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The Smell of CBD Success

Posted by David on

Whenever you invest in a new CBD product, make it a habit to give it a good whiff before trying that said product. Similarly, it’s good practice to smell your CBD periodically while it is in your possession. CBD’s known for its particularly pungent aroma, which many hemp enthusiasts like to analyze like a fine wine. The smell of cannabidiol actually tells us a lot about its quality, potency, and even its properties.

Where Does CBD Actually Get Its Smell From?

Whenever a person tries a CBD product for the first time, they are likely to remark in surprise that their new formula smells like marijuana. Well, that’s not too surprising. Hemp, from which we derive cannabidiol, and marijuana are siblings, belonging to the cannabis genus. They are so similar in terms of their chemical composition that they smell basically identical to one another.

Hemp and marijuana are both known for their pungent aroma that is herbal, minty, citrusy, earthy and even a bit skunky. It is a strong smell that we can detect from several feet away if a person is smoking cannabis within our vicinity. Of course, these two plants are quite different from one another despite the fact that they smell the same to one another.

The difference between the two plants, which explains the difference in legal status, is their cannabinoid content. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both cannabis derived-cannabinoids. CBD is the dominant compound in hemp, while THC is the dominant compound in marijuana. This is why marijuana gets you high and hemp does not.

Cannabinoids like CBD and THC may produce specific effects, but they are odorless. Cannabinoids do not have a flavor or smell whatsoever. So, the reason why hemp and marijuana smell alike is because of the terpenes in cannabis. Terpenes are secondary compounds in cannabis, and each plant has over one hundred distinctive terpenes.

Marijuana and hemp share identical terpenes, and it’s the terpenes that give this plant its aroma profile. The hundreds of terpenes work together to create a distinctive smell that is totally unique to cannabis. Therefore, the hemp smell that you’ve come to know, and love is deriving purely from the terpenes in the plant, and not from the CBD itself.

CBD Isolate vs. Broad Spectrum or Full Spectrum CBD

So, do all CBD products have the same, strong hemp smell? Well, not exactly. It depends on the product that you are using.

For one thing, any hemp product, with the exception of flower, can contain one of three types of hemp extracts.

  • Full Spectrum Hemp: Contains every compound in hemp, including the trace amount of THC naturally found in the flower, along with every terpene that naturally occurs.
  • Broad Spectrum Hemp: THC-free, but still has every terpene in the plant.
  • CBD Isolate: An isolated cannabidiol extract without any terpenes or other compounds present. It’s odorless and flavorless, and so products made with CBD isolate will not smell like hemp.

An array of CBD-infused formulas on the market, like topicals, tinctures, and even edibles are made with additional ingredients that have their own distinctive smell. For instance, gummies taste like sweet and fruity candy, which obviously has nothing to do with the compounds of hemp.

Strains of Hemp and Their Aroma Profiles

Another thing worth keeping in mind is that the precise aroma profile of hemp varies between strains. The strain refers to the breed of the hemp plant, as each strain has its own distinctive configuration of terpenes. As each terpene adds an aroma note to the hemp plant, different strains smell differently from one another. Some strains have a strong skunky smell, and others are sweet and fruity. There are hundreds of unique strains, each with its own particular smell.

Freshness and Quality, and Their Impact on CBD’s Aroma

Terpenes, along with cannabinoids, can destabilize and degrade over time. When this happens, they lose their potency, along with their aroma. So, the smell of your hemp can give you a great idea as to how potent it is.

If your CBD product contains full spectrum or broad spectrum extract, or is a flower product, and the smell is weak, then you know that the terpenes have degraded in some way. This can be because the product has aged, which happens after about two years with an extract, and six months with flower. Or, the product might have been produced using subpar methods, such as solvent-based extraction methods, that can make the terpenes unstable and prone to breaking down quickly.

How You Store Your Hemp Can Affect its Smell

Another aspect that affects smell is storage. Once you’ve acquired CBD, you must store it properly or else its compounds can break down and lose their potency, with the terpenes losing the potency of their aroma as well. CBD should always be kept in a cool and dark place that stays dry during the day, because light, heat and humidity can all degrade these delicate compounds, causing them to weaken at a rapid pace.

Therefore, if you have CBD that has been sitting around for a while, give it a good whiff. If you can still smell the terpenes, you’re good. Of course, CBD isolate products will never smell like terpenes because there are none, so do not expect them to smell like anything.

When the Smell Indicates that Something is Wrong

In rare cases, hemp products can go bad in the sense that they are harmful to take. If your CBD product has the smell of mildew, or has a rancid taste, simply throw it out. This indicates that harmful microbes have entered the product.

Sometimes, a Simple Whiff Can Really Help Before Taking that Said CBD Product

As you can see, CBD products that contain terpenes have a distinctive smell, and that’s a good thing, because it means that the compounds are fresh and full of properties that can yield desirable results. Always make a point to smell your hemp products to check for freshness and quality, as well as safety and potency. And, if a CBD product smells rancid or mildewy, simply toss it out and replace it when you can.

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