Twenty years ago, if someone had predicted that not only would people be able to smoke cannabis freely without panicking about that signature smell giving them away, but that they’d actually be buying pot-scented candles, few would have believed it. But it’s true — some of the country’s favorite candle brands are releasing products that smell like marijuana, and they’re selling faster than you might think.
“I had high expectations for this candle and when I got it, was not disappointed. The scent is perfectly balanced with smells ranging from deep and dark to more crisp and invigorating,” said one customer about the Cannabis Candle from Malin and Goetz. “Will definitely continue to purchase as this product is very well done.”
Reviews such as this one are coming at the same time as experts develop low-odor cannabis strains and a variety of non-combustible ways to use the plant. Apparently, there are some who love the plant but prefer odor-free ways to use it, and others who just can’t get enough of that cannabis smell.
Even so, it might seem odd that cannabis would end up in candles, but considering it has found its way into almost every other product in the wellness industry from CBD honey to THC bath salts, it makes sense. This is especially true given that the candle industry is closely linked to the wellness space and the crossover between the two has grown in recent years.
With candles now boasting complicated blends of essential oils designed to calm the body and mind, and cannabis oils being sold for the same purpose, it’s little wonder that the two have been mixed together.
Cannabis candles vary from brand to brand, but what they do have in common is the scent of the cannabis plant family. This doesn’t mean that lighting a candle will give your lovely home a frat-house feel, though. The cannabis tones are carefully mixed with others to create sophisticated fragrances with subtle hints of cannabis.
For example, the Purple Kush cannabis candle from Boy Smells features scent notes of brushed suede, along with tulip, purple cassis, white musk, and amber. Similarly, the Four Twenty candle from Homesick Candles is described as, “A cloudy room, drifting to the tune of your favorite album,” with a touch of bergamot, cedarwood, sandalwood, and patchouli (and, of course, cannabis).
But what about the ingredients? Despite the common misconception, cannabis candles don’t actually contain cannabis plant material. Products will vary to some degree from brand to brand, but the most common ingredients you’ll find are beeswax, soybean wax, cotton wicks, a range of essential oils, and cannabis oils.
Cannabis oils is an umbrella term which includes everything from hemp seed extract to full spectrum CBD oil. While most brands are conspicuously vague in how much information they give about the oils they’ve used — and they’re not required to, thanks to the lack of regulation of cannabis products — the one most likely to appear in your candle is cannabis essential oil, which research has shown to have a number of mood-elevating effects.
That doesn’t mean they’ll get you high, though, which is often the first assumption that people make about cannabis candles. For one thing, cannabis essential oils contain only the tiniest traces of cannabinoids like THC, the compound responsible for cannabis’ intoxicating effects. There’s simply not enough of it to have any noticeable effect. On top of that, even secondhand cannabis smoke from THC-rich sources (like a joint, for example) is quite unlikely to get you high, since so little of it is released into the air. According to one study, a person would need to spend an extended amount of time in a closed room with at least 16 burning joints before they felt high.
So the next time you have company, you can light up a cannabis candle with little fear of sending your guests home in a stupor.