As marijuana starts legalizing state by state, it has begun to enter the mainstream mindset and market. You can buy everything from accessories to oils to wine (yes, really!) in boutique shops and online. Business of Fashion reported that legal marijuana sales will surpass 22 billion by 2020. With the peaked interest in weed, the beauty industry has been following the trend closely, launching everything from cannabis-inspired products like the Malin+Goetz Cannabis collection to actual cannabis-infused products like The Body Shop Hemp Hand Protector.
But what exactly is cannabis beauty, and what are its benefits? First, it’s important to understand the different parts of a cannabis plant. Marijuana is the part of the cannabis sativa plant that you can smoke, vape or ingest to get high thanks to its THC. It’s important to note that this is not the part of cannabis that’s used in skin, hair, and feminine care. Typically, beauty products are formulated with hemp seed oil and cannabidiol oil (also known as CBD oil), neither of which contain THC.
According to plant-based skincare expert and founder of Aphorism Skincare, Urvashi Singh, “virgin, cold-pressed organic hemp seed oil is considered one of the most powerful skin care oils in nature.” It contains omega 6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids, along with powerful anti-oxidants like vitamin A and E. It also has traces of minerals that are needed for optimal cellular function and skin vitality, such as zinc, calcium, and iron, she explains. To top it all off, hemp seed oil has amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
As for CBD, it is a compound found in cannabis flowers and is only legal in certain states, not yet federally. “While CBD oil remains controversial due to legal issues as well as manufacturing and sourcing, there is research that shows it may be a powerful ingredient for a number of skin care disorders in the future,” Singh says. Like hemp seed oil, CBD is an anti-inflammatory agent, and it has been clinically proven to minimize pain. Although major research has yet to be conducted, Singh points out that CBD oil has also shown early promise for reducing eczema and psoriasis outbreaks.
Cannabis Beauty Defined formulator Janelle Kim explains CBD oil can also help prevent acne and signs of aging. “A study conducted by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed that the endocannabinoid system is critical to the life cycle of basal cells, which make up around 90 percent of the cells in the epidermis,” she explains, adding that CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C, E A and omega 3 fatty acids. Therefore, it has a strong ability to protect against free radicals, which speed up the signs of aging. As for the acne prevention, Kim says, CBD can be used to affect the output of oils in the skin, to the endocannabinoid receptors in the sebaceous glands. This can help control outbreaks.
As exciting as all these preliminary observations are, there still needs to be more research to fully understand why and how we can use these types of cannabis extractions in our skin care. In the meantime, there are a few brands cornering the market at an early stage and taking advantage of all its promise. Check out some of the best cannabis infused beauty products you can get your hands on below.