We are living in the marijuanaissance. Thanks to CBD, cannabis is getting its glow-up, trading its stoner image for a new identity as a luxury wellness and beauty ingredient. Loosening of cannabis laws and the enthusiasm around emerging science has legitimized the medicinal claims surrounding CBD, but it’s the boutiquification of cannabis that has made everyone want to be seen with it. (For a deeper look at California weed’s luxury rebranding, check out High End, a documentary from Highsnobiety.) There are celebrity evangelists, like Olivia Wilde, Mandy Moore, and Busy Philipps, and well-designed products from chic brands such as Vertly and Lord Jones that look like they belong next to a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Not since kale have we seen so much hype around a leafy green and the number of beauty products containing the stuff is growing like a… well, you get it. By now, you’ve seen a CBD-infused version of everything from lip balm to lube, but very little to explain the basics: What does it actually do? Can it get you high? And if not, why do people care about it so much?
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 80 compounds called cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. The two most well-known of these are CBD, which does NOT get you stoned, and THC, which does. In the days of Reefer Madness, any attention weed got was focused on THC, the component that made nice girls go crazy and shack up with jazz musicians. Strains were bred to contain high THC because people buying cannabis generally wanted to get high. (Duh.) CBD didn’t pique much interest stateside until the aughts when scientists started studying the health benefits of low-THC strains.
So, can it get you high?
No, no, a thousand times, no. Which is precisely what’s making CBD so popular right now.
Why is it in everything right now?
“Honestly, people didn’t really know about how beneficial CBD can be prior to legalization,” says Claudia Mata, cofounder of infused skincare line Vertly. “It’s got anti-inflammation properties, vitamins A, D, and E, and essential fatty acids. The public is starting to view it the way we do, more like a vitamin.” Now that cannabis is legal in much of the U.S. (medical marijuana in 29 states and recreational cannabis in nine states, plus Washington D.C.), more people have had a chance to experience the plant in a way that Snoop Dogg might not. “The word of mouth on CBD has spread like wildfire,” says Cindy Capobianco, cofounder of Lord Jones, a chic brand of infused goodies so non-threatening that they’re available in Standard hotels nationwide. “The enthusiasm and education about CBD is de-stigmatizing and normalizing the cannabis plant faster than we could have ever imagined.” And of course, there’s also that teeny-tiny thrill no one talks about. Using weed-adjacent body oil feels a bit subversive. It’s like instant street cred for #coolmoms.
How does CBD work?
Our bodies actually make our own cannabis-type chemical called anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule. (Think: runner’s high.) “CBD naturally elevates the levels of your own endocannabinoid,” says Michele Ross, the founder of the IMPACT Network, a nonprofit for medical-cannabis research and education. “Increasing anandamide in your body and brain has anti-inflammatory effects, but it also has other activities at other receptors.” Exactly what all of those are is still being worked out in the lab. Most of the media attention has come from its use in controlling treatment-resistant epilepsy, and it’s been lauded as a possible answer to everything from anxiety to breast cancer.
If you ingest CBD in a supplement or edible, it enters the bloodstream like a Tylenol tablet, pinging the body’s many endocannabinoid receptors. If you slather it on the skin, it acts only on the area where it’s applied. “It’s unlikely to penetrate deep enough to get into the bloodstream, and it tends to accumulate in the upper skin layers,” says Bonni Goldstein, a physician in Los Angeles and medical advisor for Weedmaps. It’s thought that the stored CBD can provide longer-term relief.
What does the CBD in all these beauty products actually do?
Topical CBD’s most enticing attributes are its anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) properties. Scientists are finding more evidence that it can treat skin disorders like dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema, which is why the ingredient is popping up in so many face creams, serums, and body lotions. “Inflammation is the root of all evil, whether that’s acne or the signs of aging,” says New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, who notes that while acne rates are increasing, there aren’t many new treatment options coming down the pike. (“Most often, they’re reformulating benzoyl peroxide, or a retinoid, or some kind of acid,” she says.) As it turns out, CBD might be the ticket to clear skin, too.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Meirav Devash on allure
Published: June 25, 2018
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News