Why do our armpits sometimes smell of cannabis?

A journalist from Vice magazine launched an inquiry into an unusual question, but one which often arises on discussion boards: why do we sometimes notice a smell of cannabis coming from our armpits?

“Why do my armpits smell of cannabis?” Although it may seem ridiculous, this is a recurrent question on discussion forums. Nathan Thompson, a journalist with Vice, has experienced the phenomenon for himself and decided to conduct a scientific inquiry. “[My girlfriend] nudged her nose affectionately into my chest. “Hey, you smell like skunk”, she said. I sniffed my underarms -she was right”, he remembers.

Matan Shelomi, a researcher in chemical ecology in the Max Planck Institute, agreed to share his knowledge on the subject. He compared various studies on the chemical components of cannabis and of human sweat. In all, 233 chemical compounds make up marijuana, and 100 make up sweat. By comparing the two, the researcher discovered that marijuana and sweat share 11 different chemical compounds.

Credits: Pixabay

“It seems that some of the compounds most strongly associated with the distinct aroma of marijuana are also found in gym socks”, Matan Shelomi explains to the magazine. For him, sweat that smells of cannabis is the sweat that comes from the apocrine glands, which are found in the armpits and around the genitals.

Another researcher, Justin Fischedick from Washington State University, has put forward another explanation. For him, the cause is found in terpenoids, organic plant compounds that are also present in sweat.

Source : vice