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Are CBD beauty products really worth the hype?

CBD beauty products: What you need to know
CBD beauty products: What you need to know

Cannabis products have become so commonplace in Canada, it’s not unusual to see it blended with your smoothie or mixed-in with your bag of chips.

There’s even cannabis-infused water in the market.

Now cannabidiol — or CBD, for short — isn’t only in your food. It’s permeated the beauty market, being mixed-in with skincare and makeup, with many brands promising untold health benefits from their CBD products.

READ MORE: What you need to know about CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis chemical

The CBD-infused cosmetics market is set to reach $1.7 billion USD globally by 2025, according to a report by research and consulting firm Grand View Research Inc.

North America is leading that surge, due to cannabis legalization in Canada and at least 33 states in the U.S., according to the study. 

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But the supposed health benefits of these products, including claims around anti-inflammatory or anti-oxidant properties, may not be entirely accurate, according to health professionals.

Is CBD oil is safe to use on animals?
Is CBD oil is safe to use on animals?

There hasn’t been enough research into how CBD beauty products can benefit consumers, which is true of many ingredients, said Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, a Toronto-based dermatologist to Global News.

“There’s just not a lot of science,” said Skotnicki, who’s also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.

READ MORE: More people are giving CBD oil to their pets, but experts aren’t sure it’s safe

There’s a good body of research that topical CBD and THC products can help with pain control, but it’s much less certain for skincare, she explained. 

The popularity and sheer amount of CBD beauty products may be due to marketing hype, rather than discernible health benefits, said Skotnicki. 

“The thing with skin is it’s like a hot topic. Everybody is jumping on the bandwagon. Everybody wants to get a piece of pie. And the mark is more marketing than science,” she said. 

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Can I get high from using these products?

CBD is a non-psychoactive ingredient found in two kinds of cannabis plants, marijuana and hemp. This is not to be confused with tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, which is found only in marijuana and results in a “high,” said Saina Taidi, a cosmetic scientist.

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“As soon as you talk about CBD, people always think, ‘oh you’re putting marijuana on your skin so you could get psychoactive chemicals in your system’. That’s not the case. CBD does not contain THC,” said Taidi. Without THC, it’s impossible to get high, she said. 

What is CBD and does it work?
What is CBD and does it work?

While some CBD cosmetic products use hemp seed oil, others use CBD oil which is extracted from the leaves of a hemp plant. That kind of oil contains less that 0.3 per cent THC, said Taidi.

Popular beauty products like mascara and lip gloss have been infused with CBD oil or hemp seed oil as part of a trend following the loosening of cannabis regulations around these products across North America, she said. 

Do these products actually work? 

Some studies have found that using CBD on the skin has anti-inflammatory properties that can help patients with psoriasis or eczema, but it doesn’t work in every case and research is ongoing, Taidi said.

CBD products online are especially prone to being mislabeled, or even advertised with imagery associated with being “high” when the product contains no THC. 

Before buying a trendy product, read the ingredients and do research about it’s intended effects, said Taidi. 

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READ MORE: ‘CBD is becoming kind of an ‘it’ word in cannabis’: Expert says demand for low-potency weed rising

“Make sure that you do your due diligence and you get as much information possible. Never just buy a product because of the very cool advertisements… talk to a professional before you’re making a decision,” she said. 

Claims that CBD-based products can help with acne, or inflammation have potential, but it’s not a “magic molecule,” she said. 

“What we have to focus on here is to follow the scientific research and focus on the facts rather than hype,” she said. “If you want to buy any of that, make sure to look into the ingredients list.”

For more information about the efficacy of CBD cosmetics, watch the video with Global News’ Aalia Adam above.

—With files from Aalia Adam