Could "Legalizing It" Mean Getting Better Skin, Too?

What if we told you that your skin-care routine was about to get blazed? Would you fire up the Hot Pockets? Set the DVR to Planet Earth II? Well, best get those things underway: Soon enough, you'll be adding a whole new host of beauty products laced with CBD — otherwise known as cannabidiol, a natural component of cannabis — to your bathroom shelf, without the concern of the narcotics department knocking on your door.
The pain-relieving properties of the green stuff have been known for centuries, but now, thanks to law tweaks and more relaxed regulations, experts are (re)discovering its skin-care benefits, too.
Advertisement
Using cannabidiol as a topical ingredient isn't a novel concept — in fact, it's quite the opposite. MGC Derma CEO Roby Zomer acknowledges the global and historical use of CBD as a medical substance. "It’s well known that cannabis was being used as a curative herb thousands of years ago, in various cultures," Zomer explains. "From the emperors of China to George Washington, the plant has been part of global history and global health, and has been recognized as a major industry. Even in ancient scriptures and etchings found in Wat Po, in Thailand, one of the birthplaces of Buddhism, there are instructions for usage of cannabis as a skin treatment."
"The ancient Greeks would rub dry cannabis leaves to dress horses' wounds for a speedy recovery," says CBD of London strategy director Samir Juneja. "They also used it to treat inflammation internally and topically, by soaking seeds in warm water and then applying the potent serum to inflamed areas. Queen Victoria used cannabis extracts to relieve pain from menstrual cramps, and Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire got its name from the copious amounts of hemp crops that historically grew there."
Why, then, is the industry getting so excited about CBD now? "Cannabis has become America's latest 'gold rush', the focus of billions of dollars of investment," Cult Beauty co-founder Alexia Inge explains. "As a result of the widespread decriminalization, the scientific community has taken great interest in the various properties of the incredibly versatile plant."
Advertisement
To clarify, nothing about the extract will get you high, per se. "Hemp and marijuana are two popular names for the cannabis plant, but they have very different properties," podiatrist and skin-care expert Margaret Dabbs explains. "Marijuana has high levels of the compound THC, which invokes a high, whereas CBD is derived from hemp and offers the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects."
With CBD fast becoming the wunderkind of 2018's beauty scene, there's good reason to be excited about the potentially skin-saving ingredient. "Studies have been published demonstrating that cannabinoids are responsible for production of lipids, which play an important role in regulating and treating skin conditions," Zomer says. He explains that they're even more effective when applied topically, because "CBD stimulates activity in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which neutralizes the harmful free radicals that bombard our skin from UV sources." Just like the sun, this UV can cause aging, cancer, and impaired healing, so using CBD can in fact result in healthier, more protected, supple skin.
With new regulations meaning more CBD-infused brands will get the chance to land in stores soon, it's time to get acquainted with cannabis as the answer to all of your problems. Skin-care problems, that is — we couldn't possibly vouch for its mind-altering benefits...