If you thought the latter, you’re a step ahead of the rest. The latest ingredient to take the health and beauty industry by storm is in fact cannabis, or at least an ingredient derived from cannabis – CBD or “cannabidiol”.
CEO of cannabis-focused beauty brand MGC Derma, Hugh Winters explains: “Cannabidiol (CBD) is a totally non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, which shares part of the ‘fingerprint’ of our genetics, allowing the body to instantly recognise it – and utilise it accordingly.”
If CBD is ringing some bells with you, it’s likely you will have heard about it in the press. Medically, CBD is thought to help treat conditions such as epilepsy and fibromyalgia, however in the UK, medical-strength CBD is unavailable to the majority of patients and is only prescribed in very rare circumstances.
Currently, CBD is legal in the UK, but another component of cannabis, THC, is still illegal. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis and causes the feeling of being ‘stoned’. Luckily, if the level of CBD is high enough, the psychoactive side effects of THC are counteracted.
Recent studies have revealed that the benefits of CBD can only be fully realised when it’s combined with THC, leaving people who could potentially benefit from treatment at a loss.
In 2018, Hannah Deacon, a mother of a boy, Alfie, who has severe epilepsy, was allowed to bring medicinal cannabis oil into the UK for the first time, following a painful legal battle. When being treated with this medicinal cannabis oil, Alfie’s life-threatening seizures reduce from 100 per day, to one per month. The case sparked debate among politicians over whether the UK should follow in the footsteps of Canada and 26 states in USA and legalise cannabis for medicinal use.
Besides within the medical industry, CBD is making waves in wellness amongst claims that CBD oil supplements can help relieve an array of issues. Hemp and Cannabis Consultant at Naturopathica, Yewande Okuleye explains: “We have lots of information about CBD as a medicine, but the research is incomplete. What we’re trying to do is take what we can from the medical research and apply that to wellbeing. Because medical studies are mostly unsubstantiated, we can’t categorically say CBD is anti-inflammatory or that it’s going to help you sleep better, but we do know from the way it affects our endocannabinoid system [an internal bodily system that works to regulate a number of our functions such as pain, anxiety and appetite] that there’s a likelihood it will help.”
When it comes to skincare and beauty, cannabis is a popular and potent ingredient. In fact, the use of cannabis oil as an ingredient in skincare dates all the way back to Cleopatra, who supposedly used the stuff to keep her skin looking young. Since then, cannabis has gone on to be used in a huge amount of well-known creams and moisturisers in the form of hemp oil due to its deeply hydrating properties. CBD, on the other hand, offers skincare benefits that go well beyond hydration, helping to neutralise oxidative stress from pollution, UV and other environmental aggressors.
Unlike when taken as a supplement, topically applied Cannabidiol can’t enter the blood stream and will deliver benefits directly to the skin. Samir Juneja, Founder of CBD of London explains: “Through scientific research we’re finding that CBD could be a powerful compound in fighting a multitude of skin ailments including psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, acne, redness or itching. We’re also seeing provenance for CBD as a powerful anti-ageing compound, anti-inflammatory and as an anti-oxidant. The difference between hemp and CBD in skincare is that not all products that are made with hemp extracts contain any CBD.”
While CBD is being dubbed another marketing trend by many, scientific trials suggest otherwise. And, with a very loyal online fan-base, CBD users swear by its advantages in both wellness and beauty. Samir says: “Bare in mind CBD is still a relatively new discovery so there hasn’t been enough time to carry out long-term studies. What we do know from scientific research is that there is strong evidence to show CBD has high efficacy to support anti-ageing and has powerful anti-oxidant, anti-pollution and anti-inflammatory properties.”
Scroll down to see all the beauty brands blazing a trail…