Its odour profile is described as such: weed-like scent with aspects of hay and nut. For those who are not familiar, basically it smells like the streets in Amsterdam where smoking of marijuana in ‘coffeeshops’ is legal (which means it is also well-regulated) and the glass-eyed smokers roam around looking for something undefined. However, not many people have described the scent pleasant. Thus, the basic question still remains to be answered: will it smell good in perfumes?
Amazingly, there have been a trend among the perfume and skincare brands to incorporate CBD (cannabidiol) in their products. Skincare companies advertise that the hemp seed oil has moisturizing and rejuvenating properties when applied on the skin. But what about in perfumes? Would consumers want to smell of weed?
Fortunately, fragrance brands have yet to create a pure cannabis perfume that will potentially drive out customers. The cannabis ingredient is blended in a proportion that would smell more appealing and even artistic with other ingredients. For instance, Music Festival of Mason Martin Margiela contains cannabis note which is well-balanced with the woody and smoky body. Users have described it “not too heavy” and “happy” like the name suggests.
From left: Smoke For The Soul (By Killian), Music Festival (Maison Martin Margiela), Cannbis Santal (fresh), Black Afgano (Nasomatto)
Other popular fragrances that have cannabis note include Cannabis Santal and Cannabis Rose of Fresh, Smoke For The Soul of By Killian and Black Afgano of Nasomatto. Some give off very faint cannabis scent, while others have a distinct and clear characteristic of cannabis.
The reception of this trend, however, seems a little different from region to region. Before looking at the market of these fragrances, how the society views cannabis will play an important part to determine if the trend would catch on or fail. The legality of cannabis differs from country to country, and the purpose of the use also determines the severity of the penalties or punishment imposed by the government. Quite a few countries have legalized the medical use of cannabis or cannabis-derived drugs but not many allow their recreational use. It is especially strict in the Asian and Middle Eastern countries, and it could even escalate to death penalty in Singapore for mere possession of it. So it would be safe to assume that consumers in such regions are not prepared to ‘hype’ about such trend when the penalties are so heavy just by possessing them. A report by Deloitte states that when the drugs are not legalized, the users are more ‘risk-taking’ and also younger. In Canada, where recreational use of cannabis has been recently approved, it is predicted that ‘conservative experimenters’ would be the major group of consumers, who are older and take a controlled approach towards the usage.
Coming back to the fragranced zone, there definitely seems to be a good market potential for the cannabis-based products, but the marketing strategies would have to be more assuring and crafted in a way that will not trigger the alarm in the consumer’s mind. For instance, cannabis oil contains terpenes that are also found in lavender, clove or citrus fruits oil. These oils therefore exhibit similar properties such as soothing and therapeutic effects when inhaled. This could be a direction that these cannabis- based products could take to re-assure the consumers that they are not different from other essential oils.
Personally, it was a pretty insightful experience as I was writing this article. I was also inspired to smell the fragrances I have listed above, although I did smell a pure cannabis oil previously. It will be an interesting turn if the trend does catch on, or even better, change the social perception towards cannabis.