does cbd flower smell like weed

What Does Hemp Flower Smell Like?

Most people are familiar with the distinctive smell of marijuana — it’s almost always described as resembling skunk. As hemp is just another type of cannabis, its flowers have much the same smell. However, if you turn your attention to the aroma, you’ll notice that each type of hemp flower actually has its own distinct scent.

The Different Scents of Hemp Flower

In other many industries, it’s common to have a specific lexicon to aid in describing different varieties of a product. For instance, coffee has words like nutty, smoky, and berry-like; if you’re talking about wine, you use descriptors like tart, fresh, or crisp.

Although there is no official language for hemp flowers, it’s easy to argue that the same should be true for the CBD industry. There are, in fact, so many words that do accurately describe hemp flowers that it’s best to divide them into categories:

  • Natural — earthy, herbal, woody
  • Pungent — tea, sage, cheese
  • Fruity — sweet, lemon, grapefruit
  • Flowery — lavender, rose, violet
  • Chemical — diesel, tar, ammonia

What Impacts the Aroma of CBD Flowers?

The smell of hemp flowers comes from terpenes in the plant. Terpenes are in all types of plants to varying extents — you’re experiencing the effect of terpenes when you smell flowers or fresh fruit, for example. They’re also the main ingredient in essential oils. Terpenes occur naturally to protect plants from predators and to attract insects to pollinate flowers.

Researchers have identified at least 100 terpenes in cannabis , but only some are present in a great enough quantity to be significant. These terpenes have a stronger odor when hemp flowers are left to boom for a long time. Harvesting CBD flowers early, in contrast, leads to flowers with a milder scent.

Why Smell Matters

The scent of CBD flowers is important because it influences how the person consuming the hemp feels about the product. It determines whether someone will be interested in trying the hemp flower in the first place and how much they are willing to spend.

In particular, people believe that hemp flowers have more CBD (and are therefore more expensive) when the smell is more potent. For the same reason, they are more likely to want to try the product. As terpenes are distinct from CBD, the potency of the scent cannot actually tell you how much CBD the flower has. It can, however, tell you something about quality.

When you smell a hemp flower, it should have a distinct aroma that you can easily describe. Detecting the nuances of the aroma does take some practice, but you should be able to identify the main scents. If a hemp flower lacks an aroma entirely or smells like hay, avoid it — this is an indication of low quality.

How the Smell Changes When Smoking Hemp Flowers

There are also differences in scent before and after you burn CBD flowers. The dried hemp flower already smells much stronger than most types of dried flowers. When you burn hemp flower, it gives off an even more intense smell, due to the smoke. You may find that you are able to better identify the terpenes. Bear in mind, there will also be an odor of fire, smoke, ash, and paper added to the mix.

Benefits of Terpenes

Terpenes not only produce a smell — they also provide specific health benefits. Sometimes they work with CBD or other cannabinoids to increase therapeutic effects of the hemp flower in what is called the entourage effect . Learning to recognize different aromas or even reading the profiles of hemp strains will give you a better idea of what to expect from various CBD flowers.

Some principal terpenes to look out for include the following.


Responsible for a pine scent, pinene is present in the wood of conifer trees as well as some hemp flowers. It acts as both an antioxidant and an antibacterial. It has also long been a staple in Chinese medicine, particularly for alleviating conditions like asthma.


Producing a lemon scent, limonene is a top choice if you’re looking for a solution for depression or inflammation. Limonene may also help with acid reflux and improve your mood. You’ll find limonene in many CBD products because it improves the absorption rate of other terpenes.


Although it has a mango scent, myrcene also contributes to the skunk smell in cannabis. It acts as a relaxant, helping with insomnia, pain, and inflammation. In addition to hemp flowers, myrcene is in mangoes, hops, and thyme.


Hemp strains with bisabolol can have a scent ranging from floral or fruity all the way to nutty. Some even smell like coconut. Bisabolol is useful for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-irritant properties. It can also work as a relaxant.


The entourage effect is particularly pronounced in linalool, which has strong analgesic and antidepressant effects when combined with CBD. Found in lavender, the terpene contributes the same floral scent and calming benefits in hemp flowers.


Guaiol is another terpene that smells of pine, but this time with a touch of rose. Although it’s not one of the major terpenes in hemp flowers, guaiol appears frequently in other natural medicine as an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It also occurs in an evergreen tree called guaiacum and the cypress pine.


One of the most common terpenes in cannabis, caryophyllene has a peppery or spicy scent. You may recognize the aroma from cloves and rosemary. Caryophyllene is especially useful for treating chronic pain.


Another common terpene, humulene is also found in hops. It gives hemp flowers a beer-like smell. Strains with humulene are an excellent choice if you’re looking for an appetite suppressant.


Terpinolene is present in numerous flowers, trees, herbs, and fruits, providing a scent that has elements of citric, pine, and floral tones. You’ll rarely see terpinolene named as a main terpene in hemp strains, but it’s important to know about for all its health benefits. As well as being an antioxidant, anti-stressor, and antifungal, there’s evidence that terpinolene slows tumor growth, particularly of brain cancers.

Comparing Hemp Strains

The hemp strains from Organic CBD Nugs all have something different to offer in terms of terpenes.

  • Lifter — The significant amount of limonene gives Lifter sweet, citrusy characteristics.
  • Sour Space Candy — You’ll find a few of the principal terpenes in Sour Space Candy . This leads to a blend of sweet, sour, and earthy scents all in one.
  • Special Sauce — If you want to try some of the rarer terpenes, Special Sauce is ideal. It has b-caryophyllene for a touch of spice, phytol for floral tones, and farnesene for a hint of hops.
  • Pineberry — The primary terpene in Pineberry is alpha-pinene, which gives an earthy, pine smell. In addition, you’ll notice some fruity aromas, particularly berry scents.
  • Elektra — For some classic myrcene, Elektra is your best choice. The terpene contributes to this strain’s sedative and analgesic properties.
  • Hawaiian Haze — Packed with tropical terpenes, Hawaiian Haze is one of the fruitiest strains. Pay close attention to the scent and you may also detect the floral undertones.

Considering the scents of CBD flowers will tell you what to expect from a hemp strain. As well as providing different health benefits, the terpenes that influence the aroma will affect your first impression and therefore impact your overall experience with the hemp flowers.

Most people are familiar with the distinctive smell of marijuana — it’s almost always described as resembling skunk. As hemp is just another type of cannabis, its flowers have much the same smell.

Does CBD Smell Like Weed?

We’ve covered the differences between THC and CBD a few times in these pages, but there’s a question we are yet to cover, does CBD smell like weed?

It’s a simple question, but one we are asked often, especially considering the dry flower strains we have such as Purple Haze , which has a specific smell expected to come alongside the name.

There’s a few reasons why you could be curious about this, but whether you want to know so you can enjoy the smell yourself, or you’re worried that a notable scent usually specific to something else may get you some unwanted attention, we’re here to help and to give you an answer.

The answer to the question is not straightforward, however (when are they, really?) so to get there, we have to make a few stops.

Terpene Profiles

When it comes to THC heavy cannabis, the scent of a strain, along with the flavour, depends heavily (but not exclusively, we’ll get to that) on the terpene profile.

Purple Haze cannabis, for example, is heavy in caryophyllene, which gives that well known peppery, spicy scent, and myrcene, which provides that famed herbal aroma recognisable in most marijuana strains.

With the CBD version of Purple Haze, the terpene profile cannot be identical, but we make sure it’s as near as dammit.

Basically, our priority in the cultivation of CBD strains is to ensure that the CBD count is where we claim it to be, and that the trace THC levels stay within the limitations set out for us by EU law.

So while CBD Purple Haze you buy from us may not smell identical to the Purple Haze strain you may be familiar with (we’re not here to judge) it is certainly close enough to be recognisable, and you can rest assured it’s a lovely, spicy, relaxing scent.


Stable genetics are the other important factor when it comes to CBD smelling like its THC heavy counterparts, with the possibility for differences in phenotypes, but we try and avoid that.

The higher the rate of stabilisation, the less difference there is in genome expression, and therefore the more similarity there is in the scent.

Other factors can be at play too, down to even the soil where the particular strain is grown, so essentially, it’s impossible to create a CBD Purple Haze strain that smells exactly like a comparative THC heavy marijuana strain.

The only way you could hypothetically get an identical aroma is with the use of chemicals, and if you know anything about us, you know that is really not our way and not anything we are ever going to do.

Does CBD Smell Good?

Now here’s a question with a straighter answer, and let’s face it, it’s the more important question. Whether the scent is similar to something you know or not, what you want to know is that the strain ahs a nice smell, and that we can guarantee.

While Purple Haze, which has been our example up to this point, has a genetic profile similar to the other Purple Haze, and therefore has a tasty smell that is similar to its psychoactive cousin, we have other strains that have been designed uniquely by us, not based on other strains, and put together to create an amazing smell all of their own.

This Summer Mix , for example, is as lovely to smell as it is beautiful to look at. The aromatic profile is sensational, creating a fresh, summery vibe with more than a scent of pine and a little touch of citrus on the nostrils to create a refreshing blend of fabulous aromas.

All our dry flower products, and indeed any other CBD products you get from us, will always smell beautiful, because we’re people who are very fond of sensual pleasures, we like our sinuses to be softly stroked by the sweetest of scents, and we know you do too.

That’s why anything that we produce, we smell test, to check it makes us feel sublime, and to ensure it will make you feel much the same way!

What’s your favourite smelling CBD product from our collection? What would the perfect scent for a CBD product to have be for you personally? Let us know in the comments, and if we like the idea, we might see if we can find a way to create it for you!

The products we sell do not have proven health benefits. While research is being carried out, these products are not, and should not, be considered to be medical products.

Any information we give in these articles is taken from scientific research, but should not be considered as a statement of fact. Links and information included in these articles do not reflect the opinion of Plant & Hemp. Any link to scientific studies is for information only, and not intended as a proof of any specific fact, or to validate any specific opinion.

We are simply bringing you the information needed to make an informed decision on what you want to use CBD for, and what you are comfortable using our products for.

CBD products should not be used as a replacement for any prescribed medication, under UK and International Law.

We’ve covered the differences between THC and CBD a few times in these pages, but there’s a question we are yet to cover, does CBD taste like weed?