Scientists have lastly sniffed out the molecules behind marijuana’s skunky aroma.
The heady bouquet that wafts off of contemporary weed is definitely a cocktail of a whole bunch of aromatic compounds. Probably the most distinguished floral, citrusy and piney overtones come from a typical class of molecules referred to as terpenes, says analytical chemist Iain Oswald of Abstrax Tech, a personal firm in Tustin, Calif., that develops terpenes for hashish merchandise (SN: 4/30/18). However the supply of that funky ganja observe has been arduous to pin down.
Now, an evaluation is the primary to determine a bunch of sulfur compounds in hashish that account for the skunklike scent, researchers report November 12 in ACS Omega.
Oswald and colleagues had a hunch that the perpetrator might comprise sulfur, a smelly ingredient present in hops and skunk spray. So the staff began by ranking the skunk issue of flowers harvested from greater than a dozen sorts of Hashish sativa on a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being probably the most pungent. Subsequent, the staff created a “chemical fingerprint” of the airborne parts that contributed to every cultivar’s distinctive scent utilizing gasoline chromatography, mass spectroscopy and a sulfur chemiluminescence detector.
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As suspected, the researchers discovered small quantities of a number of aromatic sulfur compounds lurking within the olfactory profiles of the smelliest cultivars. Probably the most dominant was a molecule referred to as prenylthiol, or 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, that provides “skunked beer” its infamous taste (SN: 11/27/05).
The sulfur compounds have been present in nature, however by no means earlier than in hashish, says Amber Sensible, an analytical chemist with Drugs Creek Analytics in Fife, Wash., who was not concerned within the research.
Oswald was stunned to search out that prenylthiol and most of the different sulfurous suspects in hashish share structural similarities with molecules present in garlic. And like these alliaceous analogs, a bit of goes a great distance.
These compounds “may be in very low concentrations on the flower, however nonetheless make a huge effect on the odor,” Oswald says. The sulfur molecules are most ample in hashish flowers once they attain maturity and throughout the curing course of.
Scent psychologist Avery Gilbert of Headspace Sensory, a startup firm in Fort Collins, Colo., that makes a speciality of quantifying the various scents of hashish, is worked up to see the molecules added to marijuana’s chemical repertoire. “The spectrum of hashish odor is simply superb,” he says. “I feel it beats the pants off of wine.”
The invention of prenylthiol in marijuana, Gilbert says, is step one to masking its nuisance odor — or maximizing its perversely nice stink.
Prenylthiol has a “polarizing scent,” Oswald says. Whereas many individuals assume it reeks, some hashish customers pays prime greenback for skunky grass, which some think about an indicator of high quality.