New hemp-based beauty products promote “healthy without the high.”
Could cannabis be the next beauty super ingredient? By infusing beauty products with cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive substance derived from hemp plants, retailers are helping to shift the plant’s image from contraband to a health-forward beauty ingredient.
“We’re hoping everyone can realize the benefits of cannabis,” said Mollie Twining, a founding partner at CBD For Life. “Not just by smoking it. We’re healthy without the high and healing without the high. So there’s no psychotropic effect. It’s a very calming and healing anti-inflammatory.”
CBD For Life initially launched in 2016 with medicinal rubs intended to relieve pain. The company recently added a line of CBD-infused skincare products including face cleansers, hand cream, and an eye serum. In studies, cannabis has shown a number of benefits to the skin: results suggest the plant is an anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, and may help revitalize aging cells.
Other companies seeking to stake a claim to CBD beauty include CBD Care Garden, a luxury skincare line with no psychoactive ingredients, cannabis beauty and wellness line Apothecanna, and Herb Essentials, a line of cannabis-infused skincare products with crisp, modern packaging.
Although the legal status of cannabis-based products is contentious, products that contain no THC, the plant’s psychoactive chemical that results in the “stoned” response, are categorized under the legal “hemp” rather than “cannabis”. As a result, CBD stands to enjoy widespread appeal, if it can overcome public stigma: Last fall, The Hemp Business Journal estimated that the CBD market could be worth $2.1 billion by 2020, up from $202 million in 2015.
“The mainstream market is becoming much more accessible because cannabis is constantly in the news, and CBD in particular,” added Twining. “CBD carries the benefits of cannabis without the stoner aspect of it. We’re not hiding the fact that we have CBD in our products, and we’re not going that route even in our own dispensaries.”
At SXSW, a panel called “Legalized Marijuana: What’s Happening Now” discussed the evolution of marijuana retail to include beauty and wellness products with upscale branding, according to Campaign. As chronicled on JWT Intelligence, legalized cannabis has undergone a similar upscale evolution in food & drink. “I’m seeing more branded lifestyle products that address the different need states around cannabis,” said Emily Paxhia, managing director at cannabis hedge fund Poseidon. “And it’s not about getting as high as humanly possible.”
In fact, CBD beauty products tend to align their products more with the wellness industry than with stoner culture, marking an important shift in the beauty industry. Apothecanna touts products “designed to enhance your active lifestyle,” while CBD Care Garden is “formulated with mindful practice…because we know that feeling good is the starting point to living well. Well + Good even named cannabis one of their top wellness trends for 2017, citing growing usage in skin care, health supplements and even fitness routines.
This emerging industry shows that the stigma of cannabis is breaking down, opening new product channels to the growing body of science about its health benefits. Beauty is just one of many sectors today tapping into the language of health and wellbeing, as wellness becomes a top priority across consumer purchasing decisions.
For more on the evolving relationship between beauty and wellness, keep an eye out for the Innovation Group’s forthcoming report on the future of health, The Well Economy.