Let’s discuss that ever-brought-up question: Does CBD smell like weed? CBD flower and oil can smell like weed when smoked and vaped, but usually less strong than traditional marijuana. Following THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most predominant component in cannabis. Known for its many benefits, CBD can be taken in its natural form as smoked flower and manufactured into oil which is then turned into more products.
Although there are many different ways to consume CBD, the most popular forms among fans are smoking or vaping, because they are quick and easy! Let’s talk about CBD, why it smells the way it does, and how to avoid that subtle weed smell while using CBD products.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (or CBD for short) is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant alongside THC, the component we most associate with weed. People take CBD to ease symptoms of nervousness, discomfort, swelling, and other afflictions. CBD is considered an alternative to traditional medicine that benefits overall physical and mental wellness. It does not cause the same feelings of being “high” that marijuana does. CBD is from hemp plants that only contain 0.3% THC or less, while marijuana has a much higher content. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the regulated production of hemp plants as an agricultural commodity, as long as they have little to no THC.
Are All CBD Products the Same?
Not all CBD products are created the same. They are consumed in different ways and have varying amounts of CBD potencies that benefit people in different ways. They also have their own distinct aromas, tastes, and qualities.
Cannabis plants come in two strains: indica and sativa. These are the two types of cannabis from which all CBD comes from. Today almost every strain is a hybrid mix of the two, with one being more dominant than the other. Indica-dominant strains tend to have heady effects that cause you to get sleepy and relaxed, while sativa-dominant strains, such as Honolulu Haze CBD, produce a whole-body effect that energizes and inspires.
Every strain of CBD serves a different purpose, and hybrids can combine the features of any previous strains to create a wholly new product. The famous Girl Scout Cookies strain, for example, is the offspring of Durban Poison and OG Kush!
Every strain has a unique smell and tastes thanks to a combination of cannabinoids like terpenes and flavonoids. When you smell the Purple Haze strain, you will notice it has a sweet aroma characterized by its vibrant, purple buds. Purple Haze cannabis products tend to taste spicy and have undertones of earthy berries. You can find similar strains to this, but none will be exactly the same.
And that’s just flower! What about vape juice? Vape cartridges contain various terpenes that give each one a delicious smell and taste. Cartridges most often do not smell or taste like cannabis at all!
Better yet, CBD capsules and soft gels barely have a scent or flavor at all.
If you want a product that has its scent completely disguised, CBD creams are indiscernible from regular skincare products. They come in a variety of standard pleasant fragrances like lavender or watermelon.
By now, you know that CBD comes in many different forms that have different intended uses. Edibles are meant to be eaten, and vapes are to be inhaled, and so on. CBD oil, flower, concentrates, and gummies are all edible forms of CBD that are ingested orally and processed in the body differently from inhalants or topicals.
What Can Impact the Smell of CBD?
Multiple factors determine the smell of CBD, beginning with molecular-level particles called terpenes. Terpenes are found in every plant, which creates their flavor and scent. Cannabis terpenes are cannabinoids that drive the experience of CBD. They can make us sleepy, energetic, or relaxed. They are also responsible for the flavor and fragrance of cannabis products.
The most common terpenes in CBD are listed below.
- Pinene: As the name suggests, pinene smells a lot like fresh pine trees. This terpene is found in conifer trees, basil, eucalyptus, and parsley. It’s also found in strains like Hawaiian Haze, OG Kush, and Skywalker OG to give them their spicy profiles.
- Limonene: Limonene gives citrus fruits their scent. Limes, lemons, and oranges all contain large amounts of limonene, which give them that characteristic fresh fruit smell.
- Linalool: Strains like Sour Diesel and Scooby Snacks contain high amounts of linalool, which have floral, sweet scents similar to lavender plants.
- Myrcene: This terpene is responsible for the classic skunky smell marijuana has, although it is often naturally found in fresh-scented plants like mango, basil, ylang-ylang, and lemongrass.
- Humulene: The famed herbal aroma of the terpene humulene is found in hops, which give beer their well-known earthy odor. Strains with high amounts of humulene will have the scent of hops, clove, black pepper, or sage-like that of Lifter and Bubba Kush.
- Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene is in most CBD strains and has a peppery or spicy scent like cinnamon or cloves. Cherry Wine and Northern Lights are both strains abundant with this terpene.
The form of CBD you choose impacts how it smells because its cannabinoids are either altered or have other substances added.
CBD flower has the most prominent scents. You are likely to recognize the smell of CBD when it is in this form because it contains all the cannabinoids found naturally in the hemp plant. Other forms like CBD isolate are odorless and flavorless because it is CBD in its purest form. This means all other cannabinoids like terpenes have been eliminated from their form, leaving behind just cannabidiol which has no flavor or smell.
The usual hemp oil or CBD oil smell tends to have an earthy scent less identifiable as a traditional “weed” odor. CBD oil usually has a carrier oil added to it like coconut oil which slightly alters the product’s smell.
Does CBD Smell Like Weed?
CBD can smell like weed, but it doesn’t always. Because they both come from the hemp plant, both CBD and marijuana buds can have similar smells. What we traditionally think of as a “weed smell” is only expressed in a few kinds of terpenes, while the rest can range from citrusy, floral, or spicy. In general, CBD flower does not smell as strong as high-quality marijuana. However, the gap between the scents is diminishing as the legalization of hemp expands the range of CBD strains. The more strains that exist, the more likely they are to smell identical.
How Strong is the Smell of CBD?
The smell of CBD depends on the product, strain, and quality of the CBD. CBD has a very mild scent compared to marijuana, but premium CBD products will smell the least like traditional weed.
Does the Smell of CBD Change Depending on the Method of Consumption?
It can! Flower will likely smell the strongest when it is smoked or burned. However, if you consume it another way (as you do when you cook with CBD flower), the scent will be less prominent, if at all present.
When it burns, CBD flower is similar to the smell of marijuana. When vaping, however, the smell will be less noticeable as it’s disguised with added terpenes. Other products like CBD oil and wax will have a light, earthy scent. With edibles, the CBD smell will be almost unnoticeable.
Which CBD Product is Best for Me?
That depends on what you like! If you don’t mind the smell of cannabis, you have free reign to choose whatever product you like. If you’re not a fan, you might want to look into forms that smell more pleasing to you or even ones that don’t smell at all.
The product you choose also depends on your reason for consuming CBD. If you need fast-acting relief, vaping CBD flower or smoking CBD pre-rolls will provide you with instant results. If you want more discretion in your CBD dosing, then a capsule or gummy is the way to go.
Consider the pros and cons of the product and decide if the smell is a really big factor for you!
Final Thoughts – Does CBD Smell Like Weed
While CBD is not as strong-smelling as marijuana, it can have a similar aroma. This is especially true if you choose a form that emits a stronger odor, like smoking CBD flower. For a more subtle aroma, choosing CBD products that aren’t burned are best as they will have extra terpenes and substances added. The strength of the smell depends on the quality of the CBD, the type of product you pick, and the strain of CBD. The better quality CBD you get, the less it will smell.
It’s important to remember that all plants have terpenes that give them their unique scents and flavors. Finding the combination of terpenes you like the most will certainly help you find a CBD product that is most appealing to your senses.