I was raised on natural beauty, but I’m behind the curve when it comes to cannabinoids and hemp-based beauty products. So for those of you who, like me, need a primer on the how and why of weed-based beauty, I got you.
It seems like every day I see some innovative new way to use cannabis pop up in the headlines and in beauty-store aisles. We know people make food that gets them high, and that using cannabis to treat illnesses from cancer to glaucoma has been the norm in both U.S. mainstream and alternative medicine since pot began to be decriminalized for medical purposes in 1973 and legalized in several states starting in 2012.
What’s not so obvious is why cannabis is being used for beauty and skin-care products and is gaining significant traction with mainstream beauty companies.
Cannabis and beauty definitely have a tenuous relationship, but that’s also depending on whom you ask. To give you some facts, U.K. news site The Independent reports:
The cannabis plant produces hundreds of different cannabinoids—chemical compounds—the most well-known of which is THC, the psychoactive (and illegal) part. But many of the other compounds have potentially huge benefits and won’t get you high.
Those other compounds are mainly hemp and cannabidiol, or CBD, oil. For those who were slow to catch on to the trend (like me), The Independent also explains that hemp is “the industrial variety of cannabis produced for non-drug purposes, it has been used in skin care for many years. ... It is still the most common form of cannabis used in skin care.”
OK, so how does this industrial product assist in beauty care?
It’s actually renowned for its moisturizing properties, but don’t take it from me. Dr. Alexis Granite, a dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, explained to The Independent: “Hemp oil is high in omegas 3, 6 and 9 and is a humectant, meaning it helps the skin preserve moisture. It’s also noncomedogenic, meaning it can be used on the skin without causing breakouts.”
The other big player in the cannabis beauty-product industry is CBD oil. Again, I’ll leave the explanation to Granite: “[Hemp] is a nonpsychoactive ingredient in marijuana, sourced from the flowers of the cannabis plants, which has anti-inflammatory properties.”
The same article goes on to say: “Initial studies suggest that this makes it a great ingredient for reducing redness, irritation and even signs of aging like arthritis, plus skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.”
The Body Shop, a pioneer in eco-friendly products and socially conscious marketing for decades, has been marketing a hemp-based range of products that endure among the company’s top sellers.
It’s only now that the rest of the beauty industry and its consumers are beginning to catch up—adding this market to the many industries that cannabis products are continuing to disrupt.
What makes CBD oil and hemp so desirable for use in cosmetics is that, believe it or not, the human body naturally produces cannabinoids on its own. This is partly why humans seem to be so compatible with cannabis in all of its varied forms and uses. Cannabinoids used in direct contact with the skin propagate our own natural healing resources without the downer of chemical additives—that’s a high I’m happy to treat myself to twice a day.
All of this is to say that here’s what’s different about what hemp and CBD oils offer us in cosmetics:
1. Hemp is an environmentally friendly crop with minimal impact on the soil and surrounding vegetation. Because it’s a weed, hemp needs minimal, if any, pesticides and is not a culprit in deforestation.
2. Conversely, soybeans, which are commonly found in many upscale beauty products and contain many of the same highly moisturizing fatty acids as hemp, without the medicinal properties, come from Brazil, the world’s second-largest producer of the crop after the U.S.
However, soybeans are cash crops that have had a significant negative impact on the rain forest, reducing acreage of native plants and species vital to the region. That in itself is another feel-good reason to choose hemp over soy in both our diet and our beauty routines.
If you’re ready to dive headfirst into cannabinoid products, look no further than Jayn Greene, owned by black female “ganjapreneur” Tanganyika Daniels. Daniels, a former U.S. Marine-turned-consultant to the cannabis industry, founded a product line of 100 percent all-natural, cannabis-infused skin-care products for both men and women. Check out her DIY cannabinoid-based facials and wake-and-bake pain-reliever recipes here.
That’s Hemp 101 for both 4/20 and this Sunday’s Earth Day.
And you can look forward to my diving further into the subject here on The Glow Up to get to the bottom of the best beauty products to give your skin a natural high.