Studies have shown that recreational use of Cannabis can have benefits like reduction of chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and depression. The medicinal use of Cannabis dates back thousands of years, where it was used by ancient societies to treat a wide variety of ailments like insomnia, pain, and headaches. The legalization of recreational Cannabis in Canada and many U.S. states has prompted wider acceptance of regular use in North American culture. And with the culture, follows the skincare community.
If you stay up to date on the skincare scene, you’ve likely noticed a whole crop of products emerging on the scene, claiming to save your skin with trendy THC and CBD extracts.
This is just a small sampling of ingredient names found in our system in our CBD skincare category:
- Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil
- Full Plant Hemp Extract Oil
- Cannabis Sativa (Whole Plant Hemp) Extract
- Cannabis Sativa L. (Hemp) Stalk Oil
- Full Spectrum Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Extract
- Full Spectrum Hemp Oil
- Hemp Extract (Dried Aerial Parts)
- Phytocannabinoid-Rich Hemp Extract
- Broad Spectrum Hemp-Derived CBD Oil
- Cannabis Sativa Extract
Unfortunately, when it comes to skincare ingredients, things are rarely simple. Let’s cut through some of the confusion.
CBD, or Cannabidiol for long, is the second most active ingredient in marijuana, out of 113 active compounds found in the Cannabis plant known as cannabinoids. The principal active ingredient in marijuana is THC, aka Tetrahydrocannabinol. What primarily differentiates CBD and THC is that CBD lacks the ability to produce the psychoactive effects in your brain associated with marijuana consumption. THC is the main compound responsible for creating the “high” component.
CBD has been subject to considerable scientific investigation for its potential neurological and therapeutic benefits, to treat disorders like anxiety, depression, and psychosis. CBD has also proved a potentially effective treatment for skin disorders like Psoriasis and Atopic Dermatitis, additionally helping with scarring resulting from these conditions.
The majority of these ingredient terms used in skincare, however, are ambiguous at best. “Full Spectrum” Hemp Seed Oil, despite having no official meaning, generally refers to an oil that contains many of the active cannabinoids found in the cannabis/hemp plant, excluding CBD and THC. “Full Plant” refers to the same idea, essentially just a term invented to mean that you’re getting the “full benefits” of the hemp plant. This includes elements like cannabinoids, fatty acids, terpenes, vitamins, and more. Just to make things even more confusing, Full Spectrum Hemp Oil (not Hemp Seed Oil) is a blanket term for all Hemp Oils and it can also contain CBD. Hemp Seed Oil, and Hemp Oil, can also contain very low levels of cannabinoids. Full spectrum CBD oil may contain trace amounts of THC (not enough for you to feel any psychoactive effects), but broad spectrum typically has no THC. If you find that wildly confusing, you are not alone.
To avoid confusion, read the product details carefully to see what the specific product claims to contain.
Hemp Seed Oil, even without Cannabinoids, is purported to reduce inflammation, hydrate, and regulate oil production. According to some dermatologists, the omega fatty acids in Hemp Seed Oil help repair skin and keep moisture locked in. One study supports this hypothesis as well, demonstrating antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and collagen-promoting effects of Hemp Seed extracts. Hemp Oil, an oil extracted from the whole hemp plant, has also been shown to have potential antioxidant and antibacterial properties, in addition to providing moisture without clogging pores. Hemp or Cannabis extracts have shown similar effects in studies.
We’re always here for ingredients that show our skin love and care! As mentioned earlier, make sure you read the product information carefully. Check out our CBD Skincare category in-app to find CBD and hemp-infused products. Some of our favorites are linked below.
Disclosure: We are a professional review and product rating website and mobile app that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review and rate. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own interpretation of a trusted source.
Ingredient Breakdown: All Things CBD and THC in Skincare was originally published in Think Dirty on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.