Certain ingredients found in cosmetics have become a source of controversy in recent years, leaving some to seek natural alternatives for our beauty care — hemp included. According to a study published in the British Pharmacological Society, there is evidence that there are topical benefits to hemp. Of course, hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana so they share similar medicinal benefits. However, there's a clear distinction between the two: Hemp is high in cannabinoids (CBD) while marijuana is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Science knows hemp products won't get you high, but because its close relative will, hemp endures scrutiny from lawmakers. In December 2016, the DEA classified CBD oil as a schedule 1 drug. Luckily, this doesn't take hemp beauty products off the market, because the regulation is looking to needlessly crack down on CBD extract. Our hemp cosmetics aren't likely to contain the amount of CBD the DEA is after and as many sources point out, the DEA doesn't have the authority to ban all non-psychoactive CBD extract particularly in the 28 states that have legalized marijuana in some form.
All this means is that there is some pretty cool stuff happening with hemp cosmetics despite the political grumblings of naysayers. Hemp butter retains the essential fatty acids, proteins, fibers, and cannabinoids that make it so beneficial for moisturizing skin, much like how shea butter's emollient properties work. While some consumers are infatuated with the relationship between hemp and marijuana, others are specifically besotted by the all-around benefits that CBD has to offer. According to the U.S National Library of Medicine, our skin has cannabinoid receptors which regulate inflammation, sensitivity, and sebaceous glands; the article also points out that these receptors may be responsive to cannabinoid cosmetics to treat skin issues. Don't you just love connectivity?
Even though therapeutic use of hemp has been traced back to 2000-1400 B.C., most of the Western medical research available is in the early stages, but with so many states giving their green stamp of approval, I hope to see that change soon. These are just some of the use cases for lathering up in hemp.
For Dry Skin
One of hemp butter's most obvious treatment is dry skin because of the vitamins A & E present in the oil. Since the skin contains cannabinoid receptors, hemp butter can penetrate areas in the skin that are suffering from dryness and flaking. You can find relief by using hemp butter on its own or, my personal favorite way, making a hemp butter infusion by adding equal parts of hemp butter with your favorite oil. This mixture creates a whipped consistency that glides easily over the skin.
Studies are currently being conducted on plants containing cannabinoids, like hemp, as a treatment for psoriasis. The National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal, and Skin Diseases explains that psoriasis occurs when cells rise from below the surface rapidly and pile on the skin's surface before they have a chance to mature. This can make the skin scaly, inflamed and often itchy. There are plenty of reasons to turn to hemp to reduce the inflammation: Hemp butter has anti-inflammatory properties and omega-3 fatty acids. Earlier studies published in the U.S National Library of Medicine have hinted that topical use of omega-3 fatty acids could trigger improvement in patients with psoriasis, and this 2011 NCBI study showed significant improvement in participants that were given omega-3 fatty acids and taking Oravex orally. Using butters, like hemp, rich in omega-3 fatty acids can have a soothing effect on the inflamed skin.
For Acne Treatment
Acne-sufferers with dry skin can face a beauty catch-22: Heavy creams can clog our pores and/or leave us with oily skin that is just beggin' for a breakout, while acne treatments can just dry us out beyond belief. Hemp is rich in both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to our skin's health. According to the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the CBD present in hemp can inhibit the lipid production in skin cells as well as prevent dry skin. The article finds that "CBD has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris."
For Dry Hair
Speaking of omega fatty acids, hemp butter makes for an excellent conditioner because it softens and smoothes hair. According to hair experts at Curly Nikki, the GLA in hemp can improve the fragility and health of hair. This is a particularly great conditioning agent for those with afro-texture hair because, as the article also points out, GLA is a ceramide source. According to StyleCaster, ceramides are lipid molecules that control water loss from our skin by acting as a protective barrier on our skin. Studies have found that more heavily pigmented skin contains about 50 percent fewer ceramides, which can lead to a drier scalp and hair.
As you may have noticed by now, hemp is certainly a forced to be reckoned with and the world of cosmetics are taking notice. Hopefully, the CBD supporters on the front-line will make sure that we continue to lift restrictions in order to experience all the benefits of hemp.