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CBD Rising

by Mary Beth Janssen

By now, unless you’ve been on a remote island without Wi-Fi, you’ve heard about CBD.

Cannabis’ highly prized cannabinoid, CBD (short for cannabidiol), is continuing to have its moment—especially the hemp- derived version (versus medical marijuana)—given Congress’s passage of the 2018 Farm Bill allowing for hemp to be grown legally in all 50 states. Hemp is now federally legal, while marijuana is not. So even though CBD-infused hemp products have been trending over the past couple of years, now this category can grow unimpeded.

But are you familiar with the benefits of CBD in skincare? There has been an explosion of interest, new research and product launches finding their way into facials, massage and dermatologists’ office, with professionals in both the spa and medical realms integrating high-CBD hemp topicals into treatment regimens and prescribing home usage.

How It Works

The skin has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS). A major physiological function of the skin’s ECS is to control the proper proliferation, differentiation and survival, as well as immune competence and tolerance, of skin cells. The use of CBD hemp extract can help maintain this delicate balance and may also prevent pathological conditions and diseases of the skin including acne, seborrhea, allergic dermatitis, itch and pain, eczema, psoriasis, hair growth disorders, systemic sclerosis and more.

Our ECS is second only to our nervous system for neurotransmitter transmission and vital messenger signaling throughout our bodies via native endocannabinoids as well as phytocannabinoids from various sources, which act on a variety of ECS receptors to maintain balance and health to the entire body, including the skin. Cannabinoids bind with specific receptors to help regulate the production of hormones, proteins, lipids and more—impacting the skin’s homeostatic, anti- inflammatory, immune and sensory responses. These binding affinities have implications for inflammation, acne, epidermal barrier function, and new cell growth and aging.

What to Look For

Personal-care products infused with organic hemp- derived CBD will balance, nourish and protect skin and hair, as well as soothe tight fascia, muscles and joints. Look for full-spectrum hemp extract with high levels of cannabidiol or CBD. And although this area is continuing to evolve, you will also want to seek out products that claim the highest availability of hemp CBD through hydrophilic (water-soluble), liposomal, nano-emulsion technologies.

Natural product formulators combine this high CBD hemp extract with other “active” compounds (as well as “inactives”) that may include herbs, botanicals, essential oils and more. They’re formulated into balms, salves, body butters, lotions, oils, body washes, facial cleansers, toners, spritzers, rollers, serums, masks, shampoos and conditioners.

A full-spectrum high-CBD hemp extract includes all available cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, minerals, amino and essential fatty acids, and phytonutrients from the hemp plant—with the inherent benefit from the synergistic properties of these plant components.

This rich supply of nutrients is a perfect natural remedy for a whole host of skin issues, such as the following.

Reduces inflammation in sensitive skin

CBD hemp extract reduces redness that is triggered by our body’s inflammatory response to infection or any form of attack. Allergenic reactions, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, acne, rosacea, seborrhea, herpes simplex and more can all benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD hemp-based skincare products, which is also responsible in part for modulating pain.

Protects and rejuvenates mature and aging skin

A study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed that the ECS is critical to the life cycle of basal cells, which make up around 90 percent of the cells in the epidermis. Healthy skin relies on the body’s ability to grow new cells and discard dead ones. Manipulation of the endocannabinoid system with high CBD-infused skincare can help regulate the life cycle of cells for more radiant, youthful skin.

Along with CBD, the essential fatty acids in hemp extract help protect the skin’s barrier, reducing moisture loss, while retaining the existing moisture in the skin. Damaged or weak cell membranes have a difficult time holding moisture.

Inside and Out

While you can apply these products topically, also consider treating your skin from the inside out. Ingesting CBD hemp extract via time-release capsules or tinctures can help increase your body’s overall anti-inflammatory response, creating benefits for your skin and health in general. Combining your CBD hemp skincare products with an oral product could produce even greater benefits than if you take it in one form only.

As studies on the effects of cannabis skincare continue to emerge, and the understanding of the endocannabinoid system and its receptors improves, an unprecedented CBD hemp skincare market will definitely materialize. And with it one hopes the FDA moves quickly to establish quality control measures that ensure the highest integrity, purity, efficacy of the products in this sector. Presently there’s a lack of standardization in terms of quality control and recommended dosing. So, until there is, it’s important to cautiously research and purchase from reputable brands. Make certain to ask for a certificate of analysis (COA) from whatever brand(s) you’re looking to engage with.

As with any new treatment, speak with your physician or dermatologist about using a CBD hemp product. While there are minimally reported side effects that accompany CBD use, there are some medications that have been shown to interact with CBD.

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