Beauty and the weed

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Completely legal, CBD oil from hemp is being infused into everything these days–from muscle rub to mascara. Its placement in beauty products is the last straw in de-stigmatizing the cannabis plant.

Loosening of cannabis laws and the enthusiasm around emerging science has legitimized its wellness claims. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 80 compounds called cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. The two best known of these are CBD, which does not get you high, and THC, which does. CBD didn’t pique much interest until scientists started studying the health benefits of low-THC strains.

Topical CBD’s most enticing attributes are its anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) properties. Because of its power to calm pain and reduce swelling, it first popped up in rubs and balm for overused muscles and achy joints. Then the beauty industry caught on. CBD is a rich source of fatty acids and other nutrients that benefit your skin. It’s got anti-inflammation properties, vitamins A, D and E, and essential fatty acids.

Part of what makes CBD oil so beneficial to the skin is that it’s rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which act as powerful anti-inflammatories, while simultaneously encouraging skin growth and new cell generation. This can help to calm inflammation and irritation, while keeping skin nourished and moisturized. Since it won’t clogg your pores, CBD can even help to hydrate and balance oily skin, which is why it is being studied as a treatment for acne.

In addition to moisturizing and soothing the skin, CBD oil has anti-aging properties. It can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as help prevent them. The linoleic acid and oleic acids found in CBD oil can’t be produced by the body, but can play a crucial role in skin health and anti-aging. More research on CBD oil and its benefits is needed, but its ability to regulate cell growth, reduce inflammation, and stimulate important fats in the skin could help treatments for other skin issues, such as psoriasis, and eczema.

If you’re looking for something to address dryness, CBD can be found in a variety of facial oils and body lotions. You can also find it in mascara. Hemp seeds are rich in omega fatty acids, making it an ideal lash-conditioning ingredient. There’s even a hair care line that’s packed with CBD oil.

So why all the hemp hype now? Due to almost a century of misinformation about the notorious cannabis plant, the distinction between it and its two primary species — hemp and marijuana — might still be unclear. They are both members of the same plant family, however, chemically, they are completely different.

All cannabis plants—including hemp and marijuana—contain an array of healthy plant compounds called cannabinoids. These are to the cannabis plant what antioxidant flavonoids are to fruits and vegetables—powerful plant compounds with real healing properties. There are about 100 cannabinoids, all native to the various cannabis species. The two most famous are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)– responsible for getting marijuana users high–and CBD (cannabidiol)–which won’t.

CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana, but THC is found only in marijuana. And hemp is richer in beneficial CBD than marijuana. Legally, THC can’t be found in anything labeled “hemp.” In U.S. law, the difference between marijuana and hemp is very clear and has everything to do with THC content. If the plant has less than 0.3% THC it’s considered hemp. If it has more THC, it’s considered cannabis.

Your body actually makes its own CBD- like chemical, called endocannabinoids (endo meaning coming from within). The aerobic-produced “runner’s high” is actually an endocannabinoid. You have a network of cannabinoids and receptors in your body called the endocannabinoid system (ES). One of the primary jobs of the ES is to keep your body in balance. The ES has a profound effect on inflammation, pain, sleep, appetite, metabolism, anxiety and immunity.

Hemp is one of the most useful plants on Earth. Hempseeds are an excellent source of protein, minerals and dietary fiber. Hemp is the only plant that contains all of the essential fatty acids and amino acids required by the human body, and so it is gaining popularity as an option for fish oil supplements.

Historically, hemp has been used to make clothes, rugs, textiles, canvas, boat sails, paper, ship rigs, twine, fish nets and so much more. The word “canvas” comes from the Latin translation “made of hemp.” The oldest known woven fabric was made from hemp, as were Levi Strauss’ original denim jeans, and the first American flag. The hemp plant is a renewable resource that grows quickly, naturally resists plant diseases, thrives in most climates and enriches the soil it grows in. If Webster’s definition of “weed” is “a plant that is not valued where it is growing,” then hemp with its wellness- and beauty-enhancing CBD is certainly not “weed.”

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