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CBD (short for cannabidiol) infused skincare products are making a huge splash in the Beauty Industry. CBD beauty products are targeting aging, stressed, inflamed and damaged skin. It’s no surprise given the many medicinal qualities of CBD and the changes in the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized Hemp.
Being a beauty industry insider for over 25 years, I’ve seen many consumers sucked into the marketing hype of anti-aging products promising to reverse the signs of aging and damaged skin. Many of the ads and claims sound so convincing. As a consumer, making informed decisions is difficult if you don’t understand the efficacy of the listed ingredients and/or the science behind the products. Even with industry knowledge it’s easy to get sucked into the hype.
Now CBD, the non- psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, is a big buzz word in the beauty industry. Hemp derived CBD beauty products and other Hemp products are available online, in stores like Sephora and in your local drug or health food store. According to the Washington Post, more than 1,000 CBD-infused products (hemp) are now available online.
Hemp oil and CBD oil are legal all across the U.S when sold as a dietary supplement. Hemp derived CBD is legal in all 50 states, ‘marijuana’-derived CBD is not legal federally. The government classifies hemp as any plant of the cannabis family that contains less than 0.3% THC.
Not all CBD is the same? Before you run to your local health or beauty store for a CBD product let’s look at the differences between CBD oil and Hemp oil.
Hemp is made from the seeds of the cannabis plant while CBD is derived from the leaves of the cannabis plant. Hemp-derived CBD contains very little or no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive part of the plant. Hemp CBD is sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil. Think of hemp seeds as cold pressed extract from seeds, similar to sunflower oil and grapeseed oil. There are hemp advocates that claim that hemp derived CBD is just as effective as CBD derived from cannabis flower. However, much of what we currently know is anecdotal.
It is important to note that products containing more than 0.3% THC are only sold in cannabis dispensaries in states where medical and recreational are legal. CBD products sold in dispensaries have greater amounts of THC. I recently visited a local cannabis dispensary in San Francisco where I found CBD and THC skincare products including bath balms, soaps, oils for vaginal health, anti-aging beauty products and pain -relief topical creams. Prices range from $37.00 to over $100.00.
What is the benefit of more THC in topical skincare products?
There are studies and hard evidence showing that CBD and THC can reduce inflammation and pain when applied topically. But there is really no clear science at this time about the benefits of CBD and THC in beauty skincare products, though many consider them solid sources of antioxidants and beneficial amino acids. “In one commonly cited study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science in 2007, researchers isolated THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids from cannabis. They found that when applied to human skin cells, all the cannabinoids they tested inhibited the overproduction of keratinocytes (skin cells) that are commonly seen in psoriasis.”
Topicals for pain relief have shown to be more effective with higher percentages of THC. One such product is Sweet Relief Comfort+ with THC ratios as high as 14:1. All without the high.
Currently studies are very limited, we are only beginning to understand the many benefits of CBD and THC.
There are many key ingredients in beauty products that have proven science to back up their claims: Anti-oxidants, Retinol, Glycolic acid, Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, Vitamin E, Alpha-hydroxy acids, Vitamin C and many others. It is also important to note the delivery system of these products and the many other inactive ingredients which may be present in the formulation.
Now, we’re adding CBD to the list.
What does this mean for consumers?
As with any product it’s important to know the difference between the marketing hype and product claims backed by scientific studies. This is especially important when it comes to the efficacy of skincare products. Studies are very expensive and therefore many new CBD or Hemp derived skin care companies do not have the funding for scientific studies.
This is what we do know about CBD:
CBD is a powerful antioxidant especially when combined with a small amount of THC, it has many anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties. CBD is used to treat pain, muscle aches, anxiety, arthritis, gut disorders, skin diseases and more. However, much of the current research is still antidotal. Most beauty products containing CBD are made with industrial hemp seed oil which differs from skincare products or topicals made with CBD oil and THC. If you see a CBD skincare product at your local drug store it is Hemp vs the skincare products on the shelves of a legal cannabis dispensary.
This is what we currently know about Hemp seed oil:
Hemp seeds contain lots of essential fatty acids that may help alleviate dry skin, eczema, and other skin irritations. It has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Another benefit is omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids within hemp seeds are still present when they are cold pressed into hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is hydrating and contain fatty acids therefore it’s a great moisturizer for the skin.
The bottom line: There are many new CBD Hemp Oil beauty products to try, including lip balms, bath salts, mascara, soaps, night cream, body lotions, hair products and many more. Do your research, talk to your dermatologist to make sure you are buying the right products for your skin type and buy from brands you trust.
I predict CBD skincare products will become a popular choice as more studies reveal CBD’s benefits to the health of our skin. Stay tuned for CBD product reviews.
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