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A Journal of Cannabis and Culture

A Beautiful New Frontier

A Beautiful New Frontier

It seems to have happened almost overnight. Suddenly, Moon Juice, mindfulness, and spoonfuls of organic ashwagandha root powder in a morning cup of coffee have replaced the chemical- laden facial creams of the past to usher in an artisanal new chapter of beauty products with a holistic bent. More often than not, these elixirs and powders portend to work their magic from the inside out, as though beauty both skin deep and far below the surface have finally merged.

In tandem with this virtuous new beauty movement, the slow legalization of marijuana across the country has engendered increased availability for scientific studies, and a general better understanding of the plant itself, which, as it turns out, produces over 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. But THC, the most notorious of these compounds, has officially been put on notice, because another cannabinoid, specifically CBD, is coming for it.

The leap from the mainstream acceptance of cannabis’s medicinal qualities to the world of wellness is one thing. Earlier this year, in a run-through for The New York Times of her “wellness and beauty routine,” the actress Olivia Wilde declared: “I’ve been using this body lotion that has CBD from marijuana. It’s called Lord Jones [...] The CBD has relaxing benefits, and the idea is to avoid using too many painkillers.”

OK. But can CBD actually make your skin look better? The skincare brand from. ever.since thinks so, calling CBD “by far the most exciting of all cannabinoids.” The Miami-based company, which utilizes 99.8% pure pharma-grade CBD in both their silky facial perfecting cream as well as their contour serum, raves about the ingredient as “a powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent [that] helps to keep skin healthy and clear.”

The science seems to back up these claims. Raj Gupta, a pharmaceutical chemist who works for Folium Biosciences, a company that produces “full spectrum CBD rich oil,” calls CBD a “magical molecule that comes around only once in a lifetime.” Gupta goes on to explain: “Every other skincare product uses an active ingredient that works only on the surface [...] CBD works from the outside in as an antioxidant, but also from the inside out.”

Helping the transition might be the beauty industry’s love affair with essential oils, particularly hemp seed oil—which beauty website Violet Grey has lauded for its anti- aging properties. Nerd Note: hemp seed oil is derived from hemp seeds, whereas CBD is extracted from the leaves, stalks, and flowers of hemp, which until very recently was much more heavily regulated. Nerd Note, part two: there are different techniques available to extract CBD. Erica Ragusa, certified herbalist of Ambika Herbals, explains that full-spectrum extract “is more comprehensive than just saying ‘CBD’ and it is also meant to differentiate from extracts that are CBD isolates, in which solely CBD has been extracted from the plant [...] To put it another way, CBD isolate is more drug-like, more processed, whereas Full Spectrum is more food-like, and more like the complete plant, which our bodies know how to receive.”

Along these lines: herbalist, Ayurvedic specialist, aromatherapist, and yoga teacher Kristi Blustein is the founder of KHUS+KHUS, a skin- and body-care line of which its SEN Face Serum uses eco-certified CBD oil for its “remarkable therapeutics for skin maintenance and skin disorders.” Blustein explains, believing that plants “support us in our quest for healing and teach us to heal ourselves. They translate their millions of years of evolutionary success into our systems and communicate a bounty of intelligence to us.”

For the uninitiated, this could be falling under the category of “woo stuff” or worse—“hocus pocus”—but in terms of our ability to communicate with plant- based cannabinoids, well, yeah: we were kind of born that way. Dr. Adam Friedman, an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University, explains, “Historically, we always thought about the phyto- cannabinoids, the ones arrived at from the cannabis plant.” But, he says, “In the early 90s, a study led to the finding that [...] we make our own endocannabinoids.”

Gupta emphasizes this as well, referring to the skin as an organ with an endocannabinoid system and the ways in which CBD, as a cannabinoid itself, is then able to “influence” the skin in a way that other topical products might not.

“Proven to synergize naturally with the body’s endo-cannabinoid system” is the way the New Jersey-based skincare company CBD For Life describes it. Their Pure CBD Eye Serum uses “99% pure CBD extract” and is designed to fight aging and fine lines as well as aid in the reduction of dark under-eye circles.

Joie Meffert, a founding partner of the skincare line Apothecanna, also alludes to the collaborative relationship between CBD and our endocannabinoid system: “Our formulas have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and nutritive properties that actually tone down inflammation, resulting in the body healing itself as opposed to masking the symptoms.”

Founded in 2009 (the pioneer days of cannabis-based skincare?), Apothecanna carries an Everyday Face and Body Oil touting 50mg of CBD along with cedar, geranium, and calendula. Bonus: it smells of orange zest with just a hint of cinnamon.

Meffert continues: “CBD has emerged at a time when we are collectively reconsidering our attitude towards beauty.” Even if you don’t agree with this statement, it does seem like a turning point for the age-old plant, legal in one way or another in 29 states and yet still federally deemed a “Schedule 1” drug.

But is CBD really a miracle molecule? Time will tell. In the meantime, added to your skincare regimen, it does seem to noticeably reduce inflammation and redness. It might also inspire compliments about a certain “glow.” And, in keeping with the inner-outer beauty connection, a spoonful of CBD in your facial oil may even help you chill in the most delightful way.

A Journal of Cannabis and Culture
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