Should CBD Smell Like Weed?
Especially if you're about to go to a business meeting or meet your mother-in-law for the first time.
Let's not get off on a bad foot!
The type of CBD oil that you buy can definitely affect this question.
There a whole class of CBD oil that has a strong hemp smell.
Another subset has very little scent at all.
We'll explain the difference and why it's more important than just the weed smell.
SO, in order to avoid scaring the parents when you go in to teach their children, let's see if we can avoid the weed smell with CBD.
The two main types of CBD oil and weedy scents
First, there are two main types of CBD available on the market:
- CBD Isolate
- Full Spectrum CBD and/or hemp oil
The CBD Isolate should have very little smell at all and no discernable weed smell.
It's basically the crystalline CBD substance itself (has no scent...like salt or sugar) added to a base oil.
Now, we have to be a little careful with the base oil in our calculation.
There are three common options:
- Hemp oil
- Olive oil
- MCT oil
Hemp oil can have a weedy smell depending on how concentrated it is and what parts of the plant they use.
The clearer the oil, the less it smells like weed but there will always be some of the scent there.
It is the cannabis plant after all.
That being said, hemp generally has a milder smell than marijuana which is just a function of the level of THC and terpenes in the plant.
Olive oil has it's own distinctive smell and you probably don't want to go on a first date smelling like Olive Garden either.
MCT (extracted fats from coconut oil) is the least noticeable scent.
It has a slightly sweet smell and taste but barely discernible.
Again, it's an extract from coconut oil...not coconut oil itself.
Very little smell and if added to CBD Isolate, no weed smell at all.
Finally, the second type of CBD...Full Spectrum CBD.
The weedy smell of Full Spectrum CBD
This type of CBD is pushed everywhere due to the slick marketing term "the entourage effect".
Basically, there's a lot more of the hemp plant in the bottle.
This can give is a weedy smell, taste, and color!
It's not unusual for it to be green and goopy.
The weedy taste and smell can be a dealbreaker for some people.
Keep in mind that a great deal of our taste comes from the scent of what we're consuming.
There's another issue with Full Spectrum.
A good percentage of the US population has allergy and histamine issues.
Roughly 40% and up to 60% for women (maybe higher if over the age of 40).
They are likely to have negative reactions to all that plant material.
The very things that many brands are selling can make people feel bad!
We've seen where side effects from full spectrum disappear with CBD Isolate.
We're not surprised!
Also, the research is mainly for CBD itself.
There's no real scientific backing for the entourage effect.
Till we see research, it's just great marketing to push a product that easier and cheaper to make (bigger margins).
You can get more info on this from a reputable source here:
Also, it can have a distinctive weedy smell.
It can also degrade more quickly since there is organic plant material in the bottle.
It's not uncommon for it to get darker, more smelly, and thicker once the bottle is opened.
The MCT oil and CBD isolate retains its general viscosity, color, taste, and lack of scent for longer than you'll probably have any left in the bottle.
You can check out our Does CBD expire page for more detail.
Learn all about CBD and histamines here and get into the difference of Full Spectrum versus CBD Isolate here.
When we tested the big brands, roughly 90% of them had full spectrum CBD and most had a distinct weed smell.
This brings up one other issue.
Can you travel with CBD?
I was in Vegas just the other week for a trade-show.
Going through security at the airport, the drug dogs we're winding their way through the people waiting in line.
The dogs are trained to recognize the distinctive marijuana smell in bags and on people.
They are not trained for the smell of CBD (which generally has no scent).
Last we checked, coconut oil wasn't on their radar as well.
The full spectrum CBD and/or hemp oil base may be an issue there.
Now, in some States, marijuana is legal.
It's still a questions mark in many other places, especially internationally (Asia comes to mind).
For that reason, CBD Isolate with MCT oil is the safest bet for airport security.
There's no THC or cannabis plant material to give off a scent!