How CBD is impacting fragrance – and every product category

You’ve heard about the ingredient generating the most buzz of 2019: cannabidiol (CBD). CBD-infused products are everywhere from mascara to coffee. And amidst national cannabis reform, major retailers are joining the movement. This spring, CVS Health, Walgreens, Rite Aid, GNC, and Ulta Beauty introduced CBD-based offerings. Although the Federal Drug Administration prohibits CBD in food and beverages, Ben & Jerry’s announced its plan to one day sell CBD-infused ice cream. It’s no wonder a new study projects that the U.S. CBD market will reach $20B in sales by 2024. Read on for a quick overview of cannabis ingredients, and the best ways to harness the trend through fragrance.

From left, Sprig, Myaderm, NaturVet, and Origins cannabis-based products.

What is CBD, and does it contain THC?
Cannabidiol (CBD for short) is a chemical derived from the cannabis family. CBD may treat inflammation, insomnia, anxiety and other maladies, but more long-term studies are needed. A common misconception is that CBD contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is actually a separate and different derivative of the cannabis plant. Unlike CBD, THC is psychoactive, meaning it affects a person’s mind.

Is hemp the same as CBD?
CBD oil is often conflated with another popular cannabis-based ingredient: hemp oil. However, hemp and CBD are not same. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp (classified as the cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC). If you’re looking at an ingredient list, CBD oil appears as “cannabidiol,” while hemp oil is listed as “cannabis sativa seed oil.” Kline Group reports that brands can differentiate themselves by using pure CBD oil rather than just hemp seed oil.

From left, HereticFog & Tree, and Herb Essntls cannabis-infused perfumes.

What do CBD products actually smell like?
The explosion of CBD has inspired a new crop of fragrances. And a lot of them don’t have the marijuana odor you might expect.

A number of candles and perfumes marketed with cannabis fragrance stories don’t actually contain cannabis compounds. These inspired-by fragrances range widely from powdery and musky (Boy Smells Kush) to fruity and woody (Fresh Cannabis Santal).

Another category of perfumes and personal care products contain CBD oil or hemp seed oil. Since pure CBD oil doesn’t have much of an odor, brands play up the natural ingredients by adding green and earthy fragrances. Check out Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate made with hemp oil and Heretic Parfum Dirty Grass with CBD oil.

Overall, our analysis of best-selling cannabis scents confirmed a green earthy commonality. Patchouli, vetiver, and musky notes were especially popular.

These fragrance pyramids represent two different cannabis interpretations on the market.

Are cannabis terpenes the future?
All botanicals (including cannabis) produce terpenes, chemical compounds that determine the way a plant tastes and smells. Perfumers use terpenes as raw materials in their olfactive palette. With relaxing laws around cannabis, brands have started using cannabis derivatives in place of the terpenes traditionally sourced from other vegetation. A prime example: California-based label Fog & Tree uses real cannabis terpenes in its cologne.

Our Recommendations
We’d love to help you tap into the CBD trend through fragrance!

To capture the spirit of CBD, try an inspired-by fragrance:

  • Natural Cannabis-Inspired | All natural. Does not include actual cannabis.
  • Cannabis-Inspired Terpenes | The same terpenes found in cannabis, but sourced from other botanicals. Does not include actual cannabis.

Or, try an on-trend fragrance that’s often featured with CBD:

  • Damask Rose & Oud
  • Smoky Vanilla
  • Lavender Vanilla

To request samples, email [email protected].

Orchidia Fragrances is excited to announce our TREND WATCH email. Each month, we’ll highlight the latest trends and innovations in the fragrance industry. To sign up for Orchidia’s monthly TREND WATCH, click here.

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