All The Questions You Have About Cannabis Oil, Answered
by Emma Sarran Webster
Cannabis and makeup aren’t two words that have been used in the same sentence for long. Sure, cannabis and its derivatives come in many forms, but many of us mostly think of those as being the smokeable or ingestible type, not the apply-to-your-face type. The reality, though, is that cannabis oil has all sorts of positive benefits when it comes to your beauty and skincare — which is why it made perfect sense to us to incorporate it into our newest 100% vegan product, Kush Mascara. The cannabis oil derived from hemp serves as a vegan alternative to beeswax, which is a common binding agent in mascaras, and helps create a conditioning, smooth formula that majorly helps deliver in the volume department (read more about that, here). Brush up on this powerful ingredient.
First comes CBD, then comes the oil. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid, or chemical compound, found in both cannabis and hemp plants, explains Kimberly Cargile, the Executive Director of medical marijuana dispensary A Therapeutic Alternative. “There [are] hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and hemp plants, and [CBD] is one of them,” she says.
“[CBD] is a secondary metabolite produced by the plant, which may have some biological effects [such as antioxidative and anti-inflammatory] on animals, insects, humans,” says Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and cofounder of The Beauty Brains. “CBD oil is a blend of Cannabidiol and other ingredients from [the] plant.”
To make cannabis oil derived from hemp, the CBD has to first be extracted from the hemp plant, and there are a variety of ways to do that. The most common methods used to strip the cannabinoids away from the plant are CO2 extraction, ethanol, and olive oil.
What are its benefits?
The medical benefits of cannabinoids have been studied extensively; and cannabinoids and CBD oil have been linked in various studies to reducing chronic pain, treating epilepsy and arthritis, and acting as an anti-inflammatory, among other potential medical benefits. “Typically people [come] to us to use CBD oil to reduce anxiety, reduce muscle spasms, seizures, reduce nerve pain, and inflammation,” Cargile says. It’s also “known to be an antioxidant, [which] is really important in skincare,” she notes, pointing out that antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are often added to lotions. Indeed, antioxidants work to protect the body and skin from damage (like broken-down collagen) caused by free radicals, molecules produced when your body breaks down foods or certain medicines or is exposed to pollutants like cigarette smoke or UV radiation.
“CBD oil applied topically is thought to have properties that may reduce inflammation,” says Jordan Carqueville, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Chicago, IL. “If it proves to be clinically effective in trials, CBD oil may have a place for skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.”
It’s also certainly an emollient, both she and Romanowski note. “Oils are generally helpful for dry skin and protecting the skin barrier,” Carqueville says. And that’s true of CBD hemp oil, which offers hydrating and conditioning benefits to skin and hair.
Does it make people high?
The short answer: Using products with CBD oil — or CBD oil itself, for that matter — will not get you high. “CBD hemp oil is made from the flowers, leaves and stalks of hemp that contains high amounts of CBD, but low traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is commonly found in a cannabis plant,” Carqueville says. THC is the psychoactive element of marijuana.
“CBD oil can contain some THC or it can contain none,” Romanowski says. “It really depends on how it is processed.” Regardless, though, it’s not enough to be psychoactive. And CBD oil derived from hemp is particularly low in — in fact, hemp is (in part) legally defined by having no more than .3% of the chemical. Kush Mascara contains CBD-rich cannabis oil derived from hemp and does not contain THC.
Is it safe?
While experts — including Cargile, Romanowski, and Carqueville — note that there hasn’t been a ton of research done on the potential risks of CBD oil, it’s thought to be a pretty low-risk product. “First of all, using anything topically reduces the risks right off the bat,” Cargile says. “There’s not a lot of research, however CBD and THC, cannabis and hemp have been used for thousands of years. And according to the Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention], which reports deaths in this nation, [marijuana] causes zero deaths every year so it’s found to be very safe.”
That doesn’t mean it’s completely risk-free, but the likely risks are more of the allergic reaction variety, Romanowski notes. “It is a component of an essential oil, and reactions are not frequent, but common in a small percentage of the population,” he says. “People should do a small patch test on their skin before generally applying the product over their body.”
In general, though, much of the hesitation linked to using a cannabis or hemp-derived product like CBD oil comes from years of stigma. “Cannabis and hemp…were prohibited in this country starting in 1937, so there’s been [decades] of misinformation and miseducation around this plant,” Cargile says. “Really, just about everything everybody has heard…and all of the stereotypes are not true, and CBD particularly is a very safe, non-toxic alternative to many pharmaceuticals.”
Not to mention a hydrating, vegan alternative to many cosmetic ingredients — making it a wanderful addition to your mascara collection.