What Does CBD Flower Smell Like? Does It Smell Like Weed?

CBD flower aka hemp flower is currently in huge demand as more and more people are drawn to it for instant relaxation and pain relief.

After all, this is the rawest form of cannabidiol (CBD), before it is extracted for being used in different CBD products, such as oils and edibles.

But, what do they smell like?

Those who have tried smoking CBD flowers say they have a very “skunky” smell, quite similar to its notorious cousin marijuana. One can quite imagine that. After all, both plants belong to the same family of plants.

But do they indeed smell the same? Let’s find out.

What is CBD Flower?

CBD flower is the dried and cured form of cannabis Sativa plants. It contains an interesting blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids but less than 0.3% of the intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Together, they produce an entourage effect that provides therapeutic and calming effects when consumed.

But do hemp and marijuana flowers smell the same?

Well, not exactly. When you dive further into the world of hemp and weed, you will discover that there are different strains of cannabis. Each one differs from the other in smell, flavor, and chemical composition.

And when you pay attention to the different strains of CBD flowers, you can make out the distinct scent of each.

The CBD industry usually describes the smell of hemp by comparing it to other aromatic terms, just as sommeliers describe the earthy, nutty, and fruity aroma of wines.

Some of the categories that describe the different smell of CBD flowers are:

Natural: Earthy, herbal, woody

Pungent: Tea, sage, cheese

Fruity: Sweet, lemon, grapefruit

Flowery: Lavender, rose, violet

Chemical: Diesel, tar, ammonia

What Determines The Scent Of CBD Flowers?

It’s interesting how the same kind of plant can smell and taste so different, isn’t it?

Well, the culprit is a special component of these plants, known as terpenes (when extracted they are called terpenoids), present in cannabis plants. Terpenes are the compounds that give each plant its distinctive smell (and taste).

Each CBD flower strain is different from the rest when it comes to the terpene content. The result is the difference in smell.

It is not just the aroma. Terpenes have special healing properties, too. And, together with the cannabinoids present in hemp flowers, they produce the entourage effect.

What’s more, CBD flowers smell different before and after they are burnt. While dried flowers may have a strong smell, they become all the more intense after you burn them, making it easier to identify the terpenes.

With over 200 terpenes existing in nature, we can’t go over each one. But what we can do is figure out the types of terpenes present in the different hemp flower strains. So, here goes.


This one is easy to find because of its pine-like smell. You can find this terpene in the wood of conifer trees as well as basil, parsley, and orange peel.

Pinene is known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It is also used to treat short-term memory loss and manage respiratory issues.


Myrcene is the most dominant terpene present in cannabis plants and it is the one that is responsible for the musky and skunky scent of most CBD strains.

Other than hemp flowers and weed, this terpene can also be found in mangoes, lemongrass, hops, eucalyptus, thyme, and many more.

Myrcene has anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain and inflammation. It also helps treat insomnia, as the terpene works well as a muscle relaxant. Myrcene also acts as a regulator by either enhancing or suppressing the effects of other compounds present in the hemp strain.

A few cannabis users believe that it is myrcene that causes the couch-lock or the strong sedation-like effect. But there is no proof of such a claim.


As the name suggests, this terpene smells citrusy, much like lime, mandarins, grapefruit, oranges, or other citrus fruits.

If you are looking for a solution for depression and inflammation, limonene is your go-to terpene. It can also help treat acid reflux and other gastrointestinal issues. Limonene helps improve the absorption rate of other terpenes into the bloodstream.

That is why you’ll find limonene in most CBD products and other medications.


This is another common terpene with an earthy and spicy scent found in hops, clove, black pepper, or sage.

It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties like many other terpenes but the distinguishing factor is that it works as an appetite suppressant.


This terpene gives lavender and other herbs their unique fragrance.

Linalool is a wonderful mix of floral and spicy scents that are known for their analgesic and antidepressant effects.


CBD strains with this terpene can have floral, fruity, or nutty scents.

They are known for their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-irritant properties.

Bisabolol can also be found in chamomile plants.


Caryophyllene is a terpene with a peppery or spicy scent. It is the terpene that gives cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper their unique aroma.

Known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects, it is the only terpene that interacts with the CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system.


This is another abundantly found terpene. It has a sweet, musky, woody, and herbaceous aroma.

Other than hemp, you can find it in various plant species, such as mint, pepper, basil, orchids, and kumquats, among others.

Ocimene is known for its antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal effects.

Another important thing about ocimene is that it has a low boiling point. This means you must use a low-temperature setting to obtain the maximum benefits if you intend to consume by vaporization of CBD flowers.


Guaiol smells like pine with a note of woody and rosy scents. Like ocimene, this terpene has a low boiling point, too.

It is used in natural medicine due to its anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antimicrobial properties to treat conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, gout, sore throat, syphilis, and more.

You can find this terpene in guaiacum and cypress pine trees.


Terpinolene is another terpene present in various plant species such as sage or rosemary. It has a very pine-like scent with citrusy and floral notes.

Terpinolene has several health benefits due to its antioxidant, anti-stressor, and antifungal properties.

Studies indicate that terpinolene can also slow tumor growth.

So, now you know that terpenes have much to do with the smell of cannabis flowers. All you need to do is to check the chemical composition to understand which strain has what terpene. Only then you can determine which strain will suit you the best.

Some of the Best CBD Strains

Choosing your favorite strain could be fun, pretty much like shopping for new clothing to add to your wardrobe.

Without digging too deep into the intricacies of hemp flowers, let us go over some of the best CBD flower strains in terms of aroma, flavor, health benefits, and chemical profiles.

These are:

  • Elektra
  • Sour Space Candy
  • Special Sauce
  • Lifter
  • Pineberry
  • Hawaiian Haze

Improving the Shelf Life of Hemp Flowers

As a CBD user, you may understand the importance of making sure that the aroma and flavor profile of the CBD flower remain intact till the end.

And proper storage is what can improve the shelf life of your hemp.

You must use high-quality airtight glass jars to store hemp flowers if you want to prolong the life of the product.

Once you have identified the container, you must make sure that the flowers are not too dry or crumbly. A quick fix is to put a strip of tortilla or an orange peel to liven it up a bit.

Another issue that can dampen the flavor is too much moisture. Consider getting a humidity control pack to keep them fresh and potent no matter how many times you open the jar.

Next, think about a nice place to store your jar of CBD flowers. Keep them in a cool, dark, and dry space, such as a corner of a cupboard or cabinet, avoiding exposure to too much light and moisture.

How Do We Know if the Hemp Flowers are Bad?

If you have been holding on to your current stash of hemp for a while now, without storing it properly, you might wonder if the hemp has gone bad.

So, first, check the color and the smell of the flower.

Is it as potent and fresh as it used to be?

Sometimes you can even find traces of mold or mildew on the flower if you have kept it exposed to the elements for far too long. If you find any of these issues, maybe it’s time to throw away your stash and get a fresh batch of CBD flowers.

Parting Thoughts: Do CBD Flowers Smell Like Weed?

Yes and no.

Some CBD flowers may indeed smell quite similar to the earthy and “skunk-like” smell of weed. But a lot depends on the strain. That’s because of the different terpenes present in the diverse strains that give them their unique smell.

While appearance is one of the most important factors to consider while buying hemp flowers, the aroma is also a big factor that indicates the quality.

So, when you buy CBD flower, let your nose do the work. Buy the one that appeals to your olfactory system.

Tip: Avoid CBD flowers that are odorless or smell like hay.

So, it’s that simple. Keep an eye on the chemical profile, choose the stains wisely depending on their terpene and cannabinoid content, and store the flower well.

Do that and you are in for a wonderful smoking experience!

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