Does CBD smell like weed?
We get asked this question a lot.
And the answer is, it sort of depends on the CBD product you're using. Generally, though, CBD oil doesn't have much of an odor. But there are some CBD products that do give off a weed-like smell.
This is because hemp-derived CBD products come from the same plant species as marijuana, and share many of the same terpenes.
So if you're curious about whether your CBD oil will smell like weed, keep reading! We'll explain what to look for and how to choose the right CBD product for you.
- Cannabinoids like CBD and THC don't have a scent or flavor.
- The compounds that are responsible for the scent of weed and hemp are terpenes, which are aromatic compounds found in all botanicals.
- Hemp and marijuana can smell the same because they're the same cannabis sativa plant, which shares many of the same terpenes—but differs significantly in effects due to their cannabinoid profiles.
- Your hemp-derived CBD products can smell a bit like weed if they're made with full spectrum or broad spectrum hemp extracts as they contain terpenes to support the entourage effect.
- Carrier oils may also affect how your product tastes and smells, but common carrier oils like hemp seed oil and MCT oil do not smell like weed.
Hemp Vs. Marijuana: What's The Difference?
Hemp and marijuana are varieties of the cannabis sativa plant.
The word "cannabis" is often used interchangeably with marijuana or high-THC cannabis plant strains.
Botanists and cannabis enthusiasts know that hemp and marijuana as chemotypes, broad categories of the plants but with very different chemical compositions—referring to the cannabinoids and their biological effects.
Up until the 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government didn't have a distinction between the two and were both under the list of Controlled Substances. The latest revision of the Farm Bill defined hemp plants as having less than 0.3% THC and removed it from the list of Controlled Substances as trace amounts of THC don't produce psychoactive effects. On top of this, hemp has a variety of uses as a crop from textiles, to building materials, and biodiesel.
Does CBD Smell Like THC Weed?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most abundant cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (both hemp and marijuana).
Even if your CBD product come from the hemp plant—and not the marijuana variety, it may give off a very strong smell that's instantly recognizable.
The cannabinoid molecules don't actually have a scent or a flavor—yet many people often report that their CBD smells like marijuana flowers.
What is going on here?
What you're actually smelling are terpenes.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found throughout the plant kingdom. If you're familiar with essential oils, terpenes make up a large component of what you smell and their effects in aromatherapy.
For example, the terpene myrcene is also found in mangos and is known to support inflammation and discomfort. The terpene limonene (also present in citrus fruits), on the other hand, is known to boost mood and energize the mind.
There are dozens of different terpenes that have been identified in cannabis plants, and each one has its own unique set of effects.
Terpenes can also interact with other compounds in the plant, such as cannabinoids, to produce different effects in the entourage effect.
Related Article: What Are Terpenes & Their Potential Benefits?
Tell Me The Importance Of Terpenes In Cannabis Plants
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give plants their characteristic smells. They also play an important role in plant physiology, helping to protect against herbivores and pests, regulate temperature, and attract pollinators.
While the exact reasons for why plants produce terpenes are still being studied, it is clear that they provide a variety of benefits that help plants thrive.
In fact, the production of terpenes is thought to be one of the key factors that allowed certain plants to colonize land and become the dominant form of vegetation on Earth. So next time you enjoy the smell of a cannabis bud or taste the resin of a pine tree, remember that you are experiencing the result of millions of years of evolution.
What Do Terpenes Smell Like?
When it comes to cannabis, there is a lot of talk about THC and CBD. But what about terpenes? These aromatic compounds are found in all sorts of plants, and they give each one its unique smell.
Terpenes can play an important role in the effects as well as strain identification.
For example, myrcene is known for its earthy, musky smell. It is also known for its sedative effects, which is why it is often used in products designed to promote relaxation. Another common cannabis terpene is limonene, which has a citrusy smell. This terpene is known for its mood-enhancing effects, making it a popular choice for those looking to improve their mood.
There are dozens of different cannabis terpenes, each with its own distinct smell and set of effects.
The Different Hemp Extract Types & Their Terpene Content
There are three main types of hemp extracts: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. The type of extract your CBD product is made from can affect how it smells.
- Full-spectrum hemp extract is made from the whole plant and contains all of the plant's natural compounds, including THC (0.3%) and high terpene content. This extract has a strong weed-like smell and flavor because of the terpenes. The strain of hemp used, growing conditions, and how it was extracted will affect the terpenes present in the final product.
- Broad-spectrum hemp extract is also made from the whole plant, but it goes through a process to remove the THC. This extract has a milder smell because of the extra processing stage. It still maintains many of the natural terpenes, but because they are very sensitive to processing, it may lose terpene potency.
- CBD isolate is a highly refined hemp extract that eliminates all other cannabinoids and terpenes, leaving behind pure CBD. This extract doesn't have a smell because of the lack of terpenes and CBD itself is odorless and flavorless.
Carrier Oil Flavors
But why is that? For one thing, carrier oils help to ensure that the CBD is evenly distributed throughout the product.
The carrier oil also helps to improve absorption, as cannabinoids are fat-soluble compounds that are hydrophobic. Since the body is made up of over 75% water, consuming CBD with fat helps to transport the CBD through the digestive system to aid in bioavailability.
The type of carrier oil used can affect the smell and taste of your CBD oil.
The most common carrier oils for CBD are hemp seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and MCT oil.
Hemp seed oil doesn't smell like weed—but it does have a unique scent and flavor that's also high in fatty acids. Hemp seed oil is made from cold pressing the hemp seeds, and it has a nutty, earthy flavor that's often used in culinary dishes.
The next most popular option for CBD carrier oil is MCT oil. MCT stands for medium-chain triglyceride and it's usually made from palm kernel oil or coconut oil it's highly refined to isolate the medium fat chains, which the body is better suited to absorb and use as energy. MCT oils don't have a flavor or aroma, which allows the natural terpenes from the hemp extract to shine. Alternatively, you can find CBD isolate mixed in with an MCT oil for a completely tasteless oil.
Does CBD Flower Smell?
CBD flower or hemp flower smells like weed because of the terpenes concentrated on the resin glands on the flower. Some common terpenes include myrcene, pinene, and limonene. Each strain of cannabis has a unique blend of terpenes that contribute to its distinctive smell and taste.
So, if you plan on using CBD flower or Neurogan pre-rolled Neurogettes made from 100% hemp, keep in mind that it will smell like weed because hemp and marijuana share many of the same terpenes. Although they smell alike, only the THC levels will produce psychoactive effects, so CBD flower and Neurogettes will not get you high.
The Takeaway: Does CBD Oil Smell Like Weed?
CBD may smell like weed but it isn't because of the cannabinoids. Terpenes are actually what's responsible for the flavor and scent of cannabis.
Since hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, they share many of the same terpenes, which lends to the distinct weed scent. But you don't have to worry about getting high from hemp and CBD products because it smells like weed—the psychoactive component of marijuana is THC and not the terpenes, although terpenes do have their own set of unique benefits, none of them are found to be intoxicating.