Is weed skincare worth the hype?


You’d be living under a rock if you hadn’t noticed weed is having a moment (sartorially speaking, of course). Once the preserve of stoners, now it promises better sex, has infiltrated the catwalk and is even a part of Kendall Jenner’s airport attire. It’s safe to say that the cannabis plant is having a resurgence and it’s no surprise that it’s now creeping into the world of beauty – one green leaf at a time. Across the pond, cannabis has been a beauty buzzword since 29 US states legalised medical marijuana. There are many different cannabinoids (the medicines in cannabis), one of which is THC, a psychoactive chemical found in cannabis. Many products stateside are now laced with THC. In the UK, THC is yet to take off in a similar way (at least for now). That’s not to say cannabis skincare is non-existent.

Products containing hempseed oil, which is rich in CBD (another cannabinoid) are as de rigueur as avocados if The Body Shop and Holland & Barrett’s offerings are anything to go by. But should we be skeptical of cannabis skincare? Is weed beauty an *actual* miracle cure for great-looking skin, or is it just another gimmick? According to Robert Dellavalle, Professor of Dermatology and Public Health at University of Colorado School of Medicine and co-author of The role of cannabinoids in dermatology, research on how THC and CBD interact with cannabinoid receptors in the skin (involved in the development of skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis) is still at an early stage. He notes that One Cannabis World, a pharmaceutical medical cannabis research company, is just starting clinical trial testing of a combination THC/CBD for psoriasis in the US. ‘More trials will be needed to tell which cannabinoids will work best for itching and skin inflammation,’ Robert tells Can THC/CBD actually give you glowing skin? Weed skincare promises to give us Kaia Gerber-esque skin (if you don’t lust over her pore-free skin on the gram, we can’t be friends). But does it really have miracle healing properties? I spoke to Dr Joshua Zeichner, an expert on cosmetic skin health and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology in New York City. He says that hempseed oil is an ‘ideal skincare treatment’ because it is loaded with fatty acids to seal in cracks between skin cells, hydrate and soothes inflamed skin.

‘There is some data to suggest it also modulates oil production and may be useful in treating acne,’ he adds. So perhaps it’s worth giving weed a whirl (beauty-wise, of course). And according to Dr Jordan Tishler, a Harvard trained expert in the field of medical cannabis therapeutics, both THC and CBD do have anti-inflammatory properties, and have been useful for treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. ‘For dermatologic conditions, it may be helpful particularly if they are minor or more powerful treatments have not worked,’ Dr Tishler explains. It’s hard not to be tempted to give it a shot as someone who dreads winter and the cracked, bleeding hands that come with it.