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Hemp and cannabinoids (CBD) have created a buzz within the beauty industry recently. The potent ingredient, which was previously condemned and outlawed for its psychoactive properties, has been appearing in new health and beauty products from aromatherapy candles to body scrubs. Hemp has a wide range of skin care benefits, including nourishing the body, making skin appear youthful, treating acne, reducing inflammation, and soothing irritated skin.
According to Jeanette Jacknin, dermatologist and author, hemp and cannabinoids are moisturizing and anti-inflammatory in skin care because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, and C, and other nutrients. “Hemp seed oil has very good nourishing properties for the skin and hair,” says Jenelle Kim, chief formulator at Kannaway. These nutrients offer a rich blend of positive effects for the body and overall health, and are safe for consumption, topical application and aromatic treatments.
“Cannabidiol has a stronger anti-inflammatory benefit than vitamin C or vitamin E, as described in the U.S.  patent, and you see a great benefit for anyone with inflammatory conditions,” says Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc. He works intimately with hemp treatments and treats patients in integrative pain management. “We saw that [hemp treatments were] able to close over wounds [and for] many senior citizens, the new skin that was growing back looked a lot like baby’s skin.”
Hemp’s effectiveness is considerably influenced by the body’s special receptive system for cannabinoids, specifically the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. “Cannabinoids work on CB1 and CB2 receptors in the skin to help inhibit inflammatory immune cells,” Jacknin says. This process works with the body’s natural biochemical system to deliver nourishment and essential properties to the skin. “Cannabidiol restores some vital nutrients that the body needs,” Titus says.
These properties, according to Kim, can be extracted from the cannabis plant to focus on specific properties. This is what leads to varying forms of hemp, including cannabidiol oil, hemp seed oil, and cannabinoids. “Ultimately, it is important to know that hemp and cannabinoids are one and the same but different,” Kim says. “One whole herb functions to nourish the body and increase circulation, but if you want to be more specific you can use just the head [i.e. buds and leaves] of this herbal ingredient or the tail [stems and roots]. The tail promotes more circulation and the head is more supplementing for the body. The same goes for the cannabis plant. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds, and cannabidiol hemp oil is known for mostly coming from the stalk.”
Generally, Jacknin says, there will be about 25 mg of cannabidiol in an ounce of skin care cream. “Many times, these essential oils are also nicely included in the cannabis plant family,” he says. “Two to 5 mg on a daily basis is probably going to give a great boost to people’s overall skin tone.”