Does CBD Smell Like Weed When It Is Burning?
Beginner Grow Guide is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you click on a link on this site that takes you to Amazon, I will earn a small commission and help keep the lights on at no extra cost to you 🙂
Behind THC, which is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, CBD comes in as the second most powerful component. Known for many of the medically beneficial effects in the marijuana plant, it can be taken in the natural form of cannabis buds, smoked via hemp buds, or separated into its own product.
Although there are a number of ways to take CBD including edibles, tinctures, topical lotions, pills, and many others, the most popular form among smokers will be in the form of CBD buds or vaping liquids.
We’ll talk about the benefits of CBD and the key differences between smoking cannabis and solely CBD.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or also known as CBD, is the second most powerful cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant behind THC. CBD accounts for many of the physical effects of smoking cannabis, including pain relief, treating medical conditions such as epilepsy, and aiding a number of other major and minor ailments.
Because many cannabis users are purely using it as a medical treatment, some look to separate the psychoactive properties found with THC and the healing properties of CBD through a number of specialized products or plants. Specific strains such as Sativa L, or more commonly known as the female hemp plant, contain minimal levels of THC and contain heavy concentrations of the cannabinoid CBD.
Although these plants resemble normal cannabis plants throughout the various stages of flowering, their genetic makeup means they have a significantly different effect on the user when smoked. In addition to their high CBD properties, hemp plants are also used for paper, clothing, plastics, and a number of other industrial uses.
Because this plant only has trace amounts of THC, it is almost universally legal to own, although there has been some debate among lawmakers. As long as the plant has less than 0.3% THC, it isn’t held to the same standards of marijuana in the eyes of the law.
What Are Terpenes And Why Are They Important In Cannabis Plants?
Terpenes are natural oils that are secreted by the cannabis plant, as well as many other plants, acting as a deterrent and form of protection. Mainly producing a strong odor, terpenes will prevent predators from destroying the plant while also attracting pollinators.
Coming in a number of variations depending on the specific strain of plant or the climate, these will produce various odors that can differentiate one cannabis plant from another. Due to the difference in terpenes produced from one plant to another, you will end up with not only different strains of cannabis with distinct smells, but it also results in a unique flavor profile when smoked.
The various specific feelings and effects of smoking certain strains are also associated with the variations in terpenes, with some cannabis strains promoting relaxation, focus, creativity, and so on. Because terpenes exist outside of the effects of THC, they can be vital aspects of CBD products and hemp strains, adding custom benefits depending on the source of the hemp bud.
Does CBD Smell Like Weed When It Burns?
Although THC is missing from CBD buds, making the end result from smoking drastically different, the plants themselves are structurally and visually very similar. And because terpenes exist in all strains of cannabis, regardless of THC, they will produce a similar smell when they are smoked.
The strength of the smell will vary from strain to strain, with the terpenes being different with each, but in general they will all be relatively similar.
Why Is The Smell Less Noticeable When You Vape CBD?
While vaping and smoking may seem similar, many may assume that the noticeable smell that comes along with cannabis would persist. It is true that any time you vape or smoke a liquid or plant there will be some sort of smell, vaping will result in a far less intense experience.
Because vaping doesn’t include the combustion element of smoking, which requires the physical burning of the plant, the distinct smell associated with it is minimized due to the ‘smoke’ being vapor production instead. It also results in a much quicker dissipation of the smell with a vaporizer, not containing the smoke particles that will linger and stick to clothes, furniture, or walls.
Factors That Affect The Smell Of Vaping
As we mentioned above, when you vape CBD liquids or products you will generate a similar smell to that of normal cannabis, albeit slightly less intense. The aforementioned terpenes will have a large factor on the specific smell you experience, with some having a fruity smell, pine smell, or even mint smell.
If you want to learn more about the various smells of weed, you can read about it here. In addition, if the specific oil you are vaping has some sort of additive, whether it be a sugar flavoring or otherwise, this will also have an affect on the smell and flavor of the CBD.
The Difference Between Full Spectrum CBD And CBD Isolate
Full spectrum CBD is what you would expect if you extracted the ‘full’ list of terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids found within the hemp plant. This is essentially a breakdown of the entire plant, with all of the different smells and flavors that you would find if you smoked the plant itself. CBD isolate, however, solely extracts CBD and is a concentrated form of the cannabinoid.
This removes all of the smells and flavors that are associated with the terpenes, resulting in full spectrum CBD having a much stronger and “weedy” smell in comparison.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the ‘skunk’ smell associated with weed?
Oftentimes weed will be attributed a ‘skunky’ smell, acting as one of the trademark stenches associated with weed. As explained above, the ‘skunky’ smell is a result of terpenes from specific strains of cannabis.
Skunk weed finds its origins dating all the way back to strains in the 1970s, being cross-bred into various strains since that point.
Does the CBD flower have a smell?
The hemp flower will have a very similar smell to the traditional cannabis plant. Because they are nearly identical aside from the missing THC in hemp, the flower shape, smells produced via terpenes, and taste while smoking will all be virtually the same.
Does CBD Smell Like Weed When It Is Burning? the benefits of CBD and the key differences between smoking cannabis and solely CBD.
Should CBD Smell Like Weed?
Especially if you’re about to go to a business meeting or meet your mother-in-law for the first time.
Let’s not get off on a bad foot!
The type of CBD oil that you buy can definitely affect this question.
There’s a whole class of CBD oil that has a strong hemp smell.
Another subset has a very little scent at all.
We’ll explain the difference and why it’s more important than just the weed smell.
SO, in order to avoid scaring the parents when you go in to teach their children, let’s see if we can avoid the weed smell with CBD.
The two main types of CBD oil and weedy scents
First, there are two main types of CBD available on the market:
- CBD Isolate
- Full Spectrum CBD and/or hemp oil
The CBD Isolate should have very little smell at all and no discernable weed smell.
It’s basically the crystalline CBD substance itself (has no scent. like salt or sugar) added to a base oil.
Now, we have to be a little careful with the base oil in our calculation.
There are three common options:
- Hemp oil
- Olive oil
- MCT oil (from coconut)
Hemp oil can have a weedy smell depending on how concentrated it is and what parts of the plant they use.
The clearer the oil, the less it smells like weed but there will always be some of the scent there.
It is the cannabis plant after all.
That being said, hemp generally has a milder smell than marijuana which is just a function of the level of THC and terpenes in the plant.
Olive oil has its own distinctive smell and you probably don’t want to go on a first date smelling like Olive Garden either.
MCT (extracted fats from coconut oil) is the least noticeable scent.
It has a slightly sweet smell and taste but barely discernible.
Again, it’s an extract from coconut oil. not coconut oil itself.
Very little smell and if added to CBD Isolate, no weed smell at all.
That’s one reason we focus on CBD Isolate and MCT oil at IndigoNaturals.
Finally, the second type of CBD. Full Spectrum CBD.
The weedy smell of Full Spectrum CBD
This type of CBD is pushed everywhere due to the slick marketing term “the entourage effect”.
Basically, there’s a lot more of the hemp plant in the bottle.
This can give it a weedy smell, taste, and color!
It’s not unusual for it to be green and goopy.
The weedy taste and smell can be a dealbreaker for some people.
Keep in mind that a great deal of our taste comes from the scent of what we’re consuming.
Researchers just found scent detectors on our tongues!!
There’s another issue with Full Spectrum.
A good percentage of the US population has allergy and histamine issues.
Roughly 40% and up to 60% for women (maybe higher if over the age of 40).
They are likely to have negative reactions to all that plant material.
The very things that many brands are selling can make people feel bad!
We’ve seen where side effects from full-spectrum disappear with CBD Isolate.
We’re not surprised!
Also, the research is mainly for CBD itself.
There’s no real scientific backing for the entourage effect.
Till we see research, it’s just great marketing to push a product that easier and cheaper to make (bigger margins).
You can get more info on this from a reputable source here:
Also, it can have a distinctive weedy smell.
It can also degrade more quickly since there is organic plant material in the bottle.
It’s not uncommon for it to get darker, more smelly, and thicker once the bottle is opened.
The MCT oil and CBD isolate retain its general viscosity, color, taste, and lack of scent for longer than you’ll probably have any left in the bottle.
You can check out our Does CBD expire page for more detail.
When we tested the big brands, roughly 90% of them had full-spectrum CBD and most had a distinct weed smell.
This brings up one other issue.
Can you travel with CBD?
I was in Vegas just the other week for a trade-show.
Going through security at the airport, the drug dogs we’re winding their way through the people waiting in line.
The dogs are trained to recognize the distinctive marijuana smell in bags and on people.
They are not trained for the smell of CBD (which generally has no scent).
Last we checked, coconut oil wasn’t on their radar as well.
The full-spectrum CBD and/or hemp oil base may be an issue there.
Now, in some states, marijuana is legal.
It’s still a question mark in many other places, especially internationally (Asia comes to mind).
For that reason, CBD Isolate with MCT oil is the safest bet for airport security.
There’s no THC or cannabis plant material to give off a scent!
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.
Learn why the smell of your CBD has other important consequences. Should CBD Smell Like Weed?