Cannabis enthusiasts have long been fascinated by the diverse range of aromas found in different strains. From earthy and piney to fruity and tropical, these scents play a significant role in our cannabis experience. Recently, scientists made an exciting discovery that sheds light on the chemistry behind those tantalising tropical aromas: Tropicannasulfur compounds (TCSCs).

What Are TCSCs?

TCSCs are a trio of volatile sulphur compounds found in certain cannabis varieties. These compounds contribute to the distinctive tropical fragrances that evoke images of sunny beaches, palm trees, and exotic fruits. Let’s explore each member of this aromatic trio:

  1. 3MHA (3-Methyl-2-butene-1-thiol):
    • Aroma Profile: Imagine the sweet, tangy scent of a ripe tangerine. That’s 3MHA at work! It’s responsible for those juicy “tangie” notes in tropical strains.
    • Role: 3MHA adds brightness and freshness to the overall aroma profile.
  2. 3MH (3-Methyl-2-butanol):
    • Aroma Profile: 3MH contributes depth and richness. Think of it as the underlying harmony in a tropical symphony.
    • Role: It complements 3MHA, creating a more complex and multifaceted scent.
  3. 3MHB (3-Methyl-2-buten-1-ol):
    • Aroma Profile: 3MHB brings its own unique character—a blend of fruity and floral notes.
    • Role: Together with 3MHA and 3MH, it completes the tropical fragrance ensemble.

The Discovery

The breakthrough came when researchers at Abstrax, a cannabis aroma science company, delved into the chemistry of exotic strains. Using advanced analytical techniques, they identified TCSCs as key players in tropical aromas. The team’s findings revolutionised our understanding of cannabis terpenes and their impact on scent perception.

Beyond Terpenes: Sulphur Compounds

While terpenes (such as myrcene, limonene, and pinene) dominate discussions about cannabis aromas, sulphur compounds have largely remained in the shadows. TCSCs represent a new frontier in aroma science, highlighting the importance of these lesser-known molecules.

Why Tropical Strains?

Tropical strains like Tropicanna and Pineapple Express are beloved for their uplifting, mood-enhancing effects. Their vibrant aromas play a significant role in creating a sensory experience that transports us to sun-kissed paradises. Now we know that TCSCs are major contributors to these delightful scents.

Implications for Cultivators and Consumers

For cannabis cultivators, understanding TCSCs opens up exciting possibilities. By selectively breeding and optimising cultivation conditions, they can enhance or emphasise specific aromas. Consumers, too, can appreciate the science behind their favourite strains and make informed choices based on aroma preferences.

In Conclusion

Next time you inhale the tropical bouquet of your favourite cannabis strain, remember the unsung heroes—the TCSCs—that make it all possible. These sulphur compounds weave a fragrant tapestry, connecting us to distant shores and sun-drenched memories.


  1. The Science of Exotic Cannabis III: The Trio of Tropicanna
  2. Abstrax Revolutionises Cannabis Aroma Science with the Discovery of Tropicannasulfur Compounds (TCSCs)
  3. Minor, Nonterpenoid Volatile Compounds Drive the Aroma Differences of Cannabis Varieties. ACS Omega, 2023, 8, 4, 2359–2367
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