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Does CBD Smell Like Weed? What Does It Smell Like?

CBD flower may sometimes give off that unmistakable strong weed smell. But don't blame it on CBD. Remember that CBD itself has no aroma or flavor. The culprits behind the weed-like smell are aromatic compounds called terpenes.

Terpenes are organic compounds present in all botanicals, including cannabis. Besides giving cannabis its signature smell, terpenes also boost the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids.

Users of CBD products may be particular about the smell and ask, “Does CBD smell like weed?” Some folks love their CBD products smelling like weed. Others prefer them odorless, so they're not mistaken to be using marijuana. Read on to discover how to pick the ideal CBD product that matches your smell preferences.

Hemp and Marijuana: What Sets Them Apart?

Hemp and marijuana come from the Cannabis plant lineage, specifically Cannabis sativa. For decades, federal law listed hemp and marijuana as controlled substances. But things changed when President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill.

According to the Farm Bill, hemp is a cannabis plant that has not more than 0.3% THC content. As a result, hemp won't get you high like marijuana does. In contrast, marijuana has over 0.3% THC and will get you intoxicated.

Because hemp is legal, all hemp-derived CBD products are also legal. In fact, the Farm Bill transformed hemp into a mainstream agricultural crop and also allowed the transportation of hemp-derived products across state borders.

On the other hand, the Controlled Substances Act still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Some states have legalized it for medical or recreational use. But you can't cross state lines with marijuana because of federal restrictions.

What Are Terpenes and What Role Do They Play in Cannabis Plants

The unique terpene composition of a cannabis strain determines its aroma and effects. For instance, the terpenes in Cherry Pie combine to give it a scent reminiscent of freshly baked sweet and sour cherry pie. Likewise, Sour Diesel owes its pungent and gassy aroma to specific terpenes.

Still, terpenes go beyond fragrance. They also wield significant influence in distinguishing the effects of various strains. Here are a few of the popular terpenes found in cannabis:


Myrcene sets the stage for sedative properties with its earthy and musky scent. Strains abundant in myrcene often induce relaxation and a soothing experience.


Limonene has a delightful citrusy aroma and flavor. It promotes relaxation and enhances feelings of well-being.


Linalool has spicy and floral notes and carries potent relaxation properties. It can help stabilize mood and create a tranquil atmosphere.


Caryophyllene exudes a spicy aroma and fosters a sense of well-being and balance.


This terpene releases a refreshing minty scent and offers a cooling effect on the body.

That said, terpenes in cannabis don't only interact with each other. They also work together with other hemp plant compounds to create the entourage effect.

The entourage effect is what you get from consuming a cannabis product that contains different compounds. These compounds work together to create a special effect stronger than what each can do alone.

Does CBD Smell Like Weed? Different Types of Hemp Extracts and Their Terpene Content

There are three different types of hemp extracts, each with different concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in hemp plants. The type of extract in your CBD product determines whether it smells like weed or not.

Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract

Full-spectrum hemp extract contains all the naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes. Because of its high terpene content, it can produce a weed-like aroma and taste. The synergistic interaction of all these compounds produces the entourage effect.

Broad-Spectrum Hemp Extract

Unlike full-spectrum hemp extract, broad-spectrum hemp extract undergoes an extra extraction process to remove the psychoactive THC compound. During the extraction process, some fragile natural terpenes might be lost as well, leading to a milder weed-like smell.

CBD Isolate Hemp Extract

CBD isolate might be the right choice if you prefer a hemp extract without any weed-like smell. CBD isolate undergoes further refinement, eliminating all other natural compounds except pure CBD. As a result, it lacks the terpenes responsible for the distinct aroma of cannabis. Moreover, it does not provide the entourage effect.

Does CBD Smell Like Weed: The Bottom Line

CBD smells like weed because it has terpenes that give distinct smells to different cannabis strains. However, you can always choose whether your CBD product should smell like weed or not.

If you prefer a weed-like aroma, go for products made from full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD extracts. But if you want an odorless and flavorless option, CBD isolate extract products are your best bet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does weed smell like?

Weed has a familiar pungent, skunk-like scent that can vary depending on the strain. It may also have citrusy or flowery undertones, which are determined by the terpenes present in the cannabis strain.

Does CBD cause the weed-like smell in hemp extracts?

No, CBD itself does not have a scent or taste. However, due to their common plant lineage, hemp flower and weed share similar terpenes. These terpenes are responsible for the distinct cannabis smell found in hemp extracts.

Will smelling CBD get you high?

No, smelling CBD extract will not get you high. The terpenes responsible for the weed-like smell in CBD are not intoxicating. It is the high concentration of THC found in marijuana that causes the psychoactive effects and the feeling of being high.

What is the entourage effect?

The entourage effect is a theory that suggests that various compounds in cannabis, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, work together synergistically to enhance the overall therapeutic potential of the plant. It means these compounds have a more significant effect when taken together rather than in isolation.

Is CBD intoxicating?

No, CBD is not intoxicating. It binds to the endocannabinoid receptors in the body to promote wellness, lift mood, and induce relaxation. Conversely, THC is the psychoactive molecule in cannabis that produces the intoxicating effects.

Does CBD oil smell bad?

Depending on the type, fresh CBD oil can smell like weed. While some people don’t like the smell of cannabis on CBD oil, most weed users don’t think it smells bad. For this reason, CBD oil remains popular among CBD products.



About Plain Jane CBD

Plain Jane is the maker of the smoothest, natural cannabis flower on the market.

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