The use of CBD in cosmetics has become a massive trend in recent years. But before making skincare products with this promising active ingredient an integrated part of your beauty routine, there are a few things you should be aware of!
Since CBD has been approved on the broad market (CBD is, in contrast to THC, the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant), it seems to be everywhere: in body lotions, bath salts, food supplements, sleeping pills and even dog food.
According to research, CBD has many potential benefits for skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties, can combat skin redness, and also seems to prevent premature skin aging thanks to its antioxidative properties.
But there is much more to learn about CBD than its numerous benefits for the skin. From production and social impacts to questionable financial practices related to CBD, industry insiders know the secrets of the green plant.
So, before you consider integrating CBD into your skincare, it certainly won't hurt to get some important information about the background of CBD.
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is one of the compounds found in cannabis plants. Hemp and marijuana both belong to the family of cannabis plants, and although they both have their differences (more on this later), CBD can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana.
The other compound found in cannabis plants is THC, but it is not legal is most countries because of its psychoactive effects. CBD, in comparison, has no intoxicating effect whatsoever, so it does not make you high and does not affect your consciousness.
Although research on how CBD works and its ability to relieve common problems such as anxiety and insomnia is still in its infancy, there are some key points on which many industry experts seem to agree. According to them, CBD has the potential to act as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent, which has been used successfully to relieve pain and treat skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea and even sunburn and insect bites. Of course, this is focusing only on topical application of CBD.
CBD also seems to stabilize mood, relieve anxiety, and bring about a calm feeling of well-being.
So, how exactly does CBD work? Although research is still ongoing, it seems that the effectiveness of CBD is due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a network of receptors that every mammal has. This system is responsible for maintaining the hormonal balance of the body and helps to regulate many essential functions of the body, such as sleep, pain, appetite, immune system, and stress.
Some studies have also shown that in addition to its anti-inflammatory effect on skin problems, CBD also seems to reduce the oil production of the skin. The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD help to soothe the skin and thus reduce redness. Due to its antioxidant and regenerative properties, CBD has the potential to compensate for damage caused by sun, pollution, and aging.
The difference between CBD and hemp seed oil
There is often confusion about the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD derived from hemp.
The comparison between hemp seed oil and hemp-derived CBD is not much better than comparing potatoes to vodka — they come from the same plant but have very different properties.
Hemp seed oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. Products with hemp seed oil are therefore rich in several vitamins as well as omega fatty acids. These have a particularly hydrating effect – but hemp seed oil DOES NOT contain CBD.
Therefore, when buying cosmetic products, you should pay special attention to the actual ingredients: many cosmetic brands make it look like as though CBD is in their products, when in reality they contain only hemp seed oil.
CBD — as opposed to hemp seed oil — is an extract from the leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis plant. Products with CBD seem to have much more regenerative, anti-ageing, and anti-inflammatory effects than products made with just hemp oil.
This is also known the "entourage effect": The different parts of the plant (leaves, flowers, stems) are supposed to work together and thus enhance the overall effectiveness of the plant.
Social perception of CBD
Although CBD might be an exceptional substance for skincare, it cannot be denied that its popularity has much to do with its proximity to drug culture.
Thus, some CBD companies take advantage of the controversial stigma of cannabis to attract more attention. This then becomes a difficult issue, as it conflates CBD (which is legal in many countries) with THC (which is illegal in many countries), confusing customers.
Despite the awareness, research, and even legalization of CBD, there is still a lot of work to be done to advance the industry around CBD products, including the cosmetics industry.
However, it also seems that every year, new rules and regulations arise to support the rise of this special active ingredient and make its extraordinary benefits accessible to a broader range of people. So stay informed, do your research, trust only reliable brands, and enjoy the benefits of CBD for your skin!