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Are CBD and Weed the Same?

CBD and weed both come from the cannabis sativa L. Because of this, many people inquire if CBD smells like weed or pot! Firstly, one thing you need to remember is that weed, marijuana, or pot – these terms are used interchangeably. 
Though CBD and weed belong to the same cannabis plants, they are not actually the same. CBD is extracted from hemp plants. Marijuana (AKA weed, pot, cannabis) and hemp are chemotypes which means they are genetically similar but chemically distinct. 
While hemp contains negligible THC levels (less than 0.3%) and is primarily cultivated for industrial and medicinal purposes, marijuana or weed typically contains higher THC concentrations, leading to psychoactive effects. 
However, despite their differences, both plants share commonalities, including the presence of terpenes, aromatic compounds responsible for their distinct scents, and other cannabinoids as well. 

What Is the Role of Terpenes in Aroma?

CBD itself does not have a smell. As previously said, it is extracted from hemp plants. Hemp plants are cannabis plants that have a THC restriction (up to 0.3%). So, what is the role of terpene 

CBD and cannabis both contain terpenes. The only exception is pure CBD or Isolate CBD. 
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis plants that play a key role in determining the distinctive smell of both weed and CBD products. Each plant contains a unique blend of terpenes that contributes to its aroma and therapeutic effects. 
For instance, myrcene, commonly found in cannabis, has an earthy, musky scent and is associated with sedative effects. There are also other terpenes that have different smells and effects. 

Types of Terpenes 


So far, you’ve learned that the smell of CBD and weed comes from the same compounds called terpenes. That’s why you’re reading this. If you understand this compound, it’ll be easier for you to get the answer to “Does CBD smell like THC weed?”  
Both CBD and cannabis may smell somewhat the same if they have comparable concentrations of certain terpenes. Here are some of the terpene types and their effects: 


  1. Myrcene: It is a terpene with an earthy, musky, slightly fruity and clove-like aroma. It’s best known for its sedative properties that promote relaxation and help reduce stress. 
  2. Limonene: It has a citrusy, and lemon-like aroma. It’s associated with mood enhancement and increased energy levels. 
  3. Pinene: It has a pine, forest-like aroma and is best known for its cognitive-enhancing effects and may help improve focus memory. 
  4. Caryophyllene: Identifiable by its spicy, woody aroma, often associated with black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system that targets CB2 receptors. 
  5. Linalool: Linalool is a terpene that gives a floral and lavender-like smell. It’s also known for its calming and relaxing effects. 
  6. Humulene: You can recognize humulene by its peppery, citrusy, and herbal aroma. It is believed to have appetite-suppressant properties and may aid in weight loss. 


Does CBD Smell Like Weed?

You might have already assumed that CBD does smell like weed. Because both CBD and marijuana (weed) come from the same plants and share the same aromatic components called terpenes, which give both products their distinct scents. However, there are a few ifs and buts, though. 
To begin with, CBD has no smell of its own. So, if you’re taking pure CBD or CBD Isolate in any form whether it’s CBD edibles or CBD topicals, it’s not supposed to smell like weed. Because it doesn’t contain any terpenes. However, manufacturers may use different flavors and additional ingredients that may produce different types of aromas. 
As we mentioned earlier, most of the smell of weed comes from terpenes, which are found in different amounts in different types of cannabis. These terpenes give weed or marijuana its signature scent, ranging from earthy and skunky to fruity and citrusy. 
However, when it comes to full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products, they retain some of the aromatic compounds (terpenes) found in the cannabis plant. That’s why these products may carry a subtle scent that resembles the odor of weed, although to a lesser extent.  
It's important to note that even if CBD smells like THC weed, it is generally much milder than that of marijuana or weed. Besides, both CBD and weeds have different terpene profiles that cause them to smell differently. 

Does CBD Smell Like Weed When It Is Burning?

A lot of people also ask if CBD oil smells like weed. When you burn CBD, it can smell kind of like weed, but not exactly the same. As we just said, both CBD and weed come from the cannabis plant, so they share some similarities in smell.  
The smell of burning CBD is often described as earthy, herbal, and sometimes a bit sweet. But it’s not as strong or intense as the smell of burning weed. It’s like a milder version. Plus, the smell can change depending on things like the type of CBD you’re using, how you’re consuming it, and if there are any extra flavors added.  
So, yes, in short, the smell of CBD may seem similar to weed, but not exactly the same. 

Does Vaping CBD Smell Like Weed? 


Vaping CBD usually doesn’t smell much like weed. You know, when you vape CBD, it’s more about the experience and less about the smell. Sure, some CBD products might have a hint of that weed smell, especially if they have extra stuff like terpenes added in. 
But most of the time, it’s not strong enough for people to notice, it’s more like a dull, oily taste, nothing too exciting. The thing is, CBD itself doesn’t have that kind of strong weed smell like marijuana does. 
So if you’re vaping CBD, you’re probably safe from people thinking you’re getting high on THC. It’s more about enjoying the benefits of CBD without the strong smell of weed. 
Related: Does CBD Oil Smell Like Pot When Vaped?  

What Are the Factors that Influence the CBD Products Smell?

Several factors may influence the smell of CBD. The presence and concentration of terpenes, the type of CBD product (such as oils, tinctures, or edibles), the quality and source of the hemp plant, the extraction methods of CBD, and terpene content can all impact the overall scent. 

1. The Type of Products

Different types of CBD products can exhibit varying levels of aroma. For example, CBD oils made from full-spectrum extracts may have a stronger weed-like smell compared to CBD Isolates or broad-spectrum. Besides, the use of carrier oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and hemp seed oil can impact the aroma of CBD products as well. 


2. The Quality and Source of the Hemp Plants

The quality and source of the hemp plant affect the smell of CBD in a few ways. Good-quality hemp plants grown in healthy conditions with plenty of nutrients and no harmful chemicals tend to have a richer smell.  
Besides, the way CBD is extracted from the hemp plant also matters. Gentle methods like CO2 extraction keep more of the plant’s natural smell intact, while harsh methods can make the CBD smell less pleasant. 
Moreover, contaminants like pesticides and mold can also make CBD products smell bad. So, in short, if the CBD product you’re using is made from high-quality hemp plants that are grown well and extracted carefully, it will be more likely to have a better smell. 

3. The Extraction Methods of CBD

Manufacturers use a variety of methods to extract CBD from hemp plants which can also influence the aroma of the final product. Processes like CO2 extraction preserve more of the plant’s natural terpenes. These results may bring a stronger weed-like CBD smell. Conversely, the other stronger extraction method may remove some terpenes. 


Minimizing the Smell of CBD Products

By any chance, if you don’t like the smell of CBD products that you’re using, you can minimize the smell by doing the following: 


  • Choose CBD Isolate: CBD Isolate or pure CBD doesn’t contain anything except CBD (Cannabidiol). Therefore, the aromatic compound terpene is also missing from this type of CBD extract. Selecting products infused with pure CBD oil will significantly help to avoid any potential smell. 
  • Select Flavored Options: To avoid any unpleasant smell, you can look for CBD products that are infused with different types of flavors such as mint, citrus, or berry. Thus, you can mask the smell of CBD. 
  • Maintain Proper Storage: Make sure to store the CBD products in an airtight container and keep them away from direct sunlight, and excessive heat. In this way, you can preserve and maintain the appealing smell of CBD. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some relevant questions and answers related to your query about whether CBD smells like weed or not. 

Does CBD Oil Smell Like Weed?

Pure CBD oil is odorless. However, certain CBD oil products may have a scent reminiscent of weed due to shared terpenes between hemp and marijuana plants. However, the intensity of the aroma can vary depending on factors like extraction method and terpene profile. 

What Does Weed Smell Like?

Weed generally emits a distinctive odor characterized by its earthy, skunky, and sometimes pungent scent. The smell can vary depending on factors such as the strain of cannabis, its terpene profile, and how it’s consumed. 

Does CBD Smell Like THC Weed When Smoking?

While CBD itself does not have a distinctive smell when smoked, the aroma of the cannabis plant used to extract CBD can resemble that of weed. This similarity in smell is primarily due to the presence of shared terpenes between hemp and marijuana plants. 

What Contributes to the Smell When Smoking CBD? 

When smoking CBD products, derived from hemp, the combustion of plant material releases terpenes and other aromatic compounds present in the cannabis plants. These compounds contribute to the smell of weed. 

The Bottom Line 

Hope you've found the answer you were looking for. To sum up, CBD doesn't smell like weed by itself, but the smell of some CBD products, especially those made from hemp, may smell like marijuana because they share the same terpenes. Factors such as the quality of the hemp plant, extraction method, and terpene profile can influence the smell of CBD products.  
It's important to note, that full-spectrum CBD products have a small bit of THC in them, though they don't get you high. There are times when they may smell like weed, but not as strong as regular weed. 

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