Cannabis perfume: new trend or simple stunt?

more and more used, cannabis perfume spreads aromatic and camphorated notes

Magic anti-stress remedy, beneficial oil, miracle ingredient against insomnia… The CBD industry is exploding! So much so that some noses are interested in this intriguing material to introduce it in fragrances. But can cannabis perfume really make its way onto our dressing tables? What are the real ingredients used in the making of these compositions? Let’s put our nose in this new fragrance trend…

History, myths and botany

The origins of cannabis

Known since almost ever, cannabis was one of the very first plants domesticated by man in the Neolithic era in Asia. According to some writings, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung would have been a fervent consumer of this hypnotic plant to look after his various evils. During the history, the conquests of territories and the migratory flows, the cannabis was imported and cultivated almost everywhere in the world. Its use has always been accompanied by a large part of symbolism and numerous beliefs. Considered as a magical ingredient, cannabis is part of the sacred plant material of Hinduism. It helps to enter in trance and to communicate with the sacred world. Linked to various deities during centuries and civilizations, it accompanies the Men in their spiritual search and helps to cure the diseases.

In France, cannabis was introduced after the return of the soldiers from the Egyptian campaign in 1798. The use of cannabis gradually became popular among the wealthy class, artists, writers and painters. Napoleon banned it completely a few years later, marking the beginning of the legislation of its consumption in Europe.

CBD, THC, hemp, cannabis… What are the differences?

While its use in cosmetics and parapharmacy is growing, it is sometimes difficult to find its way among all the names that can be found. You thought that cannabis and hemp were the same thing? That CBD and THC were more or less identical? Not really! There are some subtleties to know. We make the point:

The cannabis

The cannabis is the green plant with large serrated leaves that we all know. It is this plant that can be ingested, chewed or smoked as a narcotic for its psychotropic effects. In fact, cannabis contains a multitude of cannabinoids inside its stems, flowers and leaves. These are the chemical substances secreted by the plant, which act directly on our nervous system. Among the various cannabinoids, we identify the famous THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol of its real name). It is this psychoactive substance that will make you “high” or even sleepy.

Moreover, the THC content will determine the name and the use of the plant. Varieties containing more than 0.2% THC are thus called cannabis. Cannabis used for therapeutic or “recreational” properties actually contains between 5 and 20% THC, yes, just that! As for hashish, it is simply cannabis resin, extracted from the plant’s flowers.

The hemp

This plant is in fact a variety of cannabis that has the characteristic of containing very little THC (less than 0.2%), but a lot of CBD. In other words, smoking hemp won’t do much for you! There are many varieties of hemp. It can be grown industrially to make fabric, plastic or paper. Hemp can also be used in cosmetics in the form of oil, but also in cooking with its small seeds full of properties.


These are the three little letters that we see more and more, and whose trade seems to explode in recent months/years. Like THC, CBD (cannabidiol of its complete name, less popular) is a cannabinoid present in cannabis. But unlike its borderline cousin, it is not psychotropic and therefore does not trigger any effect on your behavior. On the contrary, this substance seems to show beneficial effects according to some studies. The CBD would thus act on insomnia, relieve certain chronic pains, beautify the skin, reduce stress… Extracted from hemp flowers, the CBD oil is consumed in all forms: infusion, creams, drops, gums and many others.

The cannabis perfume

A strong trend?

Faced with the success of CBD and more generally the use of hemp in cosmetics, the perfume industry has tried to rack its nostrils to introduce this new material by creating CBD or cannabis perfume. Intoxicating and hypnotizing notes have thus become attractive arguments to praise the merits of these fragrances with a transgressive universe. And yes, smoking kills, but still smells pretty good according to the marketers! The cannabic aromas are sensual, almost carnal. We are far from the scent of burnt or dusty grass that some people tried to camouflage with deodorant spray. But the cannabis perfume, what does it really smell like?

The smell of cannabis

To understand the olfactory interest of hemp or cannabis, it is necessary to look at its composition more closely. If its medicinal or cosmetic properties come from CBD, its smell is naturally diffused thanks to the presence in the plant of substances called terpenes. Terpenes are actually hydrocarbons produced by many plants, including cannabis. These hydrocarbons are composed of odorous molecules. Terpenes are found in many plants such as mint, cinnamon, lavender, etc. Cannabis contains about 200 different terpene molecules. That’s why it gives off so many facets depending on its varieties.

The note of cannabis starts on acidity to evolve towards an herbaceous heart, almost balsamic. We find generally an aromatic side very present, with a minty and camphorated aspect. It is resinous, and evokes the smell of hay, lavender, seaweed or fruit. It is mostly a dry and woody scent that gives off animal and even tarry nuances.

An artificial accord

Even if the smell of natural cannabis is powerful, CBD oil or hemp oil is ultimately very little scented. So much so that these raw materials are not used in the making of fragrances. It is for this reason that the scent of cannabis is recreated in an artificial way in the compositions. The noses thus use accords of natural and synthetic raw materials to reproduce this complex smell. Perfumers can thus draw from their palette sulfurous notes with grapefruit for example, sage for the aromatic aspect, tobacco, hay and even vetiver for its smoky and earthy nuances. If olfactively speaking this note seems interesting, beware of unscrupulous brands that sell you a cannabis perfume with well-being and relaxing virtues… These are simply marketing arguments!

What do you think of the cannabis perfume trend? Do you like this characteristic smell?

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