Does CBD Flower Taste Like Weed? – Flavor Profiles Compared

CBD flower and marijuana both have benefits, but while one is legal, the other is a controlled substance. So why is it that the two seem so physically similar?

CBD flower is virtually indistinguishable from marijuana in terms of taste, smell, and appearance, meaning that simply looking at the two isn’t really enough to tell them apart. This is because both hemp and weed have terpenes and flavonoids, which are responsible for creating these characteristics.

But just what are flavonoids and terpenes, and how do they work? If they’re both present in hemp and marijuana, what are the actual differences between these two distinct versions of cannabis? Let’s break it down to answer these questions and more.

What Gives CBD Flower Its Flavor?

The taste that we associate with CBD flower (and cannabis in general) comes from a combination of flavonoids and terpenes, both of which are compounds that work to produce the physical characteristics of a plant. 

Depending on the strain of flower you’re using, you may experience different effects based on the presence and diversity of these compounds.

Flavonoids

Though they don’t always receive a ton of recognition, flavonoids are an integral part of the molecular makeup of your CBD flower; found in plants, fruits, and vegetables, these compounds each serve different functions within the body and thus have different benefits. 

There are six main subtypes of flavonoids. They are as follows:

  • Flavones: function as natural pesticides and the pigment in blue or white flowering plants. Commonly found in red peppers, peppermint, and chamomile.
  • Flavanols: known for antioxidant properties. Commonly found in grapes and wine, fruits, onions, greens (kale, broccoli, etc.) and tea
  • Flavan-3-ols: known for being full of nutrients. Commonly found in teas and fruits.
  • Flavanones: believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Commonly found in citrus fruits.
  • Isoflavones: may help the body keep hormones in balance. Commonly found in soy beans and soy products.
  • Anthocyanins: give color to red, purple, and blue plants or flowers. As a result, this flavonoid is often found in the skin of colorful fruits, like berries. 

These flavonoids can also be found in plant products or species not listed above, including cannabis. Which flavonoids are present in your flower may depend on its strain, but in general, flavones are often predominant within hemp.

Still, over 20 different flavonoids have been discovered in cannabis plants, so it’s likely that you’ll experience a wide variety of them as you experiment with different flower options.

Terpenes

Like flavonoids, terpenes are organic compounds that are found in all sorts of plants. Terpenes in particular contribute predominantly to a plant’s smell rather than its flavor (though scent can, of course, impact the way an individual tastes something to some extent).

Certain terpenes are often associated with different effects and odors. Terpenes do, in some cases, have therapeutic effects; some, such as limonene, may help reduce anxiety, or perhaps even fight bacteria and viruses (as is the case with mycrene).

Be sure to check out the packaging your CBD flower comes in for a breakdown of terpenes. Being aware of which terpenes tend to produce the best effects for you can help you select a flower strain that’s ideal for any time of day.

Macro shot of a purple hemp flower bud covered in trichomes and orange hairs.

Can Top-Shelf CBD Flower Be As Tasty As Normal THC Flower?

Top-shelf CBD flower can be just as flavorful and odorous as normal THC flower; in fact, the two are virtually indistinguishable from one another when you’re simply looking at or smelling them. CBD flower that’s been grown under ideal conditions should still have a rich profile of both terpenes and flavonoids to enhance a user’s experience.

THC itself does not contribute to the taste of flower, so removing it (or growing flower without it) doesn’t mean that growers have to sacrifice flavor. 

All the good bits of the cannabis plant are still present in hemp flower (which is what CBD flower is). The only real difference is whether you’ll experience a psychoactive high from your product.

How Do You Make CBD Flowers Taste Better?

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do as a consumer to make CBD flower that’s already on the market taste much better. You may decide to consume it in a way that doesn’t worsen the taste, such as vaping instead of smoking, but the flavor of CBD can’t be altered once it’s grown. 

That’s because the flavor of CBD flower is decided by multiple factors, including the plant’s genetics, the growing process, and how well the flower has been cured. These sorts of things are outside of the control of a user, and they can’t exactly be manipulated once a product goes out for sale.

If you’re not satisfied with the flavor of your flower, be sure you’re getting good-quality products from sellers who know CBD flower. If you’re still not satisfied, you might need to try a different strain or flavor profile until you find something more palatable for you.

What Does a CBD Joint Taste Like?

A CBD joint tastes basically the same way a marijuana joint would: predominantly herbal or earthy, but specific tastes can vary based on the strain of flower you’re smoking. The flavor of the paper you’ve wrapped your joint in can also impact flavor.

Smoking a strain that’s high in limonene, for example, may give you a slightly fruitier or sweeter taste than what you might experience smoking something else. 

Because joints are harsher than some other smoking devices and techniques, they may not be the best choice for totally savoring the flavor of your flower. Still, the diverse amalgamation of natural compounds in your product should shine through and make your experience unique.

Strawberry blonde women blowing out a cloud of smoke a mountain range in the background.

Does CBD Hemp Flower Smell Like Weed?

CBD hemp flower isn’t distinguishable from marijuana (weed) in terms of appearance or scent. The difference between the two isn’t the presence of flavor- and scent-producing compounds, it’s the presence of THC, which is a cannabinoid rather than terpene or flavonoid.

That means that your average CBD flower smells just like your average marijuana flower.

What Does CBD Flower Smell Like?

CBD flower’s scent can depend on its terpene profile, but in general, it gives off an earthy, sometimes herbal or spicy odor that’s often easily recognized. Some strains can smell more musky or skunky, and others may seem more sweet and fruity; it all comes down to what’s going on inside.

If you were to put a CBD flower bud and a marijuana bud side-by-side, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two, especially if the two were the same strain. 

So, if you do choose to smoke CBD flower, keep this fact in mind – in some places, smoking in public or being caught with CBD flower can be problematic since, to others, it appears that the individual in question is using marijuana.

Final Thoughts

CBD flower does taste and smell like weed, but the two are still very, very different. THC may seem like something that’s relatively insignificant in terms of the makeup of the cannabis plant, but it fundamentally changes the way a user feels after consumption.

Though it may not have THC, CBD flower does have terpenes and flavonoids, both of which work to keep the scent and taste of the plant intact. These compounds, when preserved well, can provide a one-of-a-kind experience for users.

The benefits of CBD are so numerous that even if its taste isn’t your favorite, it’s likely worth it to find an option that works for you. Even CBD flower itself comes in all sorts of different products, including loose flower on its own, pre-rolled CBD joints, CBD cigarettes, moon rocks, and more.

So, if trying CBD flower sounds like something that interests you, don’t be afraid to experiment! With so many individual terpene combinations out there, there are all sorts of tastes and smells to experience.

Whether you’re new to CBD or are a seasoned user, you’ll want to purchase your products from sellers that match your expectations with their commitment to quality. For a list of product and brand recommendations, reviews, and other useful tips, visit our directory

Our directory has been created with the needs of all sorts of CBD users in mind so that anyone can find an option that works for their needs. Even if CBD flower isn’t your cup of tea, you can find something that makes a real difference.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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