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How are hemp and other Cannabis sativa L. extracts used in cosmetics?

Specific European and national legislation as well as international conventions apply to establish which type of extracts and derivates of the Cannabis sativa L. plant may be used in products, including food and cosmetics. Keep reading to find out more about hemp, an incresingly popular ingredient in cosmetics, and the differences in the extracts and derivates of the Cannabis sativa L. plant.

What is hemp?
Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa L. Hemp is a dioecious plant, which means that it can be separated into male and female plants. In hemp fields, there is usually a concentration of female hemp and sporadic placed males to pollinate the females and produce nutrient-rich seeds. Hemp has been used for over 10,000 years to make paper and fibres for clothing and fabric, but also in cosmetic products, particularly as an oil but also as other extracts and derivatives.

What is the difference between hemp, CBD and marijuana?
The Cannabis plant contains over 80 biologically active chemical compounds (cannabinoids). However, the most known ones are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Different taxonomic classifications of the genus Cannabis vary in their THC and CBD content. For example, Cannabis indica originally from India contains a high THC content associated with marijuana hashish production, whereas Cannabis sativa L. from Europe and western Eurasia has a high CBD content, traditionally associated with the textile industry, and more recently to applications within the cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical sectors. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects.

Marijuana and CBD are not the same even if they both come from the same plant. CBD is a single, isolated compound in the cannabis plant, while marijuana contains many naturally occurring compounds, including THC and CBD. Hemp seed oil, extracted from the seeds of Cannabis sativa L., Cannabaceae, has next to no THC or CBD.

How is hemp used in cosmetics and what are its properties?
There are several types of extract from hemp used in cosmetics:

  • Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil (Hemp seed oil): it is extracted by cold-pressing hemp seeds. Hemp oil is rich in properties that makes it a very effective moisturizer functioning as an emollient to soften and smoothen the skin. Hemp seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and other nutrients that keep the skin in a good condition. Due to its cosmetic properties, hemp seed oil can be found in products such as soaps, shampoos, lip balms, hand creams and massage oils.
  • Cannabis Sativa Seed Water: it is the aromatic water resulting from the steam distillation from hemp seeds. Hemp hydrosols are used as a base ingredient for face creams due to their moisturizing effect. Aside from skin conditioning, they can be used as well in hair products to condition the appearance and feel of the hair.

Other raw materials from hemp include by-products from production of hemp seed oil such as Cannabis Sativa Seedcake powder and Cannabis Sativa Seedcake, which may be used as abrasives, as well as derivatives such as Potassium Hempseedate, which can be found in soaps and handwashes, and Ethyl Cannabis Seedate, which may be used as a naturally derived Cyclopentasiloxane (D5) substitute.

Can cannabidiol (CBD) be used in cosmetics?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid that can be synthetically produced or isolated from Cannabis plants and used as a single ingredient. In cosmetics, CBD can function as an antioxidant and facilitate anti-aging properties.

To this date, cosmetic regulatory compliance of CBD as an ingredient itself relies on the part of the plant from which it is extracted. For instance, seeds when not accompanied by tops are acceptable, although these do not contain CBD, whereas CBD prepared from Cannabis extracts or tinctures from flower/fruiting tops where the resin has not been separated, as well as the separated resin, are not allowed for use. Indeed, the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs defines controlled cannabis as “the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant”, but does not consider Cannabis sativa seeds or leaves as controlled substances (as long as they are not accompanied by the tops).

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In this context, Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 for cosmetics bans the use of CBD derived from resin, tinctures and extracts of Cannabis, as well as cannabinoids, resin and various extracts (e.g. Cannabis Sativa flower extract, Cannabis Sativa flower/leaf/stem extract) from cosmetic use (Annex II). Synthetically produced CBD is acceptable for end use.

How about detectable THC levels in cosmetics?
Under Regulation (EU) No. 1308/2013, Cannabis sativa L. is considered as an agricultural product and as an “industrial plant” that may be grown legally as long as their THC content does not exceed 0.2%. However, for cosmetics, national legislations from EU Member States on controlled substances may apply. For instance, in France no THC is allowed, while in Luxembourg a THC concentration up to 0.3% is permitted.

How does regulation work outside the EU?
In the USA, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not prohibit or restrict the use of cannabis or cannabis-derived ingredients in cosmetics, and considers the possibility that a product containing these substances can have both a cosmetic and a drug use (for instance, creams to treat dermatitis or acne). Unlike in the USA, however, no therapeutic or medical claim should be asserted for cosmetics in Europe. This applies as well to products containing permitted cosmetic raw materials extracted from Cannabis sativa.

Transparency and traceability
Following baseline regulatory compliance, for the formulation and subsequent claims made about natural and organic cosmetics, transparency and traceability are key to ensure that any substance extracted or derived from hemp used in a product ensures certain verifiable qualities. When using raw materials from Cannabis in cosmetics, brands should choose reliable supply chains that give proof of the traceability of these plant extracts from crop-to-shop. This is a key aspect for regulatory compliance but also for end consumers because it reassures them about the origin and qualities of these substances when used in a cosmetic product.

Article written by Ana Ledesma, Communications Officer at NATRUE

What is Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil? | Botanics

The Cannabis Sativa plant is a unique herb that has been used for centuries in everything from textiles to food to skincare. Cannabis Sativa contains around 80 cannabinoids which are active compounds, generally concentrated in the plant’s leaves. Hemp and marijuana are from the Cannabis Sativa species but due to each plant’s biological structure, they have several very distinctive and crucial differences.

What is the difference between cannabis, hemp and marijuana?

Understanding the differences between cannabis, hemp, and marijuana can be confusing because marijuana and hemp come from the same plant, Cannabis Sativa. The distinction is the variety of the plant. In the case of cannabis, the varieties differ in the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that they contain. THC is the psychoactive constituent responsible for the high that cannabis gives. Hemp generally contains very little THC, so it has absolutely no psychoactive effects.

What is hemp?

Hemp is a multi-purpose, multi-beneficial ingredient made from the pressed flowers, leaves, stalks and seeds of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Often cultivated for use in everything from agriculture, to food and beauty; hemp is most commonly known for its fibrous qualities and is frequently used in the production of clothing, textiles, and paper. Hemp oil and seeds also find their way into many foods as they are a rich source of omega fatty acids and essential nutrients.

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What is Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil?

Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil is an herbaceous oil cold pressed from hemp seeds and has long been recognised for its use as a food and beauty ingredient. The use of Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil in skincare products has grown in popularity over the last few years as a result of an increasing consumer interest in using the power of plants in skincare formulations. This naturally green oil is composed of up to 90% omega fatty acids. Unlike CBD oil, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil is mainly found in skincare products thanks to its powerful hydrating properties and abundant antioxidants.

What are the benefits of Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil?

Stress is often an inevitable part of everyday life and can affect the skin in many different ways, from accelerated the visible signs of ageing, to dehydration, to irritation, to dullness and uneven skin tone and texture. Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil tackles the signs of stressed skin, calming, soothing and reducing the appearance of redness . Like every other organ in the body, the skin has its essential needs for optimal health and beauty. The most important two ingredients that a skincare product can contain are essential fatty acids and vitamin E. In nature Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil contains a balanced concentration of omega 3 and omega 6.

What does Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil do for the skin?

Its highly nutritional composition means that Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil acts as a super moisturiser that intensively nourishes and regenerates sensitive and tired skin and helps to support the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It also contains properties that soothe and calm the skin, and unlike other oils, it will not clog pores, and is suitable for most skin types.

Naturally moisturises, heals and soothes

Alongside a balanced ratio of essential fatty acids, one of the omega-6 fatty acids that hemp oil contains is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which simultaneously encourages skin growth and cell renewal. This can help to calm irritation on the skin, while keeping the skin intensively nourished, plumped and moisturised.

A natural antioxidant

As a rich source of vitamin E, a powerful natural preservative and antioxidant, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil helps strengthen the skin’s natural barrier so that valuable moisture remains locked-in and skin is protected against environmental stress factors.

Naturally moderates oil production

Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil is perfect for most skin types, intensively moisturising without clogging pores, due to its non-acnegenic structure. It can even help to balance out oily skin, hydrating it and regulating the skin’s oil production. Dryness can also cause the overproduction of oil in the skin, which in turn, can stimulate and aggravate skin, leaving it feeling unbalanced.

Suitable for all skin types

Calming and soothing while providing just the right amount of moisture, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil is suitable for every skin type, even the most sensitive, oily or blemish prone skin.

Is Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Legal?

Since Hemp is extracted from the seeds of the Cannabis Sativa plant, Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil contains is completely non-psychoactive and legal.

Take a look at our Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil range here:

Don’t let ‘cannabis’ within the beauty industry fool you.

If you use it, everyone already knows. In any case, you’re not alone in your enthusiasm. After all, CBD boasts many benefits for your skin and for your mental health.

But not all cannabis products are actually CBD or contain THC, the psychoactive that gets you high. Some brands that tout cannabis aren’t being so transparent and are capitalizing on this entire green movement. CBD is really confusing because marketers aren’t doing their best to provide information to consumers. Whether a product has CBD, THC or hemp oil makes a huge difference in the outcome of your beauty experience.

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As a single ingredient, CBD sounds magical. Studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects and can calm down your skin as well. The oil is nourishing, has plenty of vitamins and can give you an instant, healthy glow. But there’s also so much confusion when it comes to the actual oil. So popular is cannabis, the industry now projects that the market will reach $16 billion by 2025, with beauty being a huge part of it.

By now, you’ve probably used a product or three with “cannabis” on the label. But did it work for you? Did you find it to be anti-inflammatory or something that lessened your anxiety? If not, it’s probably because the product you’re using has zero CBD in it at all.

To understand CBD, one must understand that not all products are made equal. Hemp oil, for instance, is legal everywhere where as marijuana isn’t. To be considered hemp, a product can only have up to .3% of THC, the ingredient that gets people high. While these hemp oils have low THC, it has a high level of CBD, the ingredient that many have heralded as being an amazing anti-inflammatory ingredient. CBD is amazing for skin because it not only has said properties, it also contains essential fatty acids and vitamins A, D and E, all incredible ingredients for keeping your skin beautifully nourished.

But even if you have CBD oil, it doesn’t mean it’s exceptional as a single ingredient. “Not all CBD is created equal,” says Emily Heitman, the CMO and COO of LEEF Organics, to Very Good Light. “With the popularity of CBD you have those only seeking dollars vs. efficacy, taking advantage of a pure marketing play and human desire to live a healthier life.” What’s important, is seeing where your CBD is sourced from and whether it says “full spectrum” on the late or not. This is important, Emily says, because CBD products that aren’t lack the efficacy as those that do.

This means that products ranging from Peter Thomas Roth’s Green Releaf Sleep Cream, Herbivore’s Emerald oil, Kiehl’s Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate are as edgy as drinking coffee out of a plastic straw.

“Science shows that full spectrum is where the efficacy is at,” she says. “Remember, the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Possibly the biggest thing to look out for, though, is the word “Cannabis sativa seed oil,” a tricky marketing term that capitalizes off of the CBD movement but has zero CBD at all. Cannabis sativa seed oil comes from the seed and not the plant, whereas CBD comes from the actual plant. In fact, the term “cannabis sativa seed oil” is actually just another name for hemp seed oil, which you’ve heard for years. It’s the ingredient that’s been found in crunchy, outdoorsy brands sold in-stores or at farmer’s markets, for years. While hemp seed oil has no CBD properties, it does provide you with an amazing supply of beautiful non-comedogenic oil.

(Photo Courtesy Lime Crime)

To end, DO NOT FALL for “cannabis” products, folks. Brands are coming out daily with new ones that will make you think you’re getting some CBD or THC benefits when you’re not at all. Just today, Lime Crime dropped its new campaign with a new liquid lipstick, Lip Blaze. It may seem that the product has marijuana in it by the product’s name or campaign, but nah, it just has cannabis sativa seed oil. Which, as we know, is as edgy as eating granola.