Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
January 11, 2023

Cannabis in cosmetics is a trend that has taken the beauty and skincare industry by storm in recent years. With an increasing focus on natural and plant-based ingredients, cannabis-derived components like CBD (cannabidiol), THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and hemp seed oil have become key players in the formulation of various beauty products. However, this burgeoning trend is not without its complexities and controversies. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the world of cannabis in cosmetics, examining its definition, composition, integration into products, legal considerations, and the myriad benefits it offers to both skin and hair care. Additionally, we will address concerns, explore different cannabis-derived ingredients, and even provide insights into do-it-yourself (DIY) cannabis cosmetics. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey through the cannabis-infused beauty landscape.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

Understanding Cannabis in Cosmetics

Definition and Composition

Cannabis, scientifically known as Cannabis sativa, is a versatile plant renowned for its therapeutic and industrial uses. In cosmetics, the focus primarily lies on its various chemical components, including cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds unique to the cannabis plant, with CBD and THC being the most recognized. CBD is non-psychoactive, offering a range of potential benefits, while THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana.

Integration into Cosmetics

Cannabis in cosmetics finds its way into an array of products, including oils, creams, serums, and even lip balms. The reason for this diverse integration is the remarkable versatility of cannabis-derived ingredients. They can enhance the efficacy of products by providing a unique blend of essential fatty acids and other bioactive compounds.

Legal Considerations and Regulations

Navigating the legal landscape of cannabis in cosmetics can be challenging, as it varies from region to region. In the United States, for instance, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, but the use of CBD remains under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FDC) Act’s purview. Meanwhile, Health Canada regulates cannabis under the Cannabis Act. The European Commission is also developing regulations for cannabis cosmetics. Compliance with labeling requirements is crucial for businesses operating in these markets to ensure consumers are well-informed about the products they use.

Benefits of Cannabis in Cosmetics

Skin Benefits

Cannabis-derived ingredients offer a range of potential benefits for the skin. Their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties make them valuable additions to skincare products. For those with sensitive or dry skin, cannabis-infused cosmetics can provide relief and hydration. Furthermore, some users have reported improvements in skin conditions like acne and eczema after incorporating CBD cosmetic products into their routines.

Haircare Benefits

Cannabis is not limited to skincare; it has also found its place in haircare. Shampoos, conditioners, and serums containing cannabis-derived ingredients can contribute to hair health and promote growth. The essential fatty acids in cannabis seed oil nourish the scalp and hair follicles, potentially leading to stronger, shinier locks.

Product Examples

Cosmetics and Cannabis CBD
The beauty industry has embraced cannabis-infused cosmetics with enthusiasm, resulting in a wide array of innovative products. Brands like Milk Makeup, renowned for their vegan and cruelty-free offerings, have introduced popular items like CBD lip balms. These products often receive rave reviews for their soothing and moisturizing effects. Such examples showcase the potential of cannabis in cosmetics to revolutionize beauty routines.

Types of Cannabis-Derived Ingredients

CBD THC and Hemp Oil

Cannabis-derived ingredients can be categorized into CBD, THC, and hemp seed oil. CBD, as mentioned earlier, has non-psychoactive properties and is the star ingredient in many skincare and beauty products. THC, on the other hand, is psychoactive and is usually not used in cosmetics due to its potential to cause unwanted side effects. Hemp seed oil, extracted from the seeds of the cannabis plant, contains essential fatty acids and is prized for its moisturizing properties.

Full-Spectrum Broad-Spectrum and Isolate CBD

CBD comes in different forms, each with its unique properties. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds found in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC. Broad-spectrum CBD, however, contains all the beneficial compounds of the plant without the THC, making it a suitable choice for those who want to avoid any psychoactive effects. CBD isolate, on the other hand, is the purest form of CBD, devoid of all other compounds. Each type interacts with the endocannabinoid system and skin receptors in distinct ways, offering various potential benefits.

Addressing Concerns and Misconceptions

Common Misconceptions

One common misconception about cannabis in cosmetics is the fear of experiencing a psychoactive “high” when using these products. However, as previously mentioned, CBD cosmetics are non-psychoactive, making them safe for everyday use without any mind-altering effects.

Safety and Side Effects

While CBD cosmetics are generally well-tolerated, some users may experience skin sensitivities or minor side effects. It’s essential to perform a patch test when trying new products and consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns. Research on the long-term effects of cannabis-infused cosmetics is ongoing, but current findings indicate their safety for most users.

Cannabis Extraction Methods

Extraction Techniques

The quality and purity of cannabis-derived ingredients in cosmetics depend significantly on the extraction method used. CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction, and lipid-based extraction are among the most common methods. CO2 extraction is prized for its ability to produce highly concentrated and pure extracts, while ethanol extraction is cost-effective. Lipid-based extraction methods, like those used for hemp seed oil, are gentle and preserve the full spectrum of beneficial compounds.

Selectingthe Right Extraction Method

Selecting the appropriate extraction method for specific cosmetic applications is crucial. Factors to consider include cost, efficiency, and environmental impact. Companies that prioritize sustainability may opt for environmentally friendly extraction methods to reduce their carbon footprint.

DIY Cannabis Cosmetics

DIY Instructions

For the adventurous and eco-conscious beauty enthusiasts, making DIY cannabis-infused cosmetics can be a rewarding experience. When venturing into the world of DIY cannabis cosmetics, it’s essential to follow safety precautions and dosage recommendations. Accurate dosing ensures that you receive the desired benefits without overusing valuable ingredients.

Popular DIY Recipes

DIY cannabis cosmetics recipes abound, catering to various skincare and beauty needs. From hydrating face masks to soothing balms and revitalizing serums, there’s a recipe for nearly every skincare concern. These homemade products allow you to customize your beauty routine while knowing precisely what goes into the formulation.

Sustainability and Ethical Considerations

Environmental Impact

As the demand for cannabis in cosmetics continues to rise, it’s vital to address its environmental impact. Cannabis cultivation, especially on a large scale, can consume significant amounts of water and require pesticides. Sustainable practices, such as organic farming and efficient water use, are essential to minimize the industry’s ecological footprint.

Ethical Sourcing and Animal Testing

Ethical considerations in cannabis cosmetics extend beyond the environment. Ethical sourcing of ingredients ensures that communities benefit fairly from the cannabis industry. Additionally, the cruelty-free movement emphasizes the importance of not conducting animal testing during the development of cosmetic products. Many brands now proudly display cruelty-free labels, signifying their commitment to ethical practices.

Current Market Trends

The market for cannabis-infused cosmetics is thriving, driven by consumer preferences for natural, plant-based ingredients. Products encompassing CBD, hemp seed oil, and other cannabis-derived components continue to gain popularity. These trends reflect a growing interest in holistic skincare and a desire for effective, environmentally conscious beauty solutions.

Future Growth and Challenges

The future of cannabis in cosmetics holds promise but also challenges. Emerging markets, such as Asia, are poised to join the trend. However, businesses must navigate evolving regulations and consumer expectations. Striking a balance between innovation, sustainability, and compliance will be key to long-term success in the cannabis cosmetics industry.


In conclusion, cannabis in cosmetics represents a fascinating intersection of natural wellness and beauty. With its diverse range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and hemp seed oil, cannabis offers numerous benefits for both skin and hair care. While misconceptions and concerns exist, a growing body of research and consumer testimonials underscores its safety and efficacy. As the industry matures, sustainability and ethical considerations will play an increasingly vital role. As you explore the world of cannabis-infused beauty products, it’s crucial to stay informed, choose products carefully, and embrace the potential benefits they can bring to your skincare and beauty routines. With the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis in cosmetics, one thing is certain the future of beauty is looking greener than ever.