Does CBD Smell Like Weed When Smoking?

by Sugar Team September 27, 2022 7 min read


The CBD market is expected to hit $20 billion by 2024, and much of its popularity can be traced back to the potential health benefits of taking CBD. But what about the smell? Do products like CRÈME cbd cigarettes smell like cannabis when lit?

When you smoke weed, it typically smells like earthy tones mixed with a skunk-like scent. CBD doesn’t share these same properties – in fact, some say it has no smell at all. 

Read on to explore the subtle scent of CBD and what other possible aromas you may experience.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis. Unlike THC (the compound that gives users a ‘high’), CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects. 

Instead, it’s thought to offer a range of potential therapeutic benefits, including reducing anxiety, relieving pain and inflammation, and helping to improve sleep.

CBD comes from the hemp plant, which is in the cannabis family. The main difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana can contain up to 30% THC. Because of this, CBD from hemp does not produce any psychoactive effects, while CBD from marijuana can.

Hemp vs marijuana: dissected

Hemp and marijuana are both plants in the cannabis family, but they have different purposes. Hemp is used for its seeds, oil, and fiber, while marijuana is grown for its psychoactive properties.

herb, hemp, plant

When it comes to other properties, here are some of the major differences between hemp and marijuana:

  • Hemp has high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (less than 0.3%). Marijuana has high levels of THC and low levels of CBD.

  • Hemp is typically grown outdoors, while marijuana is usually grown indoors.

  • Hemp plants can grow to be very tall (up to 20 feet!), while marijuana plants are shorter and bushier.

Overall, if you look at a hemp flower and a non-exotic marijuana flower, the similarities are there. As a matter of fact, there are hemp strains that look and smell exactly like weed. The difference is in the effects and what’s inside the plant.

Both of these earth-smelling plants have their benefits, but only one will make you feel high. So, if you’re looking to get the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects, CBD is the way to go. 

The ‘Entourage Effect’

The fruity, earthy, and woodsy smell that we associate with cannabis permeates the greatest CBD products, giving them a unique (and maybe familiar!) aroma. Because the many components of the cannabis plant function well together, the complete cannabis plant is utilized to create full spectrum CBD. 

This is called the ‘entourage effect’; the hypothesis that all compounds in cannabis work together to produce a greater effect than any one of them could on their own.

These compounds contain ‘terpenes’ which are what provide the signature smell of cannabis. Myrcene, for example, is a terpene that is responsible for the earthy smell of cannabis, while pinene smells like pine needles.

Since CBD came from the hemp plant, the smell of CBD should be similar to hemp. And, because full spectrum CBD contains all the compounds of the plant, it likely smells earthy with hints of other natural aromas.

chemistry, plant, terpene, glass bottle

What are terpenes?

As we briefly touched on before, terpenes are what give cannabis its signature smell. But terpenes do more than just make things smell good – they also play a role in the plant’s effects on our bodies.

Different terpenes interact with our bodies in different ways, and some research suggests that they may even amplify the effects of CBD. For example, the terpene myrcene is thought to increase the permeability of cell membranes, allowing CBD (and other compounds) to enter the cells more easily.

In addition to myrcene, there are dozens of other terpenes in cannabis, each with its own unique effects. Some common ones include:

  • Limonene: This citrus-smelling terpene is thought to boost mood and energy levels.

  • Caryophyllene: This spicy terpene is thought to help reduce anxiety and inflammation.

  • Pinene: This pine-scented terpene is thought to improve focus and memory.

While more research is needed to understand the full effects of these terpenes, there’s evidence that they may play a role in the therapeutic effects of CBD. 

Does CBD smell like weed?

So, back to the original question: does CBD smell like weed when smoking? 

The answer is… it depends! If you’re smoking CBD-rich hemp flower, then yes, it will have that familiar cannabis smell. But if you’re using a CBD isolate or distillate, there may be little to no odor at all.  We categorized everything below so you can make the best decision for your needs.

creme cbd cigarettes

CBD cigarettes

CBD-rich hemp flower can smell quite potent, especially when compared to regular tobacco cigarettes. If you’re looking for a smokeable product that smells more like traditional cigarettes, we recommend trying our flavored CBD cigarettes. These products are made with finely milled CBD-rich hemp flower and added flavoring to mask the smell of cannabis.

Non flavored hemp cigarettes will smell the same as weed, but most likely not as potent. As mentioned before, hemp is more on the earthier side, whereas cannabis can have a more pungent smell. 

CBD isolate

If you want to be sure that your CBD product won’t smell like weed, look for products that are made with CBD Isolate. CBD Isolates do not have any smell at all. If you’re using a CBD Isolate and don’t want anyone to know that you’re using cannabis, there’s no need to worry about the smell. 

CBD flower

You’ll smell practically nothing when smoking CBD isolate – but how about a full-spectrum CBD flower? As you can imagine, this situation is a little different.

The hemp plant has over 100+ different cannabinoids, with CBD and THC being the most abundant. When smoking a full-spectrum CBD flower, you will smell more of the other cannabinoids working together in the entourage effect. 

e cigarette, vaping, electronic cigarette

Vaping CBD

No matter if you are using a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD product, vaping CBD masks the smell of burning marijuana. This is due to the fact that vaping CBD does not burn the substance as smoking does. Instead, it vaporizes it, creating no smoke, a cleaner environment, and an easily removed odor.

Vaping is the best option if you want to use CBD at home, in your car, or at work without making your surroundings smell. If you want a marijuana-like experience without getting high, we recommend checking out CBD pre-rolls or CBD cigarettes.

Why smoke CBD in the first place?

We’ve established that CBD won’t make you smell like weed, and CBD isolate has next to no smell at all – so there are certainly plenty of options if you dislike the weed smell. But why smoke CBD in the first place?

As much as the cannabis plant is hyped up to be the ultimate psychoactive drug, there are many benefits to taking the CBD component of the cannabis plant by itself. Let’s talk about some of the benefits you can experience by adding it to your routine.


If you’re looking for a way to unwind after a long day, smoking CBD might be the perfect solution. CBD is well-known for its relaxing properties, which can help to ease anxiety and tension. 

When smoked, CBD enters your bloodstream quickly and begins working its magic almost immediately. So if you’re feeling stressed out, reach for some CBD instead of that afternoon cup of coffee.

Reduce inflammation

Smoking CBD can also help to reduce inflammation throughout your body. This is thanks to CBD’s ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate many important functions in the body, including inflammation. 

If you suffer from conditions like arthritis or Crohn’s disease, smoking CBD might help to alleviate some of your symptoms.

woman, asleep, girl

Improve your sleep

Do you struggle with insomnia or other sleep disorders? Smoking CBD might be a good way to improve your sleep. CBD is known for its calming effects that ease anxiety and promote relaxation. 

This can be helpful if you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. And since CBD is non-addictive and doesn’t have any major side effects, it’s considered a safe option for treating insomnia.

Treat pain

Smoking CBD can also help to reduce pain throughout your body, thanks to CBD’s ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate pain and inflammation. If you suffer from conditions like arthritis or multiple sclerosis, smoking CBD might help to alleviate some of your symptoms.

Reduce anxiety

CBD might help to reduce anxiety-related symptoms. CBD’s antianxiety effects can help to ease tension and promote relaxation, so if you’re feeling anxious or stressed out, reach for some CBD instead of that afternoon cup of coffee.

Prevent nausea

Nausea is a frustrating and, at times, debilitating condition. Interestingly, smoking CBD might help to reduce your symptoms. Its innate anti-nausea effects can help to ease an upset stomach and promote appetite. 

Reduce seizures

Some seizure sufferers find that smoking CBD helps to ease their symptoms. CBD is known for its anti-seizure effects, which can help to ease convulsions and promote relaxation. 

All in all, CBD is a multi-functional therapeutic substance that can be helpful in many different ways. Does CBD smell like weed when smoking? No; CBD is a different compound, and the aroma it exudes takes on a life of its own. 

joint, pre roll, tobacco


Although CBD cigarettes smell the same as weed, the potency of the smell will often depend on the potency of the flower. Generally, flavored CBD cigarettes will not smell much like weed, while unflavored CBD cigarettes will have that familiar scent. So, if you are wondering whether or not CBD smells like weed, the answer is that it depends on the product you are using. If you are using a non-flavored CBD hemp cigarette, oil,  or full-spectrum product, it will likely have a similar smell to weed. But, if you are using an isolate or flavored CBD cigarette, it usually will not smell like cannabis..

Don’t forget that CBD is non-addictive and doesn’t have any major side effects. According to a study in Harvard Health Publishing, “It does not cause a high and is not addictive.” So if you’re looking for a natural way to improve your health, smoking CBD might be worth a try. 

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