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Brief Published: 24 Nov 2017

Cannabis Moves into Beauty


As cannabis enters America’s mainstream consumer marketplace and occupies an increasingly stylish and luxe space, US beauty start-ups are embracing the beneficial ingredient. 

Some products use cannabis seed oil, while others deploy CBD – the cannabis-derived compound cannabidiol. The latter is not psychoactive, unlike the compound THC, but currently occupies a legal grey area in states where recreational cannabis is banned. As a skincare ingredient, CBD boasts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties, and is said to benefit acne, under-eye bags and skin irritation, among other things. It can also be used as a topical remedy to soothe anxiety or ease aches and pains, akin to Tiger Balm or Bengay.

California-based Vertly, launched in August by W Magazine’s former accessories and jewellery director and her husband, makes three varieties of lip balm. One contains moisturising sativa seed oil (claimed to be especially easy for the skin to absorb), another features CBD (for a “subtle state of tranquility”), and one includes THC – sold only in Californian marijuana dispensaries.

Meanwhile, using contemporary unisex black and white packaging, New York-based Herb Essentials offers a moisturiser, body lotion and lip balm infused with cannabis sativa seed oil. Another cannabis-focused brand, Ohio-based Cannuka, couples CBD with manuka honey (known for its healing properties) in skin, eye and lip balms and a body cream. New Jersey-based CBD for Life offers a shampoo and conditioner in addition to moisturisers.

For more on cannabis in cosmetics, see Budding Beauty and New-Era Naturals. See also Women Embrace Weed, and for more on cannabis’ role in the luxury wellness sphere, see Retail’s New Prestige Players and New Food Covetables