Beauty obsessives, your skincare is about to get blazed. Well, not quite. But you'll soon be adding a new host of products that include CBD (cannabidiol, a natural component of cannabis) to your bathroom shelf. We're all familiar with the pain-relieving properties of the green stuff but now, thanks to law changes and more relaxed regulations, experts are (re)discovering its skincare benefits, too.
Using cannabidiol as a topical ingredient isn't a novel concept. 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," he explains. "From the emperors of China to George Washington, the plant has been part of global history, global health, and recognised 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," Samir Juneja, strategy director of new brand CBD of London says. "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 cofounder Alexia Inge explains. "As a result of the widespread decriminalisation, the scientific community has taken great interest in the various properties of the incredibly versatile plant." With relaxed regulations and new laws meaning brands are able to fully explore CBD's skincare solutions, we'll be seeing a lot more of the hardworking little botanic.
To clarify, nothing about the extract will get you high (sorry, folks). "Hemp and marijuana are two popular names for the cannabis plant, but they have very different properties," Margaret Dabbs, founder of the eponymous brand, explains. "Marijuana has high levels of the compound THC that 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 potential 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 neutralises the harmful free radicals that bombard our skin from UV sources." Just like the sun, this UV can cause ageing, cancer and impaired healing, so using CBD can in fact result in healthier, more protected, supple skin.
CBD of London's Advance Bright Eye Repair Serum is fantastic for those of us that suffer with dark under-eye circles, containing aloe vera to soothe while collagen and active cannabis sativa extract plump and brighten. Margaret Dabbs uses the extract in her Fabulous Hands range. We love the Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Serum, which targets dehydration and fine lines, and keeps cuticles healthy thanks to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Plus it's non-greasy, so keeps your mitts soft without the dreaded slip. If you have more targeted issues, try MGC Derma's Herbal Repair Cream, which is one of the brand's standout products and is scientifically proven to reduce the effects of conditions like psoriasis, eczema and rosacea.
With new regulations meaning more CBD-infused brands will be landing in stores soon, it's time to get acquainted with cannabis as the answer to all your problems. Skincare problems, that is; we couldn't possibly vouch for the philosophical benefits...