Find out if cannabis has any beauty benefits, or if it's all just marijuana marketing.
There's no denying that marijuana is having a major moment. With medical usage legal in 29 states and Washington, DC, and recreational usage legal in eight of those, the prevalence continues to grow. Case in point: Skin-care products are now touting cannabis. Yes, you read that right.
Let's clear something up from the get-go: The stuff that's in your beauty products is not the same as what you'd find in a joint. The most common ingredient used in these beauty products is hempseed oil, which comes from a cannabis plant bred for industrial uses. It lacks THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gets you high. So no, you won't feel a buzz; and yes, it's completely legal—and legit.
"Hempseed oil is an outstanding emollient ingredient and it contains high levels of fatty acids, which hydrate and soothe inflamed skin," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, ranging from dry skin to eczema."
Other skin-care products boast CBD—cannabidiol—a type of cannabinoid (a chemical compound) found in cannabis. CBD doesn't have any psychoactive effects, but it does have some skin-care perks. "It binds to receptors in the skin that are involved in sensations of heat, itching, and pain, which may help explain its soothing effect," Dr. Zeichner says. That's why, in addition to standard skin-care products, there are also multiple muscle rubs, pain relief sprays, and the like containing and promoting the benefits of CBD. (Read more: Should You Try Cannabis Creams for Pain Relief?) A 2014 study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation found that CBD could also be a promising acne treatment, due to its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to reduce sebum.
The bottom line: These products are legal, won't get you high, and have the potential to do some good things for your skin. Below, five to try if you're interested in the cannabis craze.
CBD for Life Pure CBD Eye Serum ($32; cbdforlife.us): The dozen beauty and health products in this line use 99 percent pure CBD derived from industrial hemp. In this lightweight eye cream, you get its anti-inflammatory benefits, plus anti-aging retinol to help smooth fine lines.
Rub of the Green Rescue Balm ($59; aphorismskincare.com): This rich balm is packed with hempseed oil; it's the number-one ingredient. Along with its great moisturizing properties, hempseed oil also contains magnesium-rich chlorophyll to help to soothe red, itchy skin, making this a perfect wintertime hydrator.
The Body Shop Hemp Soap on a Rope ($6; thebodyshop.com): Swap standard bar soap for this gentle, non-drying (and very cute) option, that uses community trade hemp oil from France.
Kush Aloe-Based Face & Eye Cream ($40; kushcreams.com): Hempseed oil is blended with antioxidant-rich sea buckthorn oil and anti-aging rosehip seed oil in this all-over facial moisturizer.
Peace of Mind Massage Cannabliss 2.0 Mint Lip Fix ($8; available at denverpeaceofmindmassage.com on November 1): Anti-inflammatory CBD soothes dry, cracked lips, while hydrators like shea butter and coconut oil deliver much-needed moisture to even the most parched pouts. Extra points for the refreshing, minty scent.