People Really Want to Smell Like Cannabis

26th September 2019

It used to be that smelling like the inside of a hippie’s van was a bad thing. But nowadays, more and more people want to reek of weed. That’s right, beauty influencers are increasingly embracing fragrances which highlight the aroma of cannabis.

It’s not cheap either.

Dirty Grass, is a $185 scent with 500mg of hemp-derived CBD oil in each bottle. This is the latest release from Heretic Parfum’s Douglas Little, the perfumer behind Goop’s all-natural fragrances. The high price tag is also in sharp contrast to one of the first cannabis-scents that was on the market. Demeter’s Cannabis Flower was priced at just $36 when it was released back in 2006.

Little is also responsible for scents created for Dita von Teese and candles for Lady Gaga. The unisex Dirty Grass scent contains notes of pink pepper and lemon zest. Plus, in each 50ml bottle the hemp-derived CBD oil gives it a slightly sweet, herb-like scent. It’s unclear though how much of the calming CBD will take effect in the bloodstream. However, Little says that breathing the fragrance will deliver it directly into the bloodstream.

As cannabis moves further and further into the mainstream, fragrance makers are working hard to overcome bong-water stereotypes. It probably helps that the world seems to be in something of a CBD fever for the last few years. The CBD industry has exploded for consumers, and you can now get it in everything from shampoos to pet food.

Linda Levy, the president of the Fragrance Foundation which counts Sephora, Macy’s, and LVMH among its members, said that cannabis scents “seem to be very trendy, very of the moment.”

“In the past two years in the beauty category, cannabis became one of those real conversation pieces.”

Although big names like L’Oreal, Estée Lauder, and Chanel don’t have their own cannabis line just yet, it may only be a matter of time.

An appeal to nostalgia?

In trying to explain the appeal of cannabis-scented perfumes, a professor from Harvard University weighed in. David Edwards, a professor of bioengineering at Harvard thinks that there may be a nostalgia factor, with the scents bringing up fond recollections for the wearers.

In trying to explain the appeal of cannabis-scented perfumes, a professor from Harvard University weighed in. David Edwards, a professor of bioengineering at Harvard thinks that there may be a nostalgia factor, with the scents bringing up fond recollections for the wearers.

“Olfactory nerves go right to the brain, very near to the hippocampus,” he says having worked for years on digitizing scent.

“We perceive scent very much like a memory, and it stays in our mind like a memory.”

As mentioned, CBD is certainly part of the zeitgeist at the moment and brands are heavily interested in availing of it while they can. But these creators don’t want you to smell like actual “weed” but more the illusion of cannabis.

“For the most part, the ones I’m smelling have more to do with the outdoors, trees, woods,” says Linda Levy. “Now that the US is allowing weed to be legal state-by-state, it also allows it to be something everyone is talking about.”

Andrew Goetz, cofounder of Malin + Goetz, said the company’s Cannabis Eau de Parfum name was risky even up to five years ago, when it was first released, because marijuana was still mostly illegal. “Now everyone is trying to find their way in and their opportunity.”

While Johann Bergelin, the creator of the Swedish brand Chronic compares the current CBD gold rush to the aloe vera craze of a decade ago. Chronic which is available at Barney’s New York retails at $175 and contains notes of grapefruit and moss.

“We’re dealing with cosmetics,” says Bergelin. “That means it’s not real. It’s a dream or illusion.”

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