Your Guide to Skunk Cannabis

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Added 14 August 2022


Image Credit - Ibanhead

In the many hours you spend on the internet, you must have come across the term “skunk cannabis” at least once. 

It’s a popular term in the cannabis community, and outside as well. 

The website may have said that it is a terrific type of cannabis. 

Or, it could have stated that it’s something you should be wary of.

But what exactly is skunk cannabis?

Is it safe, and should you consume it — find all the answers about skunk cannabis in this article. 

Here is everything you need to know about skunk cannabis. 

What Exactly is Skunk Cannabis? 

Super Skunk

Image Credit - SkunkyDog

The term "skunk" has become slang now. Unfortunately, many people refer to skunk weed in a derogatory manner, as though it is some sort of dangerous type of cannabis you should stay away from.

However, the truth is way different. 

Skunk cannabis, in the cannabis community, refers to a type of strain that became popular in the 1970s. These strains are known for their characteristic pungent aroma and high THC content in the flowers. Plus, skunk cannabis strains are also quite easy to grow, delivering high-quality yields under various conditions and growing methods.

Skunk cannabis gets its name from the North American mammal, the skunk, thanks to its skunk-like smell. The strain has been linked to the animal ever since its inception because it smells like a skunk’s spray. However, many cannabis enthusiasts will tell you that the aroma isn’t necessarily bad. 

Of course, nothing can beat the skunkiness of the original Skunk #1, but even the modern skunk strains have a distinctly strong aroma. Today, modern strains have the unmistakable pungent odor of the old Skunk #1. Both the taste and the aroma can be sharp and remind you of freshly cut limes. 

Although it’s not uncommon for many people to refer to the skunk strain like it’s obnoxious, the popularity of the strain refuses to fade. Even growers in colder climates are fond of the skunk today, just like they adored it decades ago. 

In short, the skunk is synonymous with “seedless” or “sensimilla” buds that are much more powerful than regular strains. 

And that’s not all — there are at least three reasons behind skunk cannabis’ popularity.

The Skunky Aroma

The most notable aspect of skunk cannabis is its pungent aroma. It’s unique, and many cannabis lovers choose skunk cannabis strains for this very reason. And these strains smell like this due to a rich terpene profile. The aroma has a hint of garlic, burnt rubber, musk, and gas with a heavy dose of limes, making it unmistakable.

All the skunk strains are derivatives of one strain called Skunk #1, which is a hybrid of Afghan, Colombian Gold, and Acapulco Gold, hailing from Afghanistan, Colombia, and Mexico, respectively.

Unique, Intense High

Did you know that skunk cannabis was so popular back in the day that the term skunk has now become synonymous with potent cannabis strains for many growers — just like how Xerox has become a synonym for photocopies?

Even today, skunk cannabis is known for its high. Open the buds and you are first met with the strong aroma. And when you smoke the buds, the aroma fills the room, with its taste flooding your tongue and nose.

And with a THC of over 20%, you can expect a powerful, stimulating high. The high generally lasts longer, offering a blissful experience even if you smoke just a little.  

Ease of Growing

Skunk cannabis strains are known around the world for being quite easy to grow even for beginners. These strains are best suited for indoor environments, but they can thrive outdoors too as long as the temperature and relative humidity are right. 

Plus, these strains are resilient and consistent — they offer consistent quality and yield in most cases unless something has gone wrong. 

However, skunk strains are also notorious to produce aromas that can attract a lot of attention. If you’re growing any skunk strain, make sure you use techniques that curb the fragrance as much as possible. 

What’s the History of Skunk Cannabis?


Image Credit - SkunkyDog

Skunk cannabis was first produced in California back in the 1970s — the ultimate hippie era! During those years, cannabis consumed in the USA was largely imported from India, the Middle East, and South America.

Some growers at the time decided to experiment with the diverse strains available in the market from bag seeds, leading to a rise in cannabis cultivation and paving the way for what we now know as skunk cannabis.

If you know your cannabis history, you may be aware of Mendocino Joe, Maple Leaf Wilson, and Sam the Skunkman — the three founding fathers of pot as we know it. They teamed up to crossbreed the strains from the Middle East with their South American counterparts, giving birth to Skunk #1 — the legendary strain that is still the favorite of many cannabis users.

What made Skunk #1 so incredible was its mixture of exotic genetics including the Colombian and Acapulco Gold, and a heavy dose of an Afghan variety. Both Colombian and Acapulco Gold are powerful sativa landrace strains that hail from the Acapulco region located in Mexico.

Since all the three strains were extremely powerful, the combination produced a new strain that not only offered an uplifting high but also helped the user relax after a long day. 

What made it a bigger temptation for most cannabis growers was that it sported a very short flowering period, and exuded delicious aromas. Well, many may not find it “delicious” but it has its own fan following, specifically for the aromas. Despite the presence of landrace sativas, Skunk #1 leaned more towards Indica genetics and also produced gigantic yields.

All skunk varieties you see today were bred from the very famous Skunk #1.

Coming back to the experiment, it was a great success. Needless to say, Sacred Seeds spread the strain all over America. But at the same time, America experienced the emergence of the War on Drugs, which led to the Skunkman’s incarceration in 1982.

When he was free, Skunkman found that his precious seeds were not well guarded, so he broke into the facility and reclaimed thousands of seeds, including five popular strains and Skunk #1. He crossed the ocean and reached Amsterdam with the seeds, where Skunk #1 turned out to be an instant favorite of the Dutch people. 

Other reports suggest that the strain was crossed originally in 1969 in California. Regardless of various stories, the seeds were up for sale in many regions of the USA by 1980. Some seeds may also have made their way to Europe, but the folks in the Netherlands could experiment with the first variety of skunk by 1982. 

Incredibly, breeders have stored the very first seeds even today. Without a doubt, Skunk has been responsible for producing many strains that resemble it in vigor, aroma, and effects. 

But how did the various derivatives of Skunk #1 come into existence? Well, Skunk #1 was notoriously aromatic — cops started busting up Skunk #1 plantations all across the US by simply following their noses. 

And this led to growers further innovating the strain, leading to various offsprings that didn’t have the same distinct odor, such as Shiva Skunk, Lemon Skunk, and Blueberry Skunk. 

What are the Best Skunk Strains?

Super skunk

Image Credit - MrYuk

All the skunk strains come from Skunk #1, but today, there are many unique flavors available in the skunk family itself. You have a wide spectrum of strains you can choose from, depending on your goals, high, yield, taste, etc. 

Do note that despite the many differences, all the skunk strains offer a similar flavor and effect due to their shared genetics. Originally, skunk strains offered an uplifting, energizing effect. Thanks to its origins, it was regarded as a strain that could stimulate you, rather than make you feel couch-locked. The body high was minimal, compared to the strong cerebral high. 

However, just like the animal skunk that sprays a foul-smelling odor to ward off enemies, the Skunk strain was famous mainly for its aroma. Apart from the sharp citrusy aroma, you’d also sense a musky combination of spices and sugar. Thankfully, most strains bred today resemble the original Skunk #1. 

In the 2000s, the cannabis industry soared in popularity, with users demanding to legalize the herb like never before. At the same point, cannabidiol or CBD became super famous as a miraculous cannabinoid that could somewhat reduce the adverse effects produced by THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. 

Every day, more and more companies joined the fray and began producing products made with CBD. By 2018, demand for legal skunk varieties became very apparent. Therefore, breeders began experimenting with various genetics to produce skunk strains with higher ratios of CBD compared to THC. 

In countries like Europe, products containing less than 0.2% THC are considered legal. In the USA, the number is stretched just a bit to 0.3%. Many users prefer CBD because they find it difficult to handle strains consisting of high amounts of THC. Thus, thanks to breeders, you can obtain skunk legally and enjoy the effects it has to offer without experiencing psychoactive effects. 

Here are a few popular skunk strains:

Skunk #1

The list would never be complete without mentioning the original legend — Skunk #1. As mentioned already, it originated somewhere around the 70s and all the modern varieties are a part of its family. 

You can also go for CBD skunks containing lots of CBD if you do not want THC. Regardless of the presence of either cannabinoid, you can recognize skunks by their distinctive odor and taste. 


Growers crossbred Skunk #1 with Cinderalla 99 and Jack Herer to produce Amnesia, which is known to leave you in a daze after you smoke it — as the name suggests. This high is thanks to 20% THC levels. So, we do not recommend it for newbies. 

Amnesia offers a sour, gasoline-like flavor with a citrusy undernote. And if you want to grow it, you can do so easily while enjoying a decent yield. Just remember that it tends to grow tall, so you need to plan for it.

Shiva Skunk

One of the original derivatives of Skunk #1 is the Shiva Skunk, produced by crossing Skunk #1 and Northern Lights #5. It is known for its sedating, relaxing high, and distinctly skunky aroma even among skunk strains. 

Many cannabis users prefer this strain not only for its high but also for its flavor, which is a mix of earthy and fruity notes with hints of mint and berries. And since this is an Indica-dominant strain, it is also quite easy to grow. 

Orange Bud

While the name may not sound like a skunk, this is indeed skunk cannabis, containing one of the purest genetics. Ever since its emergence in the 1980s, this strain has garnered cult status in the cannabis community. 

Orange Bud produces a euphoric, energetic high that can drive your creative brain muscles. And its high THC content is shrouded in a taste of nectarines and oranges, making it a pleasant strain to smoke. 

Island Sweet Skunk

Island Sweet Skunk was first developed in Canada, offering an energetic effect that Skunk #1 was known for but without a strong aroma. Instead, this strain’s aroma is more on the side of sweet citrus. It contains 19% THC, leading to a stimulating and euphoric high.

What’s All the Fuss About?

Super skunk

Image Credit - MrYuk

Everything mentioned earlier refers to the good skunk cannabis, but there is another type of skunk cannabis that often gets confused with the good skunk — synthetic or street cannabis.

Thanks to the media and a lot of misinformation regarding cannabis in general, many people assume that skunk weed or skunk cannabis is usually found on the streets. Now we all know that street weed — unless you know the dealer pretty well and can vouch for him — is dangerous because we're clueless about what they use to grow the herb. 

Moreover, street weed dealers are notorious to mix cannabis with other substances to deliver a powerful high that cannot be compared to natural cannabis. In short, many people think that skunk cannabis is a street weed, but that's simply not true. On the other hand, the skunk is one of the most popular cannabis strains you can find even today.

Some people in the media have gone far enough to claim that the skunk is more powerful than street cannabis and even concentrates such as hash. They also categorize skunk strains as the reason for causing mental disorders in users. However, the truth is that skunk is just like any other type of cannabis. Yes, it's powerful, but it's definitely not street weed. What's more, it is considered one of the most legendary strains that have been used for decades to breed innumerable modern cultivars.

So, is skunk dangerous? It depends on who is talking. The cannabis community largely knows the distinction between skunk cannabis and street cannabis — the latter may be dangerous if it is laced with synthetic cannabis. 

However, the skunk family of strains is not at all dangerous, as the media portrays it to be. It is just like any other cannabis. 

But, you should know that skunk cannabis is still more potent than most other cannabis strains — they contain high THC levels unless you’ve specifically bought or grown skunks with high CBD levels. So, it is a good idea to take some precautions while smoking skunk cannabis for the first time, such as the following:

  1. Start low and work your way up to bigger doses or joints 
  2. Avoid smoking skunk cannabis strains if you are not in the right state of mind to avoid a bad trip 
  3. If you are new to cannabis in general, you should first build up your tolerance with regular cannabis before moving on to skunk cannabis
  4. Eat well and be hydrated while smoking skunk cannabis 

So, why did the Skunk become so infamous? Well, it has a lot to do with its strength and some misinformation as well. In the early days, regular cannabis wasn’t as strong as the buds we find today. Some modern strains available now can contain almost 30% THC, making even veteran users uncomfortable. 

If you smoke large amounts of high-THC cannabis, you will experience some negative side effects, although it’s only for a short time. It’s very similar to smoking large amounts of concentrates that have the power to blow you away. 

In the 70s, breeders began breeding various strains with great enthusiasm. They also realized that there was a great demand for high THC among users. Over the years, the breeders began developing strains with a major goal to produce knock-out strains with the amounts of THC increasingly slowly every now and then. These strains were called hybrids since they were bred by combining two or more strains with noticeable characteristics in demand. 

Apart from the breeders, even regular users took more interest in cultivating strains themselves. As the market exploded, information that was hard to get before became easily available to people through the internet. Videos and articles about how you could grow cannabis at home started becoming more common. 

However, most people didn’t stop to consider the effects of increasing the percentages of THC. Unaware of its potential, a race among breeders to create strains with the highest possible levels of THC was common. Even users began finding ways to cultivate strains with high THC, thanks to the availability of sophisticated fertilizers that delivered everything the plants wanted. 

As the herb began to display more and more THC, its effects also began to show among users. Decades ago, cannabis wasn’t as strong and users could truly experience the medicinal effects with appropriate ratios of CBD and THC. However, with the emergence of hybrids with extraordinary amounts of THC, the negative effects have also increased. 

Later, as the War on Drugs caught on, Skunk was more of a scapegoat. If anyone mentioned Skunk, they’d usually refer to street weed that caused extreme intoxication, paranoia, and hallucinations. What’s ironic is that the original Skunk #1 wasn’t as powerful as modern strains, but it garnered negative attention due to all the misinformation spread about it. 

Fortunately, breeders understand the effects of high THC today. A variety of strains with decent ratios of both CBD and THC are available. With legalization comes regulations, and breeders also know the ramifications of producing hybrids with extraordinarily high THC. 

Overall, we can only be hopeful that the industry isn’t cornered again due to rumors and misinformation. The emergence of medical cannabis is a big plus, and people are accepting cannabis as Mother Nature’s gift more than ever. 

Summary: Your Guide to Skunk Cannabis

Skunk cannabis gets a bad name, or rather, the wrong name. Thanks to click-bait media and sloppy journalism, a legendary strain was confused with street weed and synthetic cannabis. Primarily, any type of cannabis that delivered a powerful high was branded “Skunk” by many people. 

That said, synthetic cannabis is bad and should be avoided at all costs. However, you should know that there’s no connection between the original Skunk #1 or its descendants with synthetic cannabis. Skunk simply refers to a family of strains that offer cerebral effects. Sure, the effects are stronger than normal strains. Therefore, you should be cautious if you’re a beginner. You should probably try other milder strains before going for strong ones. 

If you don’t want to try THC at all, there are various options of Skunk hybrids bred with CBD strains available today. You can also make CBD concentrates and enjoy them at your leisure. If you want to experience the entourage effects of the plant, go for strains containing equal amounts of THC and CBD so that you won’t see too many negative effects. 

That said, be careful when you procure your skunk cannabis. The cannabis community is also not immune to misconceptions. Some sellers use the term skunk cannabis for cheap cannabis or street cannabis. Do your research and source your skunk cannabis from reputable sources only. 

And if you don’t mind taking some steps to curb the skunky smell, you should even consider growing skunk cannabis in your garden. Many growers who have started growing skunk strains swear they will never go back!


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Great to read some skunk history, for real its been demonised by the press and governments.