Why doesn't my homegrown weed smell good?

When you incorrectly dry your Cannabis buds, molds thrive, bacteria grow, and with too much heat, your Cannabis buds smell foul. They smell like hay or freshly-cut grass, mold or mildew, and a chemical smell. The best way to save your smelly Cannabis buds is to dry and cure them appropriately.

Why doesn't my homegrown weed smell good?​

What should Cannabis buds smell like?

When you adequately cultivate and cure your Cannabis buds, they will have an intense and pleasant aroma. When buds give off a strong, good smell, it indicates the excellent quality of your Cannabis. As a rule of thumb, the stronger the aroma, the better.

The smell of Cannabis buds varies depending on their strains. Its unique scent ranges from woody and earthy to citrusy and sweet, depending on its strains. Also, the smell of Cannabis plays a vital role in distinguishing the effects of their different strains. It will help you relax and relieve stress, while others can promote concentration and alertness. Its aroma is caused by chemical compounds called terpenes. To learn more about terpenes, you may read our post "What are terpenes?"

What common types of bad Cannabis bud smells are there?

The smell of your Cannabis bud varies depending on their strains. Some smell like lemon and sweet, and others may also smell like wood or earthy. However, you have to be careful with the smell of your Cannabis because there are aromas that indicate bad Cannabis buds. Here are the most common bad smells which suggest that there is something wrong with your Cannabis:

Freshly-Cut Grass

When Cannabis smells like freshly-cut grass or hay, it is an indicator that the chlorophyll in Cannabis is decomposing into ammonia. It happens when the curing process is not perfectly done or is incomplete.

Mold or Mildew

Another smell you need to look out for in your Cannabis is mold or mildew, or it smells like a wet towel. If this happens, it is a sign that contamination occurs with molds. When Cannabis plants are cultivated or stored in humid conditions, mold can grow, resulting in mold contamination. Also, when cured and dried incorrectly, mold contamination can happen.

Chemical Smell

When your Cannabis smells like chemicals or plastic, it is another sign of bad buds. It happens when you poorly store them together with some chemicals and pesticides or excessively used chemical supplements and skipped the flushing process. You can read more on how to flush cannabis here.

Why do my homegrown buds smell bad?

The following are the common reasons why your homegrown buds smell off. Also, there are tips to fix this problem.

Dried Incorrectly

You are fascinated with how your buds smell during the flowering stage. However, they smell like hay or fresh-cut grass after the drying process. This smell is also called the chlorophyll smell. You will ask, "why does it happen?". Well, the main reason behind this is the incorrect drying process. The following are the common drying mistakes:

1. Buds are Dried Unevenly

When buds are dried unevenly, they smell like hay, chlorophyll, or fresh-cut grass. It results from drying too fast in a warm place without proper ventilation. Also, when you only dry some part of your buds using a fan while the other section remains moist. Another reason is when the entire plants are hung upside down. The tendency is that the inside part does not dry at the same pace as the outside. Thus, resulting in a hay smell.

2. Exposure to Warm Temperatures and lack of Air Circulation

Another incorrect drying procedure is when your buds are exposed to warm temperatures and uncirculated air. When this happens, mold thrives and will make your buds smell like fresh-cut grass.

3. Buds are Too Close During Curing

When you are curing too many buds in a small container, it creates wet spots against its surface. Also, buds are stacked on top of each other. As a result, it will smell like hay, making your Cannabis buds not appealing anymore.

4. Trimming Buds Without Climate Consideration

Many of you may ask whether to trim your Cannabis buds before or after drying. Buds covered by leaves tend to stay wet during the drying process when growers air-dry them in a humid climate. Thus, they will trim some of the leaves off to prevent buds from soaking during the drying process. However, trimming off your leaves before drying will dry buds quickly in a hot or low humidity level. Since not all strains are leafy, there is not always a benefit to trimming buds before drying.

In conclusion, you have to trim the buds before drying when humid. On the other hand, trim the buds after drying when the climate is hot.

You can read more about how to harvest freshly harvested weed in this post.


Many cultivators become unwary of mold during harvest time. Thus, they become frustrated when they find it out since they do not have a choice but to toss it away. Aside from its foul smell, it will make your buds harsh and unsafe to smoke.

Cannabis growing in a warm environment allows molds to thrive. As they absorb water and nutrients, they transpire, which promotes humidity. As a result, mold and mildew are likely to occur in your plants. Thus, you have to be vigilant as a grower to maintain the healthy growth of your Cannabis while keeping an eye out for possible molds.

Usually, molds are caused by the lack of airflow, too much high humidity, massive temperature swings, and low nighttime temperature. Aside from that, overwatering can also cause mold, making your growing medium damp.


During the curing process, bacteria growth is very likely to happen. It occurs when buds are too wet after being put inside a jar. Bacteria would attack in a damp and low-oxygen condition.

You may wonder why your buds feel wet after sitting in jars. It is typical for buds that are dry outside to develop moisture since the wetness from the inside of them works its way to go out. Thus, you have to check your buds from time to time to ensure they are dry during the curing process.

If you notice too much moisture on your buds or smell musty ammonia and rotting, you have to remove the buds from the jars. Then, allow some time to dry them before putting them back inside.

Remember, the humidity of your air can adversely affect your buds during the curing process. If you observe dry buds, but the humidity seems high enough to promote bacterial growth, keep the lids off jars for a few hours until humidity decreases. You may consider using a hygrometer to monitor the amount of water vapor or humidity in your jars.


Another cause of poor-smelling buds is heat. When the environment is too hot, it can lower your buds’ quality, resulting in a foul smell and being harsh to smoke. Any temperature over 85° Fahrenheit (25° Celsius) reduces the quality of your buds. Thus, you have to regulate the temperature when buds start to form until the curing process.

Does the bad Cannabis smell go away during drying and curing?

Your harvest is not ruined when your Cannabis buds smell off due to chlorophyll. You need to properly dry and cure your Cannabis buds to break down the chlorophyll. If you patiently wait during the drying process, the foul smell will disappear, and you will surely enjoy your Cannabis. The time for the Cannabis buds’ bad smell to vanish may vary on how it is dried. But you do not need to wait longer than four weeks of waiting time.

However, it will probably never be great when you dry and cure smelly Cannabis buds. The reason behind its smell has also destroyed some of the bud’s terpenes. It may also prevent the bud from reaching its maximum potency.

Now, your question is, "how can I dry and cure my Cannabis buds properly?" Before that, drying and curing are not the same. Drying takes place first, then afterward, curing follows. Here is how to do it:

  1. Hang the trimmed branches of your Cannabis in a string or wire inside a completely dark room.
  2. Use a fan that gently circulates air inside the room. Ensure that it is not blowing directly across any buds.
  3. Regulate the temperature between 60°-70° Fahrenheit (16°-21° Celsius) and humidity level at 45-55%.
  4. Check your bud from time to time. When the smaller branches snap instead of bending, and the buds feel crunchy, they are now ready for curing.
  1. Cut off your buds from their branches. Then, put them inside an airtight container. Mason jars are perfect since air cannot penetrate inside. However, you can use any container as long as it is airtight. Avoid packing your buds too tight inside the jar. As much as possible, fill the container loosely. Then, store them in a cool, dry, and dark place.
  2. Check your buds several times a day. Buds should not be crunchy anymore on the outside and must start rehydrating themselves. The moisture is coming from deeper within the buds. It is the task of the curing process to get rid of it. However, if they are not rehydrating, you dried up Cannabis buds too much during the drying process.
  3. During the first week, open your container for a few minutes to let the buds breathe. It will also allow moisture to evaporate and invite oxygen inside the container.
  4. If you smell the ammonia as you open the container, the buds are too wet after drying. If you notice this, you have to remove the buds and give them time to dry and collect them inside afterward. It is dangerous for bacteria are attacking your buds, which will lead to mold and rot.
  5. After the first week, open the jar once a day to let moisture evaporate.

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