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Stoned-Cold Beauty

In search of the ever-elusive beauty and grooming high, we explore Mary Jane’s infiltration and efficacy in skin care, cosmetics and fragrance…
 
By Adriana Ermter
 
Pot, weed, grass, 420, dope, chronic…whatever you want to call Mary Jane, she’s an undeniable force. With her legalization in Canada, she’s now ever present and not only in smoke, but as the new buzzy ingredient infiltrating beauty and grooming products at a rapid-fire pace. Except that in its botanical extract form, known as cannabidiol(CBD), the active compound that is derived from the hemp plant won’t actually make your skin care and cosmetics reach high heights. Which leads us to ask, what’s all the hype about?
 
“CBD is the focus of many headlines in the beauty space for a few reasons,” explains Michelle Bilodeau, cannabis advocate, writer and co-host of the podcast On a High, which operates in partnership with Business of Cannabis. “It is believed to be an anti-inflammatory ingredient. And in skin care, inflammation is the cause of many issues, such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and even aging of the skin.”
 
Author and dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone agrees. Leveraging medical research, his eponymous website explains the ingredient’s uses and benefits in skin care, naming CBD as an antioxidant comparable to vitamins C and E thanks to the ability of all three to protect the dermis from free radicals and environmental stressors such as the sun’s UVA and UVB rays as well as pollution. Dr. Perricone also says CBD is being recognized as an ingredient capable of maintaining healthy, balanced skin.
 
“It turns out that your body produces its own naturally occurring cannabinoids called endocannabinoids (they’re not at all related to the cannabis plant),” says Dr. Perricone on his website. “Their purpose is to support your skin’s endocannabinoid system, a complex network that’s job is to keep your skin in homeostasis – that is, a happy, healthy and balanced state. When this system is out of whack, well, so is your skin. Your complexion may be irritated, oily, dry, blemish-prone or even itchy.”
 
Along with treating these symptoms, CBD’s status in skin care is expanding with medical findings that assert it can diminish signs of visible aging by supressing skin inflammation to create smoother, clearer and calmer complexions, says Dr. Perricone. Backed by research and based on a 2014 study published by The American Society for Clinical Investigation, CBD is now credited as an effective ingredient to calm and soothe inflammation, while simultaneously suppressing the sebaceous glands that cause excess oil production and unwanted spots. With adult acne on the rise and affecting 22 per cent of womenages 26 to 44 years, along with approximately a third of that number for men, skincare brands are upping their game to create both anti-aging and anti-acne solutions in their face products. More research is crucial but due to current results within this realm, CBD is being mix-mastered into an increasing number of niche and mass brands, including Dr. Perricone’s CBx for Men skincare line.
 
Body creams and lotions with brands ranging from Lord Jones and Khus & Khus to Cannuka are also popping up with unique CBD incarnations and stating benefits of anti-inflammation and analgesic (pain-numbing) properties. Said to alleviate muscular aches and pains, these lotions and creams are now rumoured to be red carpet favourites, with celebrities such as Katy Perry, Melissa McCarthy, Ruth Negga and Sarah Paulson reportedly rubbing the formulations onto their feet before slipping into sky-high Louboutins.
 
Similarly, these calming and soothing benefits are being highlighted in the colour cosmetics category. To date, you can seek and find CBD in lip gloss, mascara and lip balms, as well as in CBD-infused fragrances, which purport to ease anxiety, relax and de-stress via their leafy-green-floral (not skunky) smell in a spritz of eau de parfum – courtesy of bottles like Fresh Cannabis Santal, Heretic Dirty Grass or Malin + Goetz Cannabis.
 
Your CBD checklist
No matter the product, their claims require exploration, scientific studies and randomized clinical trials. “People need to be careful when looking at cannabis in beauty,” warns Bilodeau. “Hemp seed oil or cannabis sativa seed oil, which contain high amounts of fatty acids and are super hydrating for the skin, do not equal CBD. Some brands are using those terms as a marketing tool to jack up their prices and get people to purchase their products. Hemp seed oil and cannabis sativa seed oil have no anti-inflammatory properties.”
 
Knowing what to look for on the labels of your face serum, foot lotion or beard oil will help separate the real deal from the wannabes. Dr. Perricone, who uses pure cannabidiol powder in his men’s skincare line, recommends purchasing only products that list cannabidiol as an ingredient on their packaging. “Ifyou see ingredients such as cannabis seed oil, hemp seed oil, hemp butter or cannabis extract, you can’t be sure your product will give you the same benefits as pure CBD,” he states on his website. “Some of these derivatives may only contain small amounts of cannabidiol.”
 
Where there is no room for speculation – regardless of the amount or type of THC-free CBD found in your beauty and grooming products – is whether CBD is able to make you feel high. It can’t and it won’t. Ever. CBD’s botanical compound sister tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a crystalline compound that is also extracted from the cannabis sativa plant, willput you in a Big Mouth Greg Glaser state of mind. But you won’t find it being swirled into your elixirs, lip gloss, or face or body creams. Mary Jane’s non-active sister is highly (pun intended) monitored and regulated to ensure quality, efficacy and proper implementation.
 
“In Canada, CBD is available only through licensed retailers and it is only just now available in topical form – products will likely start hitting shelves later this year,” says Bilodeau. “In the US, CBD is more readily available as it is legal for use in products, even though cannabis is still a federally illegal substance.”
 
Ganja Glossary
Five additional cannabis terms you need to know
 
Cannabidiol The compound derived from the cannabis plant that is being integrated into beauty and grooming products.
Cannabis sativa A species of plant within the Cannabis family that can refer to both agricultural hemp and marijuana.
Hemp A type of Cannabis sativa plant. Formerly favoured for its seeds (which have been sprinkled on salads) and fibres (which have been woven into clothes), the hemp plant is now popular for its CBD extract.
Non-psychoactive or non-psychotoxic Will not have a detrimental effect on your mind, personality or behaviour. In other words, it won’t get you “high.”
Psychoactive When a CBD product contains more than 0.3 per cent of THC and is considered to have a euphoric impact, i.e., it may get you “high.”
 

 
ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.
 

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