Cannabinoids in beauty: Why CBD is just the beginning

By now, both brands and consumers know what to expect from CBD when used topically, with the substance widely lauded for its skin soothing properties. However, CBD is not the only cannabinoid that should be on the beauty industry’s radar

Complex and differing legislation surrounding the use of cannabidiol, widely known as CBD, means big beauty names remain uncharacteristically cautious about formulating with this wonder ingredient.

Conversely, because of CBD’s ubiquity in the press and thriving presence on store shelves – usually via small to mid-sized, locally-operating brands – the average consumer seems very comfortable with making this cannabinoid part of their daily routine.

From your colleague popping a few drops of CBD oil under their tongue before a big presentation to your granny rubbing a CBD-containing balm into aching joints, the ingredient has garnered mainstream acceptance even in many countries and regions where the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal.

Moreover, the market is anticipated to rise and rise. A July 2020 report by Industry Research puts the global CBD oil market at US$414.7m. However, the researcher predicts this will reach more than $3.19bn by the end of 2026 on the back of a CAGR of 33.5% between 2021 and 2026.

So, with more consumers accepting and understanding the messaging around CBD, as well as buying CBD-containing products, is it not perhaps time to expand their horizons when it comes to the beauty benefits of cannabinoids generally?

What else can cannabis offer cosmetics?

When we talk about the role of CBD in skin care, it is helpful to understand the broader effect that cannabinoids have on the body and the reasons why.

“Your body is composed of what we call an endocannabinoid system,” says Quentin Chauve, Sales Director of Spectrums Europe, a France-based B2B wholesaler of phytocannabinoids: the term for cannabinoids derived from plants.

“Your body contains different receptors – in the brain, the gut, all throughout the body – with the main ones being the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Your skin also has receptors, like the TRP," he adds.

“When you take CBD oil orally, there are receptors in your mouth that will interact with the cannabinoids. And that’s pretty much the same with a cream or a lotion when you put this cream or lotion onto your joints. The cannabinoids – not just CBD but others too – will have an effect.”

ICANNA, which stands for the International Cannabinoid Institute, is a non-profit organisation bringing together experts, researchers and scientists from different countries.

Tanja Bagar, PhD, Director of ICANNA, tells Cosmetics Business that “for the skin specifically, CBD has much to offer”.

“With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties it can be very healing for many skin conditions,” she says.

And CBD is very far from being the only substance of interest to the cosmetics industry that can be obtained from cannabis.

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