Who doesn’t remember the surreptitious days of spraying cologne and taking impromptu showers to mask the smell of weed? Apparently, the times are a-changin': weed perfume has become the latest trend in the beauty and wellness industries, and, perhaps not surprisingly, it bears little resemblance to the skunky, burnt scents of yore.

Cannabis perfume takes on more subtle tones: it combines floral, piney, and earthy smells with faints hints of cannabis’ characteristic skunky musk. Think of a greenhouse containing a careful selection of fragrant flowers, punctuated by a few cannabis plants.

There are two kinds of cannabis perfume: the kind made from real cannabis, and the kind that contains no cannabis, but is engineered to capture that elusive weed smell. The latter is popular in places where weed is still entirely illegal—though now that the US has legalized the use of hemp across the country, those places are becoming few and far between. The approaches for making these two kinds of weed perfume are markedly different.

HOW TO MAKE CANNABIS PERFUME

To understand how to make cannabis perfume, we need to understand how to make perfume in general. Perfume is composed of four main ingredients: essential oils, a base oil, ethanol, and spring water. The essential oils are further divided into three categories: top notes, middle notes, and base notes (not to be confused with the base oil). The top note evaporates the fastest, while the base note evaporates the slowest. When wearing perfume, all three notes are active at first, with the top note taking centre stage. As it evaporates, the middle note becomes dominant, followed by the base note. Many perfumers also use bridge notes, which help ease the transition between different notes.

To make perfume, first pick out which scents you want for your top, middle, and base notes, as well as any bridge notes. If you’re trying to replicate the cannabis scent without actually using cannabis, you’ll need to carefully blend the correct notes to achieve the coveted aroma. If you are using cannabis, it may occupy a different note depending on the terpene and cannabinoid profile of the cannabis oil you’re using, as well as how it compares to the other oils.

Once you’ve picked your essential oils, add them to the base oil—commonly sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. You generally want to use about 7 drops of each of the top, middle, and base notes, in about 14 grams of oil. Then, you add about 70 grams of ethanol (vodka will do the trick) and seal the mix in an airtight container. Let it sit for between 48 hours and 6 weeks. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the smell will be. Once it’s ready, add a few tablespoons of spring water, mix well, and strain it through a coffee filter. Add a tablespoon of glycerine to preserve the scent. Then, store your perfume in an amber-coloured glass bottle.

To get the cannabis scent just right, you may want to buy from a professional source. Fresh's Cannabis Santal is lauded online, as is Demeter Fragrances’ Cannabis Flower.

How to make cannabis perfume

WHAT CANNABIS PERFUME MEANS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Cannabis perfume is a large step in the direction of normalising cannabis in the mainstream. It represents a move back to a time when cannabis was commonly used for textiles, medicine, and cosmetics. More and more industries are beginning to see the potential of this plant as more and more districts are changing laws to accommodate its use.

As society moves in the direction of embracing cannabis clothing, cannabis medicine, and cannabis perfume, more and more people will begin asking why we’re bothering to criminalise this magnanimous plant at all. Cannabis perfume adds a note of playfulness and beauty to the cannabis industry and movement at large, and that’s one scent we’re happy to embrace.

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