Does CBD Oil Smell


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It depends on several factors, such as the potency of the CBD oil, what carrier oil was used, what terpenes are present, etc. Wondering about does CBD Oil smell? Generally, only CBD products made from high-grade, full-spectrum extracts will smell like weed. 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 pla

Does CBD Smell Like Weed? CBD Oil Smell For Beginners

When it comes to smells, there are few things that divide people more than the distinct scent of cannabis. Some love it, while others don’t – and that’s perfectly fair.

But after being on the market for some time, millions are familiar – and seemingly fine – with the hemp oil smell.

Does CBD smell like weed? The answer is complicated and simple at the same time. To answer the question, we need to deconstruct cannabis plants and see how they affect the CBD oil smell.

Does CBD Smell Like Weed?

Yes, CBD smells like weed because it is weed. Contrary to popular belief, marijuana and hemp aren’t real plants. The words aren’t used in botany, medicine, or any scientific field.

Understanding the Cannabis Plant

The word “cannabis” is also used interchangeably with THC “marijuana” strains. However, cannabis is a plant genus, not a species.

Marijuana and hemp are chemotypes (broad categories for plants genetically similar but chemically distinct) of the species cannabis sativa L. (or simply “cannabis sativa). Specifically, hemp belongs to the third cannabis chemotype (Chemotype III), referring to cannabis sativa L. plants with overwhelming CBD content, up to 1% THC, used for drug or industrial purposes.

Chemotypes I and II refer to high THC and balanced CBD:THC strains respectively. A fourth and fifth also exist, which don’t focus on THC or CBD.

The term “chemovar” may also come up. A chemovar is a chemotype as well, but its classification goes deeper than just THC. Instead, chemovars take into account terpenes and other cannabinoids.

So why the confusion? We’ll get to that soon. Right now, let’s look at another reason CBD does smell like weed.

Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

Science aside, why do these terms exist? We can attribute it to two things.

The differences between marijuana and hemp boil down to THC content. Anything with less than 0.3% THC is federally legal hemp. “Marijuana” contains over 0.3% THC, making it a federally controlled substance. It’s an easy way to separate legal from illegal products but serves no scientific purpose.

The second reason these terms took off is marketing. Long before the 2018 Farm Bill greenlit federal hemp cultivation, CBD vendors stressed the alleged differences between hemp and marijuana. Consequently, many people were led to believe that hemp and marijuana were two different species.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic oily compounds found throughout the plant kingdom, and cannabis is no exception.

What makes the cannabis plant so unique is that it can contain terpenes from various plant species. Many cannabis chemovars contain limonene or pinene, along with a slew of others.

What are Terpenes for?

What are CBD terpenes for? That depends on who you ask. Humans enjoy terpenes for the flavor they add to fruits and other edible plants, along with many potential therapeutic benefits.

Health supplement companies also extract the terpenes for essential oils, whose scents may have medicinal properties.

Terpene aromas can vary from sweet to spicy and everything in between. Next time you get ahold of some cannabis flower, smell it carefully. You may notice some of the following terpenes and scents.

What do Terpenes Smell Like?

What do terpenes smell like? The better question is “what don’t terpenes smell like?” Terpenes give fruits and plants their aromas. Although cannabis doesn’t have every terpene, it still carries a broad range of these compounds.


Myrcene is the most abundant terpene found in cannabis, more commonly found in strains of the indica variety. Myrcene smells earthy and slightly fruity, with an aroma resembling cloves and grapes.


As its name implies, pinene is common in pine trees, which gives them their distinct forest musky scent.


Identifiable by its pepper and spicy notes, it’s no surprise caryophyllene is common in plants like black pepper. One unique thing is that, unlike other terpenes, caryophyllene acts on our CB2 endocannabinoid receptors. A 2016 paper published in Nutraceuticals refers to caryophyllene as a “dietary cannabinoid.”


Linalool is a terpene that gives lavender its floral scent. It’s a rare cannabinoid compared to myrcene, pinene, or caryophyllene.


Humulene is common in hops, given them their spicy, earthy smell. One reason humulene stands out is that it’s an appetite suppressant. Cannabis high in humulene will lower or eliminate the desire to eat.

Types of CBD Products

Initially limited to hemp oil, the market is full of exciting and innovative options, including:

  • Edibles
  • Drinks
  • Topicals
  • Vape products (oil and e-juice)
  • Joints
  • Imitation cigarettes
  • Capsules
  • Dissolvable powder
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But we’re not nearly done. Any of those CBD products can fall into three main categories.

Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate

Terpene content makes CBD smell like weed – and the other way around. But aroma varies depending on the kind of extract you buy.

Currently, there are three CBD product options, each with advantages and disadvantages.

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD (or “whole-plant”) uses every part of the cannabis plant to extract and retain as many cannabinoids and terpenes as possible. Its goal is to be a carbon copy of the source plant.

As a result, full-spectrum CBD also carries hemp’s full aromatic profile. One sniff of this CBD product will hit you with a potent, “hempy” taste, along with other notes depending on your oil’s terpene content.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is identical to full-spectrum in most respects. The only difference is that broad-spectrum extracts are processed to remove all of the THC, but leave the other compounds untouched. The filtration process can cause collateral damage and reduce the other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Many vendors infuse their products with terpenes after, but this isn’t the same as natural retention. Vendors like Colorado Botanicals minimize the problem with their more efficient proprietary CO2 extraction.

Broad-spectrum is the best choice if you want the benefits of full-spectrum CBD without THC. That being said, the similarity means broad-spectrum CBD smells the same as its full-spectrum counterpart.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is in a league of its own. Isolate extraction filters out everything else, leaving behind a plain, flavorless product containing up to 99% CBD.

Despite its purity, isolate is the least potent choice. Other plant compounds complement – and sometimes control – the nature and intensity of CBD’s effects.

However, isolate is THC-free. Its flavorless, odorless properties make it perfect for dissolvable powders and tinctures for mixing with food.

Isolate may have some faint cannabis hints, but aside from that, don’t expect any scent or flavor.

What Does MCT Oil Taste Like?

MCT oil (medium-chain triglyceride oil) is commonly used as a carrier for CBD oil and other similar products. It also has applications in the food industry.

Although it’s extracted from coconut or palm oil, the process filters out any traces of the source, isolating the MCT.

Much like CBD isolate, MCT oil has no taste or smell.

Does CBD Smell Like Weed When You Smoke?

No, CBD doesn’t smell like weed when you smoke. The cannabis containing your CBD, however, will smell like weed because – again – it is weed.

CBD alone doesn’t give off a smell when you burn it. Just like burning wood has a distinct campfire smell, cannabis’ chemical composition gives it its distinct odor when burnt.

But the burning plant matter’s aroma is universal. If you think your hemp flower is going to smell better, we recommend you step outside before lighting up.

Does CBD Oil Smell Good?

Yes, CBD oil smells good – if you like the smell of cannabis plants. Perhaps the better question is “does CBD oil smell bad?” While many of us may not like that particular aroma, most customers don’t think it smells terrible. If hemp scents aren’t your thing, it won’t be hard to at least tolerate the smell.

Does CBD Oil Smell Like Weed?

We’re often asked and the answer is complex. Many of the CBD-related items you can buy are marketed as ‘fragrance free’ – but when it comes to CBD, that’s not necessarily what you want. Here’s our take on why, in this instance, a little aroma is exactly what you need to answer your question does CBD oil smell?

Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

Science aside, why do these terms exist? We can attribute it to two things.

The differences between marijuana and hemp boil down to THC content. Anything with less than 0.2% THC is legal hemp. “Marijuana” contains over 0.2% THC, making it a controlled substance. It’s an easy way to separate legal from illegal products but serves no scientific purpose.

The best CBD products do, in fact, have a distinctive (perhaps familiar!) scent; the fruity, earthy and woody smell we associate with cannabis. That’s because when creating full spectrum CBD, the entire cannabis plant is used, as the various components work together in harmony. This is known as the ‘entourage effect’; each chemical found in the cannabis plant interacts symbiotically with the other. It’s the inclusion of the plant’s buds or flowers that creates the recognisable fragrance, which is why it’s actually a great thing if your CBD oil smells fairly strongly.

These buds contain terpenes, naturally-occurring hydrocarbons that give all sorts of herbs and flowers their distinctive aromas (think lavender, rosemary or magnolia; all of those amazing smells come from terpenes). The other composite parts of CBD products – THC and CBD itself, for example – are actually odourless, so when you catch that distinctive scent, you know that terpenes are present.

So why not buy a CBD isolate, and reduce the smell? Well, on top of being responsible for scent, terpenes are believed to have therapeutic benefits, so they play a big part in how successful your CBD products are, particularly if you’re using them for their reputed relaxing or pain relieving properties.

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Does CBD Oil smell and what do Terpenes Smell Like?

Terpenes are also a key element of full spectrum CBD’s entourage effect, as they help the body to absorb some of CBD’s most powerful actors. They work by enhancing the chemicals’ ability to cross the blood-brain barrier which increases the product’s efficacy. This is why some CBD manufacturers boost their products’ terpene profile, adding beneficial terpenes such as Beta caryophyllene, Myrcene, Limonene and Pinene after the CBD has been extracted; this makes their products work even harder for you.

These terpenes are all present in foods we eat and plants we use daily. Beta caryophyllene features in cloves, rosemary and hops, myrcene is found in bay leaves, limonene is what gives citrus fruits their zesty fragrance and Pinene is in pretty much any herb you can think of, from basil to parsley. Each one works in a slightly different way, so look out for which terpenes are used when you’re establishing which product is right for you. They can alter the flavour, too, making it fruitier or more earthy.

So it turns out that, given the myriad plus points of a high terpene content in CBD, it makes sense to seek products on the smellier side – it’s likely to mean they’ll benefit you better!

Does CBD Smell Like Weed?

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.

Key Takeaways:
  • 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.

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.

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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

If you’ve ever taken a close look at the ingredients list on a CBD product, you may have noticed that it always includes a carrier oil.

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.

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