We like to talk about pot around here — and it’s not because we like to watch anti-intellectual movies and nosh on organic, gluten-free junk food — it’s because there’s a lot of evidence out there that cannabis is good for us in certain applications. The latest application? On our body, in the form of beauty products. Should you be lathering up with cannabis-infused products? Here’s what you need to know.
A quick search via Amazon finds several cannabis-inspired cookbooks on the market, from Sandra Hinchliffe’s The Cannabis Spa at Home: How to Make Marijuana-Infused Lotions, Massage Oils, Ointments, Bath Salts, Spa Nosh, and More to more pot-comprehensive volumes like Beyond Buds: Marijuana Extracts — Hash, Vaping, Dabbing, Edibles and Medicines, by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. Despite the fact that these books — with titles so long we get lost in them — promote unconventional uses for pot, we can’t help but wonder if cannabis really is good for our skin.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of studies about cannabis’ effect on the skin. We do know from a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation that cannabidiol may reduce activity in the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for oil production. By reducing oil production, cannabis may help reduce the development of acne for some individuals.
Another study titled “Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) as a Resource for Green Cosmetics,” found that hemp oil — which is legal throughout the United States — shows a high quantity of fatty acids that can help hydrate the skin. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York told Women’s Health that cannabis seed oil can be helpful for treating conditions like eczema, dry skin and psoriasis.
As we’ve previously reported, cannabis can treat several conditions, including cancer, so it’s conceivable that by using cannabis-infused skin-care products, we can protect ourselves from skin cancer, but the reality is that we need more studies on the subject.
The Huffington Post reported on the use of marijuana in 2013 and delivered some bad news to people who smoke or ingest the drug. The potent ingredient in pot, tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, immediately increases testosterone levels, according to Dr. Ariel Ostad, a cosmetic and dermatological surgeon out of New York. Dr. Ostad told The Huffington Post that this increase in testosterone levels spikes oil production, which can lead to increased acne.
Both Dr. Ostad and Dr. Bobby Buka, another New York-based dermatologist, warn that the activity of smoking itself, by exposing the skin to smoke, can lead to more rapid aging. The smoke can also irritate skin conditions like psoriasis. However, the article states that reduced stress — namely from smoking pot — leads to better skin. Dr. Buka states that acne, rosacea and eczema are often reduced by decreasing the amount of stress to which we are exposed. Despite what both doctors claim, neither of them address using cannabis directly on the skin.
So the verdict’s still out. As we’ve reported previously, hemp oil is great for the skin. It has the same number of amino acids and essential fatty acids as cannabis, plus the same antioxidant powers without the high THC content, but is available at just about any drug store throughout the United States. If you happen to live in a state where marijuana is legal, let us know if you use cannabis for skin care — we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Would you use cannabis on your skin?
Megan Winkler is an author, historian, Neurosculpting® meditation coach, certified nutritional consultant and DIY diva. When she’s not writing or teaching a class, Megan can be found in the water, on a yoga mat, learning a new instrument or singing karaoke. Her passion for a healthy mind-body-spirit relationship motivates her to explore all the natural world has to offer.