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Help or Hype? Cannabidiol or CBD in Personal Care Products


Most likely you've seen cannabidiol or CBD showing up on the shelves of many of your favorite retailers. Not only is it found in balms or creams to ease muscle or joint aches, but it's also showing up in lip balms, hair care products, skin care lines, cosmetics, massage, bath products, and even candles. But is it helpful? Have we gone too far? First of all what is CBD or cannabidiol anyway? CBD is one of many naturally occuring phytocannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa which includes strains of both hemp and marijuana plants.

CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn't elicit a high that other phytocannabionoids (plant based cannabinoids) like tetrahydrocannabinol or THC can cause. CBD like other phytocannabinoids interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of receptors (such as CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made naturally by our body) that bind to these receptors, and the enzymes that build and break down the endocannabinoids.


The ECS is thought to help maintain balance in the body. ECS receptors occur throughout the body suggesting it plays a huge role in supporting the body. ECS receptors are found in the brain and nervous system, the bones, the digestive system, reproductive system, endocrine system, reproductive system, immune system, as well as in the skin. When a molecule or ligand binds to or activates a receptor it initiates a response in the cells and body -- turning things on or off or gearing things up or down so to speak.

CBD and other phytocannabinoids can supplement our naturally occurring cannabinoids and may be helpful in bringing the body back into balance. When CBD binds to endocannabinoid receptors in our body it can have powerful effects. In particular it can offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, But the question I'm exploring in this blog post is -- is CBD useful in personal care products? Is it beneficial in a lotion? A shampoo? Mascara? A candle?


Exploring the benefits of CBD in personal care products is the same as exploring any herb or essential oil. Is it in the

product because it's trendy or for a mindful purpose?

Given its benefits as an anti-inflammatory and anxtioxidant, CBD makes sense in skin care for perhaps irritated or acneic skin, to soothe irritated or inflamed skin issues, and to offer moisturization and support the health of mature skin.

As a formulator and aromatherapist I was trained to consider the purpose of ingredients in a product. In some of my course work I was made aware of things such as "green washing" and using ingredients in small amounts to support marketing stories, etc.


Many companies and formulators use ingredients simply because they are trending. And sometimes even the most wonderful and beneficial ingredients used in too small amounts or in the wrong ways are simply not effective.


I can't make a decent cup of coffee or tea with a minuscule amount of coffee beans or tea leaves. Likewise we can't reap the benefits of botanicals unless they are used in appropriate amounts and in ways they can actually get into the body.


Cannabidiol is an amazing ingredient as are many botanicals and essential oils. But dosage and correct usage are important.


CBD is most beneficial used topically for aches and skin issues and internally for things such as mood support, relaxation, and sleep.




Ask questions and consider dosage and delivery and get products from companies you trust. When St. John's Wort was featured on 60 minutes for its benefits it began showing up everywhere, including in cans of soup. While St. John's Wort can be helpful when doled out by an herbalist or standardized capsules or tincture -- but in a few meals of soup, it may not have the intended effects.


With CBD products for muscle aches look for 100 mg of CBD per oz or more (I use 250 mg to 500 mg per oz for easing aches). In facial care products to ease dryness and inflammation, smaller amounts can still be very beneficial (say 10 mg or more per oz).


And the truth is there are lots of amazing products that feature botanicals other than hemp that are amazing. CBD is definitely beneficial in personal care products for many reasons, but make sure your retailers can explain why the've used the ingredients they have. Aromatic blessings, Tricia




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