Does CBD Smell Like Weed?

If you’ve ever been curious about CBD, you’ve probably wondered whether it has an odor. And when it comes to body care, what a product smells like is certainly top of mind. Like all things in life, the answer is both simple and complex. We’ll explain and get you all the info you’re looking for and more.

Hand touching hemp plant stem

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound that’s found in the hemp plant. Since it was legalized in the U.S. in 2018, CBD oil and powder has rapidly become mainstream in lotions, soaps, deodorants, consumables, and more.

When you see the term CBD, it actually encompasses three different types, each containing varying components of the hemp plant:

Full Spectrum CBD – Full spectrum CBD contains all components naturally found in the hemp plant, most notably CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, and up to 0.3% THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the component that can get you high.
Broadspectrum CBD – Similar to full spectrum CBD, broadspectrum CBD contains all of the aforementioned compounds of the hemp plant, like CBD, terpenes, and flavonoids, however, it has undergone a process to remove THC to a non-detectable amount.
CBD Isolate – As the name suggests, CBD isolate is pure CBD. It does not contain any of the aforementioned compounds from the hemp plant.

woman smelling hemp plant

Does CBD have an odor?

Yes and no. CBD, on its own, does not have an odor. So if a product contains CBD isolate, then it will not have a smell from the CBD.

However, full spectrum CBD and broadspectrum CBD oils do have a smell. Full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD are produced from the entire hemp plant, including the leaves, stems, and flowers. The flowers, or buds as they’re commonly called, contain something called terpenes.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally-occurring aromatic compounds, found in nearly all plants, that give off a particular smell. In the case of hemp, terpenes are responsible for its distinct aromatic profile. These organic compounds are also a main component of a plant’s essential oils. You’ve undoubtedly smelled the aromas of terpenes before. Think rosemary, sage, lemons, limes, and the like.

The hemp plant contains more than 150 terpenes. Terpenes are believed to enhance the therapeutic benefits of CBD1. This is known as the “entourage effect”, a synergistic interaction between several different components. When combined with cannabinoids, including CBD, and other compounds, such as flavonoids, terpenes are thought to help maximize the effects of each part2. A case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

If your CBD product has a hemp or weed-like aroma, then you’re smelling the terpenes, and their presence is intentional to give you the most out of the CBD.

What does CBD smell like?

Broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD oils have a distinct herbaceous scent profile, much like the plant itself. The fresh, herbal, tangy scent with bitter notes becomes a bit more earthy as it evaporates. Some people compare it to the smell of grass or hay, while others find it to be more similar to that of a lemon.

Four CBD deodorants lined up on a stone

Crafting delightfully scented CBD products

How do we work with the natural aromas of CBD to create the transportive scents our products are known for? We work with broad spectrum hemp extract, so it does indeed have a distinct aroma. When blending the CBD oil with other scents, we typically look for robust aromatics from essential oils and botanical extracts that will balance out the pungent CBD. When you're smelling a product, you're smelling the entire bouquet, terpenes and all.


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Disclaimer: All information provided is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be, nor should be interpreted as, medical advice. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and Humble Brands products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult your physician or other qualified health provider with questions you have regarding your health. Although every effort has been made to ensure the information published is accurate, Humble Brands accepts no responsibility or liability.