CBD - Buzz In The Industry
Humanity, since civilization, always has on the search for the next significant beauty product discovery. So when beauty experts tried CBD oil—a non-psychoactive substance derived from marijuana and hemp—and saw its anti-inflammatory benefits, skincare treatments containing the cannabinoid started rushing to market. And that's not the only industry that is making the demand for upscale marijuana boom—in the US, legal marijuana sales in 2020 are projected to reach and possibly surpass $22 billion. The cannabis plant, a flower whose recreational and medicinal marijuana products are well known, naturally has a place in beauty products, although it's proven efficacy when applied topically wasn't understood until now. Some aspects of its benefits are still not fully realized, and neither is its potential as a favorable beauty industry trend.
Cannabis sativa L. and its cannabinoids
The Cannabis sativa L. plant (more commonly called either marijuana or hemp) secretes from its glands over 80 different chemical compounds, called cannabinoids. Those cannabinoids mimic the ones that the human endocannabinoid system produces. For instance, cannabinoids from the cannabis plant make it possible to replicate the "runners high" associated with high-intensity exercise, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2015. 
Of those 80-plus cannabinoids, two of them remain most predominant in the plant. While THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is psychoactive and gives you feelings of euphoria and sometimes paranoia, CBD (Cannabidiol), has been studied for its benefit on a variety of medical syndromes and their symptoms, from multiple sclerosis and epilepsy to neurodegenerative disorders.
Entirely non-psychotropic, CBD has several proven benefits. Besides its relaxing and calming properties, when used topically as an anti-inflammatory, it can help with stressed skin, which is just what the beauty industry has been searching for in a time when inflammation is being found to be the cause of many chronic ailments. Although topical application lessens the rate at which the skin absorbs cannabinoids—as opposed to ingestion—it still makes good use of a limited ingredient.
The market for CBD alone could reach $1.8 billion by 2020, which is about ten times the value its value, according to the Hemp Business Journal, the leading provider of data and market intelligence for the hemp industry. 
The publication predicts that the market drivers will be hemp food, body care, and CBD-based products, led by recognizable health and beauty brands like CV Sciences, Bluebird Botanicals, CW Hemp, Mary's Nutritional, and Liberty Lotions, among others.
Although the majority of those sales will use cannabis-extracted CBD, about $450 million of those sales will probably come from hemp-based sources, as it remains difficult to access and monetize cannabis-derived CBD, legally and on a larger scale. Right now, many CBD products distributed nationwide—The Body Shop’s hemp hand lotion, for instance—use CBD derived from the hemp plant and not the THC-producing cannabis flower. The THC-spiked products can only be sold (legally) in states where marijuana is available for recreational consumption: Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and soon Massachusetts and Maine.
Cannabis CBD versus hemp CBD
The difference between the two types of CBD—cannabis-extracted and hemp-extracted—is staggering. That which comes from hemp doesn’t have the "entourage effect," which is a trendy name for the full spectrum of cannabinoids, including THC. Additionally, hemp CBD concentration sits around 3.5 percent, while cannabis-derived CBD has up to 20 percent. To distribute any beauty line on a national level, it would only make sense to use CBD extracted from the hemp plant, hopefully, grown locally but the results may not match those of a cannabis-derived CBD line.
And that’s only where the legal tightrope begins: As of press time, marijuana is legal in some form in 28 states. Federally, however, marijuana is classified as a Class I illegal drug. That means it requires any cannabis product, including topical applications and makeup products, to stay within state confines. This liability limits the possibility of national distribution, further fueling the stigma behind CBD-laced products.
Producers of cannabis-derived beauty products know that the brand's association with the plant will resonate with customers, and so far it’s proving to be profitable. Some may argue that marijuana has an iffy, "stoner culture," reputation at best, especially on the mass market. However, companies are re-branding the concept with chic, ganja-green-free packaging and minimal references to marijuana are seeing traction despite roadblocks.
Some brands, however, use chic, clean packaging with minimal references to the marijuana leaf: Think of it as a more subtle nod to the sometimes controversial Cannabis sativa L. plant, and it's trippy past. And that’s if they use any at all—many companies both small and large are opting for clean packaging that feels luxurious and uses a limited color palette.
Consider Mary’s Medicinals, which uses apothecary-style black-and-white fonts along with a marijuana leaf to package its high-end products. The Colorado-based brand, launched in 2015 with a CBD-spiked transdermal patch, and now offers both national- and state-level legal CBD beauty products. Mary’s Medicinals currently take in approximately $900,000 in sales per month.
The physical and medicinal benefits of CBD are just starting to be uncovered and more openly discussed. And this should continue to make it easier to standardize the role of CBD in products, especially when it comes to high-quality CBD oil, manufactured from the cannabis flower, locally. Amidst all of the hype around CBD-infused beauty products, consumers should know that any product with CBD that has a low price tag indicates that there’s too-low of a dose or the quality of the CBD is quite weak. As more luxury brands enter the market, consumer understanding of what’s good—and, more importantly, what’s bad—will accelerate. More importantly, once the federal laws allow for more flexibility and conversation around the health benefits of cannabis cosmetics and beauty products, cannabis could very well be the next secret to youthful, ageless skin.
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