If the aim of the Cosmétothèque is to revisit forgotten concepts, and / or striking facts, it is also its vocation to mark the appearance of new ideas and new concepts. Without judging the advisability and the relevance of what is proposed in the current state of art, let’s talk about what we are talking about! Today Cannabis in cosmetics.
The Observatore des Cosmétiques very recently took interesting stock of this issue. 2019 was undoubtedly the year 1 of the wide use of Cannabis in cosmetics. Admittedly, this concept had already been approached in the previous years by pioneering brands, such as HoKaran in France, but its progress becomes absolutely essential: more than 500 brands in November 2019 use this plant. Many players in the sector offer ranges or products around this plant. There are also many who wonder whether it is appropriate to invest in this positioning. A “summit” will be dedicated to it in 2020.
Quick reminder to find your way around:
- Cannabis is a family of plants
- Hemp is a plant. There are several species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, etc.
- THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), banned, is a chemical that makes you hover
- CBD (cannabidiol), not classified as a narcotic, is another compound in cannabis
- Hemp oil: it is a vegetable oil rich in omega 6
The substances available for use at the moment are hemp oil and extracts more or less titrated in CBD. A few also seem to be moving towards hemp protein.
On the technical and scientific level, few major publications allow to form an opinion on the real effects of these substances. Inherently they have properties but often those of the family to which they belong. This is the case, for example, with hemp oil, which, although interesting, is not really distinguished from other vegetable oils. It’s not yet clear why hemp protein is of more interest than other sources. In my opinion, it remains to establish an essential proof of concept concerning the value of its substances, and in particular of CBD. In fact the main issues are around Cannabidiol or CBD. This substance is believed to have no psychotropic effects. In addition, there are keratinocyte cannabinoid receptors, but there are for many substances and their role is still unclear. Administration of CBD to cultured human sebocytes and to the culture of human skin organs inhibited the lipogenic actions of various compounds, including arachidonic acid and a combination of linoleic acid and testosterone, and suppressed the proliferation of sebocytes via activation of the potential on transient receptors. These results suggest that due to the combined effects, CBD has potential as a promising active ingredient for the treatment of acne vulgaris. But we are no longer in the cosmetic universe. Its antioxidant power seems to be consensus, but no more than others. Finally, effects on transcription systems such as NF-kappa-B have been reported. The limit of these observations comes from the fact that these studies are often in vitro. In addition, some experts are very reluctant to use it. Very difficult to date to form an objective opinion. But whatever the case, the power of the name is such that this idea will join the kingdom of other miraculous substances such as Royal Jelly, Edelweiss Extracts and other comparable nuggets.
There remains in all this the question of legal and regulation. At the moment things seem pretty clear, since only THC-free products are usable. In the cosmetic world, only seeds are used. The use of flowers is prohibited. Finally, the plant that is used must have a content of THC less than 0.2%. As for finished products, no tolerance: they must not contain THC. But the reputation of the plant raises many discussions. A recent meeting has dedicated quite a stir on this subject in the USA.
To help you to establish your own opinion, we offer a selection of a whole series of recent publications dealing with this issue.
To be on line with trends, they also ferment it to produce actives: https://www.gcimagazine.com/business/suppliers/announcements/Amyris-Ships-Fermentation-derived-CBD-to-Lavvan-566648151.html
In conclusion, it is very difficult to form an objective opinion on the interest of this group of substances. However, the suggestive power of the ingredient is such that the question will be inevitable and will likely be in the news for some time. This case has to be followed.
Jean Claude LE JOLIFF