How Cannabis Became Beauty’s Hottest Ingredient

Emily Fisher
Emily Fisher - CEO

Sep 20 2019 - 6 min read

Several years back, not many people thought to use cannabis as an ingredient in cosmetics and beauty treatment. Fast-forward to now, and cannabis has taken the western countries by storm. Cannabis, and in particular cannabidiol (CBD), has become one of the most sought-after products over recent years.

A greater understanding of the natural benefits of cannabis and a more liberal outlook on cannabis consumption has seen various states in the US (and a few other countries the world over) lift the ban, although federal law has made it difficult for trade to exist between states. This hasn’t stopped companies adding cannabis to their products to take advantage of cannabis’ medicinal value (although how medical some of these products are is still questionable). Cannabis has been increasingly used as an active ingredient in many products pertaining to the food and beverage industry and the cosmetics industry.

Many people think of consuming cannabis in terms of edibles and tinctures, but many are looking at its application as a topical ingredient that could potentially revolutionize the cosmetics industry. It has already been imprinted in consumers’ minds that cannabis is capable of yielding miraculous results for a variety of conditions (although definitive evidence is still pending in many instances).

Cannabis’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have convinced a number of consumers to use cannabis-based beauty products for skin and beauty treatments as well. Cannabis also boasts anti-bacterial and vitamin-rich properties.

By Cytis. From Pixabay.

Treating Psoriasis

Psoriasis is characterized by scales and itchy dry patches on the surface of the skin. While the disease is not lethal, the fact that there is no cure for it had left many hopeless. Cannabis is touted to be a potent treatment for Psoriasis. Recent research has hinted that cannabinoids found in cannabis can be a powerful ingredient in treating the skin disease. Cannabinoids’ anti-inflammatory properties and inhibitory effects can avert the spreading of dead skin cells. These are still early days, and a lot of research is still needed to understand how much of an impact Cannabis will have in treating psoriasis.

Preventing Acne

Acne is caused by bacterial infections, dehydration of the skin and hair follicles clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. Cannabis comprises fatty acids boasting hydrating properties to prevent acne blowouts/flare-ups and get rid of oily skin. The anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties eradicate bacterial infections to hinder the spreading of acne.

Cannabis skin products come with anti-inflammatory properties that prevent the clogging of pores. The dead cells are shed out immediately to ward off the inflammation of acne. THC may actually increase sebum production, which can help dry skin. CBD may help dry out the skin, helping prevent dry skin.

THC may cause a short-term spike in testosterone (thereby increasing acne flare-ups), but decrease testosterone production in the long-term, making THC more of a long-term treatment option. CBD can help exfoliate the skin, but care must be taken with regards to the accumulation of dead skin.

Anti-Ageing Treatment

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extremely powerful antioxidant agent, which makes it potentially very effective in clearing out wrinkles and fine lines. Lipid-rich cannabis beauty products moisturize your skin that makes it look young and fresh. Cannabis decimates the harmful free radicals that attack your skin cells. Many products are enriched with coconut oil and other vitamin-rich ingredients, which can also help hydrate and soothe the skin.

Soothing Your Skin

CBD may be effective in treating skin rashes, causing irritation and itching sensation. They can be used as a pain reliever for pain caused due to bug bites, skin abrasions, among many others and also reduce the swelling. According to a report published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, cannabinoids have the potential to get rid of severe itching and pruritus. Cannabinoids present in cannabis reduces dry skin that gives rise to itching.

Recently, it has also come to light that cannabis is a highly potent ingredient to treat atopic dermatitis, a skin condition characterized by itchy, red, swollen, and dry skin. Cannabinoids interact with the skin receptors to inhibit the symptoms and enhance the appearance of your skin. In a study conducted on AD patients, cannabis cream reduced the severity of itching by an average of 60 percent among the participants.

However, it must be stated that much of the data gathered on cannabis and its potential to treat skin conditions is preclinical, and large-scale, randomized, controlled trials are needed.

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Decimating Microbial Organisms

Researchers have recently uncovered that cannabis has greater potential to kill superbugs and microbes than previously thought. The cannabinoid CBD can kill bacteria that have become resistant to established antibiotics, as revealed by a recent research.

What came as even more surprising to the researchers was the fact that cannabis did not lose its effectiveness even with extended usage. Cannabis can rummage biofilms, a physical form of bacteria’s growth that gives rise to lethal infections. A study revealed that five cannabinoids – THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, and CBN – have the ability to decimate some types of bacteria, most notably the MRSA bacterium. Another study also placed the terpene pinene, a substance developed on the surface of cannabis flowers and leaves, as a potent agent in eradicating MRSA bacterium and other such bacteria.

The potential benefits of cannabis to skin uncovered by this research spread like wild-fire, and almost many cosmetics companies wanted to get their hands on cannabis. Today, cannabis is used in a wide spectrum of beauty products ranging from body lotion to lip gaze.

Topical Cannabis Creams

Topical cannabis creams are applied directly over the areas of your skin that require attention. The creams are usually used to treat psoriasis, inhibit inflammation, and relieve pain, making them potentially useful for arthritis as well. CBD-enriched cannabis topicals are also applied to scars leftover from wounds and cuts, to improve their appearance. The smell of cannabis can be a little overwhelming sometimes, and hence other fragrances are added to the cream.

Cannabis Body Lotion 

The cannabis body lotions are available for all skin types. The fact that they are easy to apply has made them one of the preferred cannabis skin-care products. They are easily absorbed by your skin and hydrate your skin from underneath the surface. Most cannabis body lotions comprise cannabis Sativa seed oil as their main ingredient.

Cannabis CBD Oils

CBD oil has become one of the most sought products in recent times. CBD oils are available in isolated form or in the combined form of hemp or coconut with CBD oil. You can find the form of the oil ideal for you through reviews and lab results. CBD oil may be employed to treat acne, get rid of wrinkles, and soothe your skin.

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Cannabis Mascara

Cannabis mascara uses cannabis oil as the binding agent instead of beeswax. Some vegans stay away from using mascara due to the usage of beeswax. Cannabis oil replaces beeswax, and has become the go-to mascara for most vegans. Cannabis oil-based mascara comes in different ranges.

Cannabis Lip Glaze or Gloss

Cannabis lip glaze is ideal for dry, cracked lips as it not only moisturizes the lips with its hydrating properties, but also soothes the lips and prevents moisture loss by creating a thin film barrier over the surface of the lips. It is usually combined with other moisturizing agents to enrich your skin further.

The Bottom Line 

The air around the benefits of cannabis products is still cloudy. While most skin-care products claim that cannabis boasts an innumerable number of benefits to skin-care, no solid evidence has been presented yet to support the claim. Most evidence is preclinical or on populations of small sample sizes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of cannabis to treat only certain conditions, such as epilepsy. A lot of research is still needed to analyze the overall impact that cannabis has on our health.

Some people may also be allergic to the use of cannabis-based products due to the presence of terpenes or other parts of the cannabis plant in the product. So, it is always wise to seek a professional dermatologist while using cannabis skin products. While a lot of uncertainty still prevails around cannabis, there is one thing we can all agree on – the cannabis beauty products are here to stay for a very long time.

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Featured image from Pixabay.

Article edited by Leafwell.

Written by
Emily Fisher
Emily Fisher

Emily is an entrepreneur and medical cannabis patient. In 2016 she began working with medical clinics in California and met with hundreds of patients who used cannabis to help them in their daily lives. Fascinated by its effectiveness and versatility as a medicine, she realized more research and education was needed to help patients. In 2019, Emily founded Leafwell, which aims to improve patient access to medical cannabis.

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