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Cannabidiol (CBD), what is it and what is it for?

Cannabidiol (CBD), what is it and what is it for?

Published: 25 August, 2022 - Updated: 3 November, 2022 | 4'

What is cannabidiol or CBD?

CBD or cannabidiol is a derivative of hemp that is free of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive component of cannabis.

Hemp, or Cannabis sativa L., is an herbaceous plant characterised by the presence of different kinds of cannabinoids, including cannabidiols (CBD) which do not have a psychoactive effect and THC which does have this effect.

It has been shown that cannabinoids are not exclusive to plants, but are also produced by our body and are called endocannabinoids.

Traditional use of cannabidiol or CBD

Hoja CBD

Hemp, from which CBD is extracted, has been widely used, in fact it has been known since Neolithic times. Hemp as such can be used in many industrial activities, including construction, isolation - whether acoustic or thermic -, oil, rope, bed and fabric manufacturing, as a biofuel, as human and animal food, in the paper and plastic industry, among others.

The benefits of hemp were known and used in China more than 4,000 years ago, being included in two medical books, the "Nei Ching" and another referred to the emperor Shen Nung. With this framework it is not surprising that CBD has a wide range of uses.

Today, one of the most common uses of CBD is in cosmetic products. Especially in skin conditions such as: seborrhoeic imbalances, skin sensitive to irritation, skin tone and renewal, etc.


What is the recommended topical dose of cannabidiol or CBD?

It is important to mention that the lipophilic property of CBD allows it to permeate the skin by diffusion, making CBD an ideal choice for topical administration.

The doses associated with CBD range from 1-30%, related to the amount of CBD by volume, and specific to the intended benefit to the skin.

Side effects of cannabidiol

Adverse effects of cannabidiol on topical use are very uncommon, limited to allergic type reactions in people who are sensitive. These effects are mild to moderate.

The only warnings are that its use is recommended for people over 18 years of age, and it is not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, adolescents and children.

Is cannabidiol addictive?

The World Health Organisation (WHO), at its November 2017 meeting, the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence found that, "in its pure state, cannabidiol (CBD) does not seem to be harmful or to have a risk of abuse. The fact that CBD is not included in the controlled schedules means that its manufacture and supply are not subject to strict international controls, but its legal status in countries is a question for national lawmakers".

Cannabidiol in Spain

Cannabidiol cannot yet be marketed as a food supplement in Spain, as it is not approved by the Food Safety Agency (AESAN). However, it can be sold as a medicine as it is approved and regulated by the Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS).

CBD is allowed to be used for cosmetic application products, in oils, creams or ointments. However, only cosmetics made from seeds and leaves can be legally produced in Spain.

Cosmetics with cannabidiol or CBD

Cannabidiol or CBD is allowed in cosmetic products. In fact, there is a increasing trend in the marketing of cosmetics with CBD. According to Euromonitor International, a 2019 report already showed that "skin care is the main driver of growth in the beauty sector with cannabis. Beauty product launches with CBD are largely prevalent in skincare, toiletries and cosmetics, thanks to its antioxidant, skin sebum-balancing, conditioning and soothing properties."

Properties of cannabidiol as a cosmetic

In its cosmetic properties, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and is actively involved in skin maintenance.

The SEC is responsible for regulating the dynamic balance of the skin, due to its role in the formation and maintenance of the skin barrier, cell growth and development, and the balance of lipid production, among other things.

Therefore, CBD is especially good for oily and sensitive skin, as it helps to promote the regulation of skin sebum and to have emollient and soothing effects.

The EU CosIng (Cosmetic Ingredients Database) includes the approved roles that cannabidiol and cannabinoids can have, which are sebum-regulating, antioxidant, protective and skin-conditioning.

What is cannabidiol useful for the skin?

Cannabidiol has been proven to be a cosmetic ingredient that can provide efficient skin care and recovery, especially when the skin is imbalanced.

The skin represents the barrier of the human body that protect it from a range of factors such as heat, cold and light, including UV rays and other types of harmful radiation. As a result, there are a number of processes that take place in the skin to renew and repair it, e.g. keratinisation, sebum and melanin production, among others.

As well as its antioxidant, conditioning and soothing properties, CBD or cannabidiol has a regulating effect on the sebum in the skin, making it ideal for oily or especially sensitive skin.

Benefits of cannabidiol for oily skin

CBD interacts with two receptors (the cannabinoids CB1 and CB2), regulating their response to enhance skin sebum regulation and have emollient and soothing effects. Because of these properties, CBD is a great ally for oily skin.

The interaction of CBD with CB1 and CB2 receptors also contributes to the maintenance of skin balance, as it participates in anti-oxidative processes and in the maintenance of collagen and other structural proteins, facilitating skin moisture and elasticity.

Types of cosmetics with cannabidiol or CBD

CBD is a very versatile ingredient, and there are different kinds of cosmetics with CBD. One of the most popular are cosmetics with liposomal CBD, as they usually contain pure CBD and the liposome improves the absorption of CBD into the skin.

Other formats such as CBD ampoules, oils, lotions or creams are in high demand in the market.