have covered the aroma, let’s get into the art of cannabis appreciation, and what we should look at.

The appearance, fragrance, and potency of cannabis can vary greatly from one variety to another. The assessment of quality before consumption is mainly based on appearance and smell. There are certain exceptions whose features are not always an indicator of their potency. Who has not smoked a bud of normal aroma and mediocre appearance that has turned out to have amazing power?

The THC, the CBD, and other cannabinoids have a neutral odor and are volatile aromatic substances that give the fragrant cannabis traits. Terpenes modify the effects of cannabinoids in ways that are only now being studied by science.

Many terpenes have an effect on the brain and body, and when combined with cannabinoids, make different varieties offer different results. Two varieties with the same THC content can induce different effects on the mind, body, and soul, depending on what volatile elements they contain.

If the entire process has been carried out properly, with proper ripening before harvest and proper drying and storage, there is no “rule” that identifies good cannabis, only guidelines.

There is nothing better than accumulating knowledge to give expert confidence when selecting one or another variety. That said, the world of contemporary cannabis is unlikely to offer weed of poor quality, but what it does provide is a wide variety of incredible flavors.


When comparing cannabis, there must be equal conditions. Consume it with your favorite method, either vaping, in a pipe, bong, pipe or blunt. The blunts will bring the taste of tobacco, but if you’re used to it, the cannabis strain will still be obvious.

Make sure you have a clean mouth before starting the tests; An aromatic meal could remain on the palate and nose and interfere with the analysis. For example, after eating a curry dish, its flavors will last for hours, and will undoubtedly alter the smell and taste of the herb. A glass of freshwater cleanses the palate before tasting – try it the next time you go to smoke a pipe. The taste of smoke will be much more obvious and nuanced.


The physical appearance of a bud can reveal several characteristics before consuming it. Sniffing the grass and taking note of certain initial observations is normal since it is absolutely impossible not to do so. Cannabis is famous for its strong smell, and who can resist that heady perfume?

Visual inspection can give us an idea about its species, Sativa or indica, or about the predominance in both directions, maturity, and whether the bud has been grown indoors or outdoors. What you need to keep in mind when examining a bud:

• Appearance:

  • Color of hairs, chalices, and resin
  • Satin or matt, compact or loose, old or fresh

• Touch:

  • Hard or tender, sticky or dry, dense or fluffy, heavy or light

• Smell:

As already mentioned, a first general impression is obtained that forms the characteristic smell of the variety. And then the three stages follow, which will be different between one variety and another. Although they are difficult to describe, they will remain with you forever and you will remember them when you go to analyze your marijuana in the future.


The potency and effects of cannabis are not universal but are subject to the personal preferences and biology of each individual. What leverages one person could induce a high in another.

The aspects that must be taken into account when evaluating a bud are its psychotropic and physical effect, its taste, and the sensation it produces in the mouth/throat. The evaluation process should include:

• Type of effect:

  • Cerebral, physical, almost psychedelic, nootropic, relaxing, narcotic, motivating, creative, contemplative, etc.

• Duration and stages:

  • How long is the initial effect and how long does it take to reach its peak? Is it a fast or slow appearance effect?
  • The amount needed to get a full effect
  • What side effects does it produce over time? Does it fade away without a trace or does it make you feel sleepy?

• Tolerance range:

With some varieties, there is a limit on the amount to be consumed before the effects cease to be felt. Similarly, some varieties are less effective if consumed daily, while others induce the same effects regardless of the times they are consumed.

• Medicinal effects:

When cannabis is consumed to obtain a therapeutic benefit, patients must be honest with themselves and pay attention to their bodies. Does the chosen variety produce the desired result for the disorder to be treated? If not, other varieties should be tested until the ideal properties are found.

• Sensation in mouth and throat:

  • Is it soft on the palate and throat when inhaling and exhaling? Is it annoying or burning?
  • Can you take large puffs without coughing? Or is it better to take many small puffs?


First of all, enjoy cannabis, which is a wonderful plant. It is a social lubricant, a creative stimulant, a spiritual sacrament, and a well-known medicine. The exhaustive knowledge of its numerous characteristics leads to a greater appreciation of the unique aromas and flavors of this venerated plant for so long.