Cannabidiol - The new 'HIGH' in skincare, worth the hype?

Would you believe me if I were to tell you that weed could help you with your skincare regime? It sounds like I am high, right? Well, Dr. Ethan Russo, Director of Research and Development for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, seems to agree with me. He says, "Cannabis is the single most versatile herbal remedy and the most useful plant on Earth. No other single plants contain as wide a range of medically active herbal constituents." Cannabis, or commonly known as weed is the most misunderstood plant on Earth. But gradually, people are becoming aware of all the medicinal benefits that Cannabis has to offer. Countries like Canada, Australia, and many others have even legalised Cannabis for therapeutic use. So, what does Cannabis have that makes people high and what gives it its medicinal value?

Constituents of Cannabis

The plant contains almost 460 compounds, but one primary class of compound that interacts with our brain are Cannabinoids. This alone comprises of a vast range of compounds. To make it easier to understand, the constituents can be divided into two categories –

Extremely psychoactive compound – The compound that comes under this category is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is primarily responsible for getting people high. Even though THC has been studied for its medicinal benefits, it is much debated in the medical society regarding its use.

Mildly psychoactive– The compounds in this category have only a mild psychoactive effect, i.e. it doesn't get you particularly high, but you may feel a slight buzz. They have been studied for their medicinal benefits and include cannabinol (CBN) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Out of these two, Cannabidiol has caused a massive uproar in the cosmetic industry.


Cannabidiol and its medicinal properties

In Ayurveda, there is a saying that no plant in this world is devoid of medicinal properties. If used properly, they could promote good health. This belief, in fact, stands very true for the case of Cannabidiol. This compound is generally extracted as the oil of Cannabis. CBD oil has been extensively studied, and researchers have found that CBD oil has the following benefits –

Anti-inflammatory – Inflammation is the response of your body when there is a foreign entity in your body. But this also creates redness, itchiness and/or fever. CBD oil has been proven to reduce this redness and other complementary effects

Antioxidant –CBD oil was studied for its neuroprotective effect. It was observed that CBD could reduce free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.

Anti-bacterial – CBD oil was studied along with THC for its potency in killing pathogenic bacteria. The results suggested that CBD and THC both had broad-spectrum efficacy towards killing bacteria and had a similar mode of action as that of antibiotics.

Cosmetic benefits of Cannabidiol

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, CBD has found a revolutionary role in the skincare industry. Though there are other plant alternatives as well, what makes CBD stand out is because of the controversial image of Cannabis. But it hasn't stopped the cosmetic industry from releasing Cannabidiol-infused products like creams, tonics, pure CBD oil, moisturisers, etc. The cosmetic benefits that CBD provides with includes-

Anti-ageing – The anti-ageing property is directly related to the oil's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory property. Once the free radicals are taken care of, and inflammation is reduced, your skin cells are energised. One compound that a healthy cell produces is a protein called collagen. This tightens your skin and makes your skin more youthful.

Anti-acne–Research has shown that CBD oil can reduce or check the production of sebum in your skin. Sebum is what is responsible for acne and pimples, and a reduction in it will simultaneously check the growth of acne.

Moisturization – CBD oil acts as an emollient and smoothens the skin cells and absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. This keeps your skin hydrated.

Detoxification – As per the studies conducted, CBD oil assisted in cleansing the skin of harmful microbes and thus cleansing your cells of toxins. This also allows the opening of the pores, which is necessary for healthy skin.

Anti-dandruff – CBD oil has been studied for its properties in healing skin that has been affected with scaly white patches. The fatty acids in the oil allow moisturization of the scalp and Cannabidiol, reduces inflammation.

Skin diseases–There are research papers which have highlighted the use of CBD oil in treating various conditions such as eczema, pruritus, allergic contact dermatitis and psoriasis. The trend of using Cannabidiol-infused cosmetic products is quickly gaining speed, and there are A-list celebrities who swear by the use and benefits of CBD. Right from break-the-internet star Kim Kardashian, to Avengers' Pepper Potts, i.e. Gwyneth Palthrow and to the surprise of many, our very own Rachel from FRIENDS, i.e. Jennifer Anniston.


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