The plant: Cannabis sativa is a medicinal crop that has been harvested for thousands of years. Further, it grows all over the world. For centuries, it has been useful in making clothing, paper, cordage, textiles, and more. It is quite the buzz today, because research has shown it could help with a large variety of health issues. In talking about cannabis, it is important to note that there are a variety of chemotypes of this plant. Cannabinoids are a key chemical in cannabis, of which there are over 100 types.
Here are two key cannabinoids we often hear about:
- THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol is a psychoactive chemical with a mind altering effect. In other words, this component gives a “high” associated with using recreational marijuana.
- CBD – Cannabidiol is medicinal, without making you “high.” Many studies have shown possible therapeutic uses for this constituent. Human studies show it may help with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, appetite, nausea, pulmonary disease, drug addiction, anxiety, psychosis, Parkinson’s disease, and more (1).
Cannabis chemo-varieties can be high or low in THC content. Plus, they can also be high or low in CBD content. Typically, cannabis plants high in CBD are called hemp plants. They don’t make you “high.” This is different than cannabis plants high in THC, which are often called marijuana plants, used as a recreational drug.
Thus, hemp plants are grown that make a very high amount of CBD and a very low amount of THC. These plants are used for medical benefits without getting you “high.” There are a variety of non-THC cannabis products useful for a range of skin conditions (2).
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is made by cold pressing the seeds of cannabis. It is a great carrier oil to use in skincare products (3). This is because hemp seed oil is 80% polyunsaturated fatty acids, including linoleic and linolenic acids. It also contains about 10% saturated fats: palmitic acid and stearic acid. And, it contains about 10% of the monounsaturated fat: oleic acid. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in hemp seed oil are all very healing to the skin. It is good for all skin types in that it does not clog the pores. Further, it balances oily skin, moisturizes dry skin, and may even help with acne (4).
Plus, there may only be trace amounts of the psychoactive component (THC) in hemp seed oil. This is because no THC is found in this plant’s seeds. It is only in the leaves and flowers. Further, hemp seed oil can contain a very small amount of CBD (less than 25 parts per million).
Benefits of Using Hemp Seed Oil on the Skin
- Long lasting moisturizer
- Creates a youthful glow
- Helps soften the skin
- May soothes irritations, including: psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, acne, eczema, and redness
- Skin protective
- Possibly skin regenerative and good for fine lines and wrinkles
- Anti-inflammatory via gamma-linolenic acid
It is important to buy cold pressed hemp seed oil from reliable sources. Plus, note that this oil oxidizes and turns rancid easily. Thus, look at the expiration date when purchasing. Avoid oil with a rancid smell. Also, consider adding vitamin E or a rosemary antioxidant to help hemp seed oil last longer.
What do I do with my hemp seed oil: BEAUTIFY!
- Wash my face! Mix equal parts of hemp seed oil, apple cider vinegar, and rose water to make a face wash. Shake well and pour about a tablespoon on a warm wash cloth.*
- Mask my face! Mix equal parts of hemp seed oil, rose water, and rose clay to make a face mask. Click here for the recipe: Rose Clay Mask
- Moisturize my skin! Rub a small amount on the face for glow and moisturization!*
*Especially with sensitive skin, skin patch test in a small unnoticed area before rubbing on a new product on the face or large areas of skin. With medical conditions, research possible contra-indications.
What is CBD Oil
CBD is a chemical constituent found in hemp. It is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. CO2 extractions are the preferred method over ethanol or oil extraction. CBD oil ranges in its CBD content, depending on how heavily it has been diluted with a carrier oil. Range varies anywhere from 1-99% CBD. Thus, note the importance of reading the label and understanding how diluted a CBD product is before intake. CBD oils can contain small amounts of THC. Again, read the product label. CBD oil is typically used topically to help reduce pain and inflammation. It is also taken by people internally to help with anxiety, insomnia, pain, inflammation, and certain diseases. However, more human studies are needed.
CBD Oil Topical Uses
- Inflammation (5)
- Possibly for skin conditions such as psoriasis (6)
What do I do with my CBD oil: REDUCE PAIN!
- First, I read the bottle to review recommended dosage and existing dilution ratio.
- I apply my CBD heavily diluted in a carrier oil on painful or inflamed areas. Undiluted, this chemical can cause skin irritation!*
*Remember: with any products you have never before used on your skin, skin patch test. Review possible contra-indications. Click here to read how to Skin Patch Test.
In summary, I would suggest hemp seed oil as a useful carrier oil for beautifying the skin. But, be aware of its short shelf life. Also, remember to get organic, cold pressed oil from a reliable source. For pain and inflammation, CBD can be combined with carrier oils to make a topical application. When buying CBD, understand the dilution of the bottled product. And again, purchase from a reliable source.
- Kowal, M. A., Hazekamp, A., & Grotenhermen, F. (2016). Review on clinical studies with cannabis and cannabinoids 2010-2014. Multiple sclerosis, 6(1515), 202010-2014.
- Dhadwal, G., & Kirchhof, M. G. (2018). The Risks and Benefits of Cannabis in the Dermatology Clinic. Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery, 22(2), 194-199
- Vogl, C. R., Mölleken, H., Lissek-Wolf, G., Surböck, A., & Kobert, J. (2004). Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) as a resource for green cosmetics: Yield of seed and fatty acid compositions of 20 varieties under the growing conditions of organic farming in Austria. Journal of Industrial Hemp, 9(1), 51-68.
- Ali, A., & Akhtar, N. (2015). The safety and efficacy of 3% Cannabis seeds extract cream for reduction of human cheek skin sebum and erythema content. Pakistan journal of pharmaceutical sciences, 28(4).
- Fumagalli, M., Sangiovanni, E., Pacchetti, B., Piazza, S., & Dell’Agli, M. (2017). Anti-inflammatory activity of Cannabis sativa L. extracts in an in vitro model of skin inflammation. Planta Medica International Open, 4(S 01), We-SL.
- Derakhshan, N., & Kazemi, M. (2016). Cannabis for Refractory Psoriasis-High Hopes for a Novel Treatment and a Literature Review. Current clinical pharmacology, 11(2), 146-147.
“That is not a drug, it’s a leaf.”
(To further Arnold’s quote, it’s a leaf (or seed) with amazing therapeutic potential!)
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA (ARC), NAHA and AIA Professional Member, LMT