What Does CBD Flower Smell Like? – Understanding Terpenes

Hands wearing see through gloves holding a glass jar in one hand and freshly harvested hemp flower in the other.

If you’ve ever considered using CBD flower, you’ve likely wondered just how it smells. Does it always smell good? Skunky? Is it distinguishable from marijuana?

CBD flower usually smells earthy, woodsy, herbal, or spicy, depending on the strain. CBD hemp flower smells identical to marijuana and other cannabis plants. This is mainly because other parts of the plant, not CBD or THC, are responsible for producing the scent associated with cannabis. 

Understanding where the scent you get from CBD hemp flower comes from, what sort of scents mean what things, and what you can do to take advantage of the terpenes that do contribute to your product’s odor can all be beneficial habits of an educated consumer. Though cannabis’ smell is widely known and recognized, what’s less appreciated are the molecular phenomena that help create it.

Does CBD hemp flower smell like weed?

CBD hemp flower does smell identical to other cannabis plants, including marijuana.

In fact, without lab analysis, it’s nearly impossible to differentiate between marijuana and hemp; they look, feel, and smell the same, so there is no easy way to quickly identify which is which.

Though it may seem odd, such a truth is not actually that surprising when you consider that the primary difference between hemp and marijuana exists at the molecular level. 

Both contain cannabinoids of all sorts, but while marijuana has notable levels of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for producing a psychoactive high, hemp flower does not. In fact, to meet legal requirements in the U.S., hemp flower must contain 0.3% THC or less by weight.

What hemp flower does contain, though, is just about everything else you might expect from a marijuana plant, including CBD.

Because the most well-known cannabinoids, THC and CBD, are not at all responsible for creating the shape, texture, smell, or taste of cannabis, a difference in cannabinoids between different types of plants doesn’t lead to different scents or appearances.

Purple pop top prescription canister laying on its side with two marijuana buds laying in front.

Describing CBD Hemp Flower’s Aroma

CBD hemp flower’s smell can vary depending on what terpenes are present and at what levels, but in general you can expect it to have a natural scent similar to other plants and herbs.

Some helpful adjectives that might help you break down and understand the scent of your hemp flower might include:

  • Earthy
  • Herbal
  • Flowery
  • Spicy: think peppery, rich smells
  • Sweet: fruity smells like lemon, lime, etc.
  • Skunky

        As mentioned, CBD hemp flower doesn’t have a scent of its own – that is, it doesn’t smell different than other cannabis plants with the same molecular makeup. 

        Though it can’t help you distinguish between hemp flower and marijuana, scent can give you some key insight into just what’s going on inside of your product. Understanding where these scents come from and what they might mean can help you craft a CBD experience that fits your needs and desires.

        What gives CBD flower its aroma?

        Terpenes are largely responsible for the aroma of both CBD hemp flower and marijuana. The presence of terpenes is actually an important benefit that comes along with choosing to use CBD hemp flower rather than other options, particularly CBD isolate products.

        Of course, the odor you smell from CBD hemp flower can be influenced by external factors, too. How you choose to use your flower can impact odor; if you smoke it, for instance, you’ll likely experience a more charred, chemical smell than you might if you vape it.

        The scent of CBD hemp flower and cannabis in general can be quite potent and linger for a while, especially if a wide variety of terpenes are present.

        What exactly are terpenes?

        Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are found in all sorts of plants, though cannabis plants tend to contain an especially high concentration of them, and help create an organism’s characteristic scent.

        Terpenes serve to both protect and distinguish plants. They’re responsible for the odors we associate with plant life in general, from trees to flowers to the very grass that we walk on.

        In the natural world, terpenes also help plants fight threats like grazing animals or infectious viruses and bacteria. It’s not surprising, then, that some of the therapeutic properties of terpenes that plant life benefits from might extend to humans, too.

        Terpenes can be isolated during manufacturing or product development and used as a source of fragrance. In terms of cannabis production, strains with certain levels of different terpenes may be sought out in order to cultivate a desired experience.

        If you’ve ever participated in any type of aromatherapy, used essential oils, or find certain scents to be comforting, you have terpenes to thank. Though they’re most commonly mentioned in discussions surrounding cannabis, terpenes play a large role in shaping the natural world as we know it.

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

        Different Terpenes & Their Effects

        Some terpenes are more commonly found in hemp flower than others, and those that are can be selectively bred to be more prominent in specific strains. This makes it easy for sellers to market different experiences for users of all walks of life.

        You can think of terpenes almost like flavoring agents. While the base product is still the same, specific parts of your experience and how your body reacts to your hemp flower might differ.

        Terpenes also have many therapeutic properties – after all, one of their natural purposes is to support, strengthen, and protect plant life – that users can take advantage of. In order to do so efficiently, it helps to have a good understanding of common terpenes and what their capabilities are.

        Below are some of the most popular primary (making up a significant percentage of the overall terpene profile and contributing heavily to user experience) and secondary (still prevalent, but less so than primary options) terpenes as well as their strengths:

        • Pinene: Commonly found in a variety of trees and plants (particularly in the resin of pine trees), this popular terpene produces an aroma best described as earthy or woodsy. It’s believed to be a great anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent. It also acts as a bronchodilator, which means it can help more air get into the lungs.
        • Limonene: As its name suggests, limonene is known to produce a pleasant fruity, citrusy scent. It’s believed to help support the immune system and can work as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant resource for the body.
        • Mycerene: With a spicy, earthy smell and a punch to pack, mycerene is another compound commonly found in cannabis plants. It’s primarily known for its relaxing tendencies; strains with high levels of mycerene tend to make users feel euphoric, stress-free, and even a bit sleepy.
        • Humulene: This compound also produces a woodsy, earthy aroma. Humulene’s therapeutic properties make it a great option for those looking to tackle inflammation without many other effects to consider.
        • Eucalyptol: With antifungal and anti-bacterial properties alongside a refreshing, minty aroma, this compound has made a name for itself as a great secondary terpene option.
        • Phytol: This terpene is responsible for floral scents and relaxing, sedative results. While it’s not commonly a primary terpene found in cannabis plants, it is one that is utilized by some sellers to create a tranquil and stress-free experience.

        There are too many terpene options out there to really list on a single page or even in a single article, so it never hurts to do some looking around if you encounter one you’re not familiar with.

        The less prominent a terpene is, the more subtle its effects will be. Generally speaking, taking a look at the first and second most prevalent terpenes in your product is a good way to get a feel for what to expect.

        If you’d like to seek out a particular terpene or terpene combination, it  can be helpful to find strains that prioritize them. Strains of hemp flower can also be transformed into other products, like vaporizer cartridges or tinctures, so it never hurts to consider branching out if you find one you really like.

        Final Thoughts

        Cannabis plants are infamously potent. This reality applies to marijuana plants without a doubt, but it’s also true for CBD hemp flower. 

        While you may worry about your CBD hemp flower mirroring marijuana in many ways, including odor, rest assured that keeping your products in their packaging can help protect you from any prodding or outside concerns. Stick to brands that provide a Certificate of Analysis confirming that you have a CBD hemp flower product with below the legal limit of THC.

        The smell of CBD flower is often best described as woodsy, earthy, or herbal. More unique scents can be found in some strains thanks to different levels of terpenes.

        Remember that terpenes surround us regardless of whether or not we consume cannabis. They exist in the flowers we grow, the trees that give us air to breath, and more. Terpenes aren’t unnatural or even scary – in fact, they’re about as organic as it gets.

        Finding great CBD hemp flower products that take advantage of all terpenes have to offer can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve created a directory full of product information, reviews, and other helpful details you’ll need to know to find flower that works for you.

        Thanks to terpenes, it’s possible to have a unique experience with every individual type of flower you purchase. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things – you might be surprised by how much of a difference it can make.

        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.

        Share this….

        Share on facebook
        Share on pinterest
        Share on twitter
        Share on linkedin

        0 Comments

        Leave a Reply

        Avatar placeholder

        Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

        CBD in dark green over Facilitator in black with a black cannabis leaf and black tincture bottle and eyedropper to the right.

        Our Mission

        Our goal is to educate you on all things CBD, enabling you to navigate this vast unregulated industry like a pro. We know all too well how overwhelming it can be to find trustworthy brands in this crowded market, so we’re here to help!

        Shop CBD Products

        Our Favorite Brands

        FACILITATOR25
        (25% Off)

        CBDFACILITATOR
        (15% Off)

        FACILITATOR
        (10% Off)

        CBDFACILITATOR
        (10% Off)

        CBDFACILITATOR
        (15% Off)

        Our Mission

        Our goal is to educate you on all things CBD, enabling you to navigate this vast unregulated industry like a pro. We know all too well how overwhelming it can be to find trustworthy brands in this crowded market, so we’re here to help!

        Shop CBD Products

        Our Favorite Brands

        FACILITATOR25
        (25% Off)

        CBDFACILITATOR
        (15% Off)

        FACILITATOR
        (10% Off)

        CBDFACILITATOR
        (10% Off)

        CBDFACILITATOR
        (15% Off)